15 Bean Soup

by Lana Stuart on November 27, 2012 · 18 comments

15 Bean Soup from @NevrEnoughThyme

I’m sitting here this morning watching the last leaves on the trees fall on a damp, misty, foggy landscape. Not a hint of sunshine. It’s one of those mornings that proclaims loud and clear that winter is on its way. Although fall and winter are not my favorite seasons, I do have to admit that days like today can be quite cozy. Especially if you can stay indoors. If there’s a fire in the fireplace it’s even better. All snuggly, warm and secure. The only thing you need to make a dreary day perfect is a great bowl of soup.

I have a really old-fashioned soup for you today – 15 Bean Soup. Now, don’t think that you have to go out and buy fifteen types of dried beans. Nope. Just grab a package of mixed dried beans from the grocery store and you’re good to go. Look for this bean mixture with the other dried beans and lentils in your store. They’re usually near the rice. The brand I see most often is called HamBeens.

Dry bean mix for 15 Bean Soup

I think the beans are just beautiful! Such a pretty mixture of colors and sizes. Everything from huge dried lima beans to little tiny split peas and lentils. Just pour all the beans into a soup pot, cover them with water and let them soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. I usually do them right before bed and they’re ready to go whenever I want them the next day.

Soaked beans for 15 Bean Soup

After the beans have had a nice, long soak, drain the water and return the beans to the pot. You can see in the photo how the soaked beans on the left look a bit cloudy, even muddy, after they’ve been sitting in water. The beans on the right have been drained and are all re-hydrated and ready to cook. One extra step that I do at this point is to pull the outer skins off the big lima beans and discard them. You don’t have to do that, but it makes for a nicer finished soup. Just another little quirk of mine.

Smoked Ham Hocks

See those gnarly looking things above? If you’re a Southerner you know exactly what those are. They’re smoked ham hocks and they’re like gold to a southern cook. We use them in pretty much anything that needs some flavoring. Like this soup. However, if you can’t get your hands on any ham hocks, you can also use a leftover ham bone or even smoked turkey wings. If none of those are within your reach, add some sliced smoked sausage for the last 30 minutes of cooking time. Better than nothing :-)

Now add the ham hocks, one quart of water, and chicken broth to the pot with the beans. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Add all the remaining ingredients except lemon juice. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or more until all the vegetables and beans are tender. Note: You can also remove the ham hocks at this point and add some sliced kielbasa or other sausage to the pot for the final cooking time.

Just before serving, add lemon juice. Serve with garlic bread, cornbread, or crackers.


15 Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A mix of 15 types of dried beans combine with veggies and smoked ham hocks in this tasty and thrifty soup.
Serves: 8 servings
  • 20 ounce package 15 bean soup mix
  • 3 quarts water, divided
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 lb. smoked ham hocks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tblsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh parsley, if desired, for garnish
  1. Remove and discard the seasoning packet (if included) from the bean soup mix. Place the beans in a large soup pot and add 2 quarts of water. Cover and allow to soak 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the beans and return them to the pot. Add one quart of water, the chicken broth, and ham hocks. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredients except lemon juice. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or more until all the vegetables and beans are tender. Note: You can also remove the ham hocks at this point and add some sliced kielbasa or other sausage to the pot for the final cooking time.
  4. Just before serving, add lemon juice.
  5. Garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley if desired.
Serve with garlic bread, cornbread, or crackers.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara | Creative Culinary November 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Umm…yummm. I love soups like this; looks fabulous Lana.

We have a local group called ‘The Women’s Bean Project’ – it’s an organization that started very small many years ago with the intent of putting women to work making a decent wage and their job was to sort and package beans for soup mixes like this. It’s grown to be a org to be reckoned with but their focus is still the same. Empowering women who might now otherwise have a paying job. I LOVE making soup from their mixes…it gives me a warm feeling in more than one way.


2 Lana November 27, 2012 at 7:43 pm

That’s a really wonderful initiative, Barb! Are the mixes available online? I’d love to try them.


3 Barbara | Creative Culinary November 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I always find them locally but they sure are. Now doing jewelry too. Take a peek; it’s a worthy org.



4 Lana November 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

There are offering some beautiful jewelry and gift baskets! Looks like I’ve found a new Christmas shopping spot.


5 Sues November 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

I’ve never made a 15 bean soup before, but this is so pretty that I think I need to ASAP!


6 Lana November 29, 2012 at 10:47 am

I just love that colorful mixture of beans! So pretty and so, so tasty.


7 Hurst Beans November 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

Thanks for sharing your recipe… It looks delicious!


8 Lana November 29, 2012 at 10:47 am

Why, thank you! Of course, your original recipe from the back of the package of beans is pretty fantastic, too. I’ve made it many times. But sometimes I just like to improvise a little :-)


9 Nancy@acommunaltable November 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

It is FINALLY getting cool enough here to enjoy soups like this one.. and this is definitely one of my favorites… love the addition of the lemon juice.. will have to try the next time I make this soup!!


10 Terra December 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I have craving for my moms navy bean and ham soup. Bean and ham soup is so perfect together! Your soup sounds delicious, and love all the colors from the 15 beans:-) Hugs, Terra


11 Rita November 19, 2013 at 1:35 am

I want to try this recipe using diced ham.


12 workinnanie November 29, 2013 at 12:22 pm

What is the reason for adding lemon juice? Just curious.


13 Lana Stuart November 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm

It just brightens the flavor. You can leave it out if you want to.


14 workinnanie November 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Thank you. I think I will try it!


15 Julie December 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

This was really amazing soup! I made it for my work today and everyone loved it. Thanks for posting :)


16 Lana Stuart December 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Glad you all liked it, Julie. It’s one of our favorites.


17 Beth May 9, 2014 at 6:53 pm

So yummy! I’m not sure how we ended up with the 15 bean mix…I guess hubby bought it. But I was looking for an alternative to the spice mix due to some allergies and came accross this recipe. Thanks!


18 Correen November 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Lighting up the crock pot today to make this soup…thanks for the recipe.


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