16 Bean Soup

by Rachel Gurk on June 23, 2011 · 50 comments

in Soups and Stews

16 Bean Soup

Repeat after me:

“I, beautiful, kind, smart and valued reader of Not Rachael Ray, do solemnly swear, to never, ever, ever throw away a ham bone.”

Unless you’re a vegetarian or you don’t eat pork for religious reasons. But then I’m not really sure what you’re doing with a ham bone in the first place.

The ham bone takes this soup from mediocre to amazingly delicious. Trust me.

Did you know you can freeze ham bones? Now you really have no excuses for throwing it out. Just toss it in a zip-top bag and stick it in your freezer until you’re ready to make this soup.

You might be thinking, “Doesn’t the 16 bean dried bean mix come with a packet of ham flavoring?”

Doesn’t look like ham to me!

And just for kicks, here is the list of ingredients: Salt, dextrose, maltodextrin, sugar, bacon flavor (which has nine ingredients in and of itself), disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, ham flavor (which has an additional four ingredients), and silicon dioxide added as an anti-caking aid.

An anti-caking aid? Gross! Now I’m a label reader, but I’m not an obsessive label reader. Yes, I put some things in my body that probably aren’t the best for me and probably aren’t all-natural, but why put in nine ingredient “bacon flavor” when all you need is a ham bone and a couple of spices and herbs? And I’m willing to bet that it probably even tastes better than that little tiny package labeled “ham.”

 

16 Bean Soup

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: a big pot of soup

Ingredients

  • 20 oz. bag of 16 Bean Soup Mix (Any bean mix will do, really.)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 small carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 ham bone
  • water
  • 8 oz. diced fully cooked ham (you can use leftover ham if you have it, but our ham bone was pretty well picked dry)

Instructions

  1. Rinse beans and sort for foreign objects.
  2. Pour beans into a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight (for at least 8 hours). There's a quicker method on the package of beans but I usually go with the overnight technique if I remember.
  3. Drain water from beans and rinse again.
  4. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and throw in onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt and pepper. I'd go light on the salt because you'll get a lot from the ham.
  5. Saute until softened and onion is becoming translucent.
  6. Add in cumin, parsley, and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
  7. Add in beans, ham bone, and fill with water until all ingredients are covered by about 1 inch of water. You can always add more later if it gets too thick.
  8. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for ~1.5 hours
  9. Remove ham bone, add diced ham, and simmer for another half hour. Or so. No need to be exact about things. I think mine was on the stove for about four hours total. I like to add the diced ham in at the end, because I think it tends to get tough if it simmers the whole time.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Remove bay leaf and serve!
http://www.rachelcooks.com/2011/06/23/16-bean-soup/

 

16 Bean Soup

Verdict: I love the stuff. Total comfort food. Healthy too!
Husband’s take: He calls it slop, but he likes it. Said, “It is really filling!” That’s a good thing when you’re feeding a man.
Changes I would make: None.
Difficulty: Easy!

16 Bean Soup

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alan Cooke June 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

Usually, when I see/hear ‘bean soup’, I’m whisked away to childhood memories of school lunch on friday’s. ‘Veggie’ soup amazingly comprised of all the foods we’d had the previous 4 days. Your soup, however, actually looks and sounds delicious!! =) I’m a bread fanatic, though, so triple the butter on that slice and mail it to me please!! ;) Thanks for sharing!!

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2 Rachel June 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

Thanks Alan! I may have tripled the butter on the bread before actually eating it myself. ;) It was a tomato basil loaf–delicious!

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3 Dana June 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Looks yummy! I’m just like you, while I might eat some things that are not exactly natural, I try to be pretty health conscious… and whatever’s in those packets definitely make me nervous!

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4 Katie @ Healthnut Foodie June 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Hi Rachel! Thank you for helping to raise the awareness on the toxins being put in our “health food”. Like you, I am not perfect, but I strive to make tomorrow better than today! Cheers to a great blog!

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5 Rachel June 24, 2011 at 8:20 am

Thanks Katie! It is an everyday struggle, isn’t it?

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6 Katie @ Healthnut Foodie June 25, 2011 at 8:41 am

It is. Mostly because so many of us are uneducated. By raising the awareness, we can make a difference!

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7 Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} June 24, 2011 at 12:16 am

That really looks fantastic! I seriously love that bowl you have the soup in, it’s so rustic just like the soup! Yum!

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8 Rachel June 24, 2011 at 8:20 am

Thanks. It’s my bean bowl. Haha not really, but it does seem like every time I make something with beans it ends up in that bowl. It just feels right :)

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9 sheila @ Elements June 24, 2011 at 1:57 am

Can I please, please have a bowl!!! Ooooh…it looks so good! And I’m with you…a real ham bone or bacon is WAY better than using that ham flavoring packet (*ugh*) By the way, is that tomato bread with the bean soup? I haven’t made tomato bread in a while. Reminds me I need to make it again soon! :)

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10 Rachel June 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

Yep, tomato basil bread. It was delish (but unfortunately not homemade).

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11 Maris (In Good Taste) June 24, 2011 at 3:51 am

The soup looks so hearty and healthy with the beans! That slice of bread at the end there makes this the perfect meal!

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12 brandi June 24, 2011 at 8:49 am

I LOVE a good homemade ham and bean soup. So filling and comforting!

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13 Aunt Amy June 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

Please don’t serve that “ham” for Easter dinner – it would not make a spectacular presentation:) By the way, Joel (not a bean lover) said he might eat it if there were only 16 beans … in the whole pot! Looks delicious to the bean-friendly members of the family.

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14 Brooke @ Veggie Table June 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

Obviously, I can’t repeat after you..haha! But that soup looks delicious – minus the ham bone :) Bacon flavor with anti-caking aid…wth?! Happy Friday!

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15 Rachel June 26, 2011 at 10:28 am

This would be a great vegetarian soup!

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16 Dana@TheSundaySweet June 24, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Girl, I love beans, but can’t really eat them. I have major issues with them. But oh man, does that soup look amazing!! I WISH I could eat this!

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17 Rachel June 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

Hmm…maybe you could swap out the beans for lentils or split peas if those sit better with you?

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18 Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles June 24, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I don’t eat meat that often, but man…this looks great! Ham bone makes for the best bean soup…nice job! :)

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19 Rachel June 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

Thanks Courtney!

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20 Diana @ VeggieNextDoor June 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm

I love that BEFORE picture of the beans! I’m thinking as much as I love 3-bean salad, maybe a 16-bean salad would be even better :-)

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21 Rachel June 26, 2011 at 10:31 am

Yum, good idea!

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22 Stacy June 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm

This looks really good, I’m saving the recipe to (hopefully remember to) make this winter. Thanks for sharing

Stacy

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23 Rachel June 26, 2011 at 10:33 am

Yeah, it is kind of a winter recipe, I’ll have to revisit it when it gets cold again.

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24 Rhonda June 25, 2011 at 7:25 pm

This looks delicious!!….I rarely have a ham bone on hand for these types of soups so I will use either ham hocks or a smoked chicken wing works good too!

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25 Rachel June 26, 2011 at 10:35 am

Great ideas! We had bought a honeybaked ham, so we had the bone left from that.

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26 bakerbynature June 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I would love to have a pot of this to eat all week long!

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27 Elizabeth October 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’m making this now….never been a huge bean soup type, but it smells wonderful. Can’t wait to see what the family thinks of it! Thank you for the inspiration to try something new.

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28 Rachel October 2, 2011 at 10:36 am

Awesome! How did it turn out?

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29 Elizabeth October 3, 2011 at 7:57 am

The soup was great! Thank you. I’m always looking for something outside our usual. I made cornbread to dip with, even my teens loved it!

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30 Kathryn April 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Love bean soup. I have always added a couple diced potatoes to bean soup. A dear older man told me to try noodles. Said his Mother always made it that way. Sounds good.

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31 Mare September 24, 2012 at 11:24 am

I am a vegetarian, due to the way factory farms produce pork/ cows, anything of this sort, so in turn can someone please send me a recipe for this soup, where i am not contributing to the way creatures are treated?

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32 Rachel September 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm

The soup would be great without the ham too! The spices provide good flavor!

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33 Karen November 2, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Mare, Instead of the ham I added something from Trader Joes called “South African Smoke Seasoning Blend”. It is sold in a spice grinder. It added the smokiness that the ham would add and was delicious! I also diced up some kale and threw that in :-)

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34 Rachel November 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

Great advice, Karen! That sounds fantastic! I’ll have to look for that next time I’m at TJ’s! Love the addition of extra greens too!

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35 Beth December 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

I’ve been looking for a ham bone and bean soup recipe ever since my friend made it for us a few years ago. I just followed your recipe and I’ve got it on the pot now, and it smells SOOO good! I’m gonna make cornbread to go with it. She would actually put a slice of cornbread in the bottom of the bowl and then would pour the soup over it…..yum! Can’t wait to try it, thank you for sharing- it makes a great warm comfort food meal when its snowing outside! :)

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36 Rachel December 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm

How did you like it?! Love the cornbread on the bottom of the bowl idea, I need to try that!

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37 Beth December 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm

It was amazing!! We had to add a little more spices for flavoring (you would think a huge ham bone and extra ham would have done the trick!), but it was awesome!! I think the cornbread bottom gives it an even heartier taste. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again, thx for sharing!

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38 Rachel January 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Yay! Glad you liked it.

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39 kat January 21, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Hi, just wondering if anyone has tried this in the crock pot….and what adjustments, if any, did you make. Thanks.

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40 Rachel Gurk January 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I think that would absolutely work! Make sure to soak the beans, and I’d cook it on high for at least 6 hours or until the beans are nice and soft.

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41 Linda April 25, 2013 at 10:13 am

I started making this soup with the intent of putting into the crockpot but the ham bone was too big for the crockpot! :) Not a bad thing. Switched over to my dutch oven and it’s simmering away. My family likes spicy…anything spicy, so I also sauteed a seeded jalapeño with the onion, celery and carrot. I’ll adjust seasonings to our taste after I take out the ham bone and add the diced ham…might add some garlic since we’re also love garlic :) Thank you for the recipe. Looking forward to enjoying this with some artisan bread. Can’t wait!

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42 Rachel Horowitz November 5, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I’m making this soup right now, although I don’t have a ham bone. I’d purchased a box of Goya Ham Concentrate when I bought the 16 Bean Soup Mix, but I’ve decided NOT to use that crap. I had Turkey Italian Sausage in the freezer, so I threw in turkey sausage towards the tail end of cooking the mirepoix. Now I sort of wish I’d just browned the sausage in the soup pot, and removed it to add back later. C’est la vie. I hope it doesn’t get rubbery.
I added some roasted cumin, instead of regular cumin, as well as the Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend, that another poster mentioned.

Right after I added the dried parsley, I realized I had the fresh stuff on hand — may add some later.

I’m trying to decide whether or not to add some turnips that I have on hand — bought them from a Farmers Market, but haven’t figured out how best to use them.

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43 Rachel Gurk November 6, 2013 at 9:05 am

Sounds wonderful! Hope it turned out great!

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44 Amy November 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I found this recipe a couple of days ago. I tried it yesterday . . . WOW!!!! I did add one large garlic clove. I had to make a few other minor tweaks but stayed quite close to the recipe. And, for the previous commenter, yes, it works wonderfully in the crock pot. This was a hit with all five people in my family. My only complaint is that there were no leftovers. Thanks!

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45 Rachel Gurk November 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm

So glad you liked it! It is one of my favorites as well.

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46 willYum December 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

If you have issues with beans, definitely try sprouting them
overnight. It uses up some Chemicals that make us Gassy and bloated

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47 Alan December 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I do something similar, but instead of bread, I add an equal amount as the beans of rice.

Either way, a grain + a legume = a complete set of essential amino acids.

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48 Gina January 21, 2014 at 4:07 am

Love bean soup. This is very similar to mine. I leave out the ham bone b/c hubby doesn’t eat meat. :(. I sautée plenty garlic with the onions and add a block of frozen spinach and frozen yuca. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sometimes sour cream just for a slight change.

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49 Rachel Gurk January 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

That sounds terrific!

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