“Whatever” Bean Soup

It is such a satisfying skill to be able to transform kitchen scraps and pantry staples into a delicious, comforting soup. If you don’t have this skill yet, let me teach you. I promise, it’s easy. And you probably don’t even need to go grocery shopping! I hope you find this general template for bean soup helpful!

Don’t overthink this soup, just pick something from each category below. Use up all of those bits of things in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. Just don’t skip the aromatics or the seasonings. They give this soup a richness and depth of flavor. I love to garnish mine with avocado or a drizzle of good quality olive oil, and a side of crusty bread.

Have fun! I’d love to see photos of your bean soup creations, tag me in your meal pics on Instagram @katiesconsciouskitchen. Or, join my free private facebook group to share your creations and inspire others!

Bean Soup Template

Veggies | Protein
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Active Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 40 minutes
Servings 4


Aromatics (use all of these!)

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • dried Italian herbs, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, etc.
  • smoked paprika, large dash
  • a few bay leaves, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have any

Tomatoey Things (choose at least one)

  • diced tomatoes, canned or fresh, about 1 can or 1-2 cups
  • tomato paste, a big squeeze
  • miscellaneous tomatoey condiments in the fridge that need to get used up, salsas, chutneys, marinara sauce, tapanades, pestos, etc.

Soup Veggies (choose any)

  • carrots, diced
  • bell pepper, diced
  • celery, sliced
  • green beans, chopped
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • green cabbage, shredded, add at the end of cooking
  • kale, chard, or spinach, chopped, add at the end of cooking

Extra Yummy Starchy Veggies

  • butternut squash, small dice
  • potato or sweet potato, small dice

Grains (optional, about 1/2 cup)

  • rice (any kind), dry
  • quinoa, dry
  • barley, dry
  • wheat berries, dry

Beans (choose any, 2-3 cups)

  • chickpeas, cooked or canned
  • white beans, cooked or canned
  • black beans , cooked or canned
  • lentils, cooked or canned

Condiments & Seasonings

  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth, more or less to desired consistency
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh Italian herbs, to garnish


Sauté the Aromatics

  • In a heavy bottomed soup pot, sauté the onions in a light splash of olive oil. If using carrots, celery, mushrooms, or bell peppers, throw those in at this stage too. Sautéing them brings out their flavor and natural sweetness.
  • When they are translucent and yummy looking (about 7 minutes) add the garlic, herbs, and paprika and sauté for a minute or so, until fragrant.

Simmer & Meld

  • Add the tomatoes, veggie broth, the rest of your desired veggies (except for greens and cabbage) and dry grains (if using).
  • Simmer until the longest cooking veggies (usually potatoes or carrots) are soft and the grains are cooked.
  • Add seasonings, condiments, beans, and greens (if using) and simmer for a few minutes to meld. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.


  • Serve with avocado or a drizzle of good olive oil.


For a version of this soup that works well in the Instant Pot, click here.
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