It’s funny how tastes change.
As a kid, I despised legumes of all kinds and never ate yogurt, ever.
Now two of my top three recommended good habits include cooking dry beans and making homemade yogurt, and I eat a plain yogurt with fruit (no sweetener) every single day for lunch. Add honey and it’s like ice cream.
My own transformation gives me hope for all children whose parents might deem them “picky eaters” and also infuses empathy into some of my recipes. I know some kids (and adults) may cringe at the thought of a beany chili, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that don’t make people bump into a round, mushy, grainy-textured nasty thing in their dinner.
Remember, I love beans now and we eat them all the time! But I do remember how they felt to my kid-mouth.
Family Favorite Easy Bean Soup
We’ve been making this soup in my family for almost ten years, and it really checks all the boxes:
- Super simple to make
- Packed with nourishment from bone broth and legumes
- Blended so nobody can pick anything out
- Three beans enhance the flavor beyond just blended beans like refried beans
- Perfect balance of flavorful enough for adults to enjoy but not so hard-hitting on the tastebuds that it’s overkill for kids (huge range you can choose from actually)
- Add enough broth so that it’s thin, and the sensory folks who hate refried beans have a chance of liking it
- Extremely inexpensive
- Versatile – can be dressed up with toppings for a totally different experience
- Easy to make a huge batch for leftovers
- Great to send to a new mom since it’s so easy to heat up
- Freezes and thaws without any impact on quality
Our kids love adding cheese and sour cream, and the parents put some zing on top in the form of green and red onions (and hot sauce for my husband). And now that they’ve done the video cooking lessons in the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse, they can even make this one themselves! Try it yourself on the next Kids Cook Monday!
It dresses up fancy for a potluck or company, but it’s simple enough to make for a Saturday lunch at home.
- 1 Tbs. or lard
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2–2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2–2 tsp. cumin
- 1–2 tsp. dried thyme
- 4 c. OR 2 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed (navy or great Northern typically least expensive)
- 2 c. OR 1 15-oz. can kidney beans
- 2 c. OR 1 15-oz. can pinto beans
- 4 c. chicken stock
- Optional toppings:
- shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- sliced green onion
- hot sauce
- diced red onion
- sour cream
- In a large pot, heat fat over medium heat.
- Add onions, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and thyme; cook 1 minute.
- Add beans and broth.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook 10 minutes.
- Puree the soup right in the pot with an immersion blender until smooth and thick. (If you don’t have animmersion blender, you can use a regular blender orfood processor, but be very careful moving hot soup! Leaving the beans whole is an option but obviously a different sensation experience.)
- Simmer over low heat a few minutes.
- Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Serve hot with toppings. Grilled cheese, quesadillas or tortilla chips make great accompaniments.
- Freezes well.
To use dry beans, soak 1 1/2 c. white beans and 3/4 c. each pintos and kidneys. I highly recommend doubling the recipe!
If you don’t have one of the types of beans, other beans can be swapped in without hurting the recipe much.
Add other mild veggies like zucchini, greens, or a bit of cooked squash and it should puree right in without changing the flavor much at all.
The range on spices is so great because the recipe is designed specifically to be kid-friendly, which can mean less flavorful – but amp it up if your kids like spice or if you’re making it just for adults. If you taste it and it seems bland, start by adding a bit more salt if you’re trying to avoid over-stimulating little tastebuds. To add flavor without “heat” just increase the cumin and thyme and go easy on the chili powder.
Recipe transformation: Boil it down to thicken and use on quesadillas or as a chip dip, like refried beans.
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The recipe is a favorite from my eBook, The Everything Beans Book. Grab it now and you’ll love having frugal, comfort food recipes on hand all winter long! And while bean soups are awesome for chilly days and a great way to get nourishing, immune-boosting broth into your family, the beans book goes way beyond soup.
It includes appetizers, Mexican meals, hearty bean-and-meat dishes, pasta/rice meals like this hidden-bean pasta recipe, and even a dessert!
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Three Related Sponsor Thank Yous!
Although Kitchen Stewardship supports my family (I even hired my 10yo son to record our stats – training him has been quite an experience for both of us!!), almost all my content is free and most readers never buy anything from me.
That can happen in part because of my loyal sponsors, many of whom I’ve worked with (and use in our home!) for years. Three of them have a neat tie-in with this recipe:
- If you’re not using Plan to Eat yet, you’re missing out. They’ve even added a new feature this year that I’ve been begging them for, because I think it’s uniquely suited to the real foodie/from scratch chef. They call it “Prep Notes” and it means that you can attach notes to any recipe about what sort of prep you always need to do for that recipe. For this one, you’d want to “soak beans” at least a day before and “cook beans” that morning. Every time you plan this recipe (simply by dragging it onto your calendar) Plan to Eat will add the prep note on the appropriate day AND put it in your Google cal or iCal automatically too. Check out the 30-day trial today and click the KS group to immediately have access to over 200K recipes!
- Our little Gabe has finally been allowed to try a Squooshi pouch (new recipe coming tomorrow!) and believe me, he’s a fan. Once this soup is thickened up a bit and cooled down a lot, it could go right into a Squooshi for a far less messy soup experience for little ones! I recommend the Sip-n-spout top for liquidy things; it totally prevents spills even if the pouch folds in half pointing downward at the child’s lap. (Save 10% with the code KS10%OFF.)
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