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Slow Cooker Bean with Bacon Soup (plus a vegan option!)

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These last few weeks have been oh-so-cold all across the country (even here in Texas). So, I figured it’s time to break out my recipe for warm, comforting bean soup. This humble bean soup is anything but boring. In this post, I include one recipe for vegans and another for bacon lovers. Both are hearty, filling and flavorful. And, because this soup is made in the slow cooker, this soup is super easy to make.

I do make my soup from dried beans. It’s less expansive, contains less sodium, and the beans have a wonderful texture in this soup. To make your soup from dried beans, you do have the extra step of soaking the beans overnight. I make this soup by soaking my beans the night before, and then assembling the soup in the morning before I go to work. When I get home, the house smells amazing and the bean soup is ready to go!

You are probably wondering how whether the vegan bean soup is as good without the bacon flavor. By adding smoked paprika, the soups has that same depth of flavor and smokiness that you might be looking for (it worked for my taste buds at least).

Spices for Bean with Bacon Soup

Here is the recipe for both versions of the soup.

Bean with Bacon Soup

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
1/2 pound (a half of a bag) of dried northern beans
4-6 strips of organic bacon
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of canned or frozen mixed veggies with no salt added
1/2 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
4-6 cups of stock (you can use low sodium chicken or veggie)
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes with no salt added

Equipment
Skillet
Slow Cooker
Immersion Blender or Potato masher

Instructions
1. The night before, soak your beans. Fill a large bowl with your beans and add tap water until the water until the water is completely covering your beans (I fill mine until there’s about 1/2 inch above the beans). Let sit for 8-10 hours.
2. The next morning, start with bacon. Cook 4-6 strips of bacon using a skillet until crispy. Let cooked bacon sit on paper towels to soak up excess fat. When the bacon has cooled, crumble the bacon and leave 1/4 cup of bacon to garnish your soup.
3. Pour the fat off of your skillet (into a can rather than down the sink!), and leave your unwashed pan on the stove for the next step.
4. With the bacon fat that was left in the pan, sauté your chopped onion over medium heat. When the onion becomes slightly translucent, add garlic. Saute for 2-3 more minutes until your onion is completely translucent.
5. Add your sautéed onion and garlic to the slow cooker pot, along with your chopped carrot, celery, mixed veggies, crumbled bacon, white wine, bay leaf, white pepper, rosemary, and thyme.
6. Drain and rinse the beans that have been soaking overnight. Add them to the slow cooker.
7. Add 4-6 cups of stock (I used homemade chicken stock, but you can use veggie or turkey). You want to add enough stock so that all the soup ingredients are covered.

Bean with Bacon Soup Ingredients

8. Turn your slow cooker on high for 6-8 hours.
9. About 30 minutes before dinner, mix a cup of chopped tomatoes into your soup.
10. Give your soup a very quick (like 5 second) blend using an immersion blender. This breaks down some of the beans to thicken the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, scoop out a cup of beans and mash them with a fork or potato masher and then stir them back into the soup.
11. Serve in big bowls garnished with some crumbled bacon. Yum!

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Nutrition Facts per Serving
Calories: 277
Fat: 4.5 g (1.2 g Saturated Fat)
Sodium: 377 mg
Potassium: 1038 mg
Carbohydrates: 47 g
Fiber: 15 g
Total sugars (no added sugar): 8 g

Vegan Bean Soup

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
1/2 pound (a half of a bag) of dried northern beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of canned or frozen mixed veggies (no salt added)
1/2 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
4-6 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes

Equipment
Skillet
Slow Cooker
Immersion Blender or Potato masher

Instructions
1. The night before, soak your beans. Fill a large bowl with your beans and add tap water until the water until the water is completely covering your beans (I fill mine until there’s about 1/2 inch above the beans). Let sit for 8-10 hours.
2. The next morning, sauté your chopped onion in olive oil over medium heat. When the onion becomes slightly translucent, add garlic. Saute for 2-3 more minutes until your onion is completely translucent.
3. Add your sautéed onion and garlic to the slow cooker pot, along with your chopped carrot, celery, mixed veggies, white wine, bay leaf, white pepper, rosemary, and thyme.

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4. Drain and rinse the beans that have been soaking overnight. Add them to the slow cooker.
5. Add 4-6 cups of veggie stock. You want to add enough stock so that all the soup ingredients are covered.
6. Turn your slow cooker on high for 6-8 hours.
7. About 30 minutes before dinner, mix a cup of chopped tomatoes into your soup.
8. Give your soup a very quick (like 5 second) blend using an immersion blender. This breaks down some of the beans to thicken the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, scoop out a cup of beans and mash them with a fork or potato masher and then stir them back into the soup.
9. Serve in big bowls. Yum!

Nutrition Facts per Serving
Calories: 221
Fat: 3.8 g (0.4 g Saturated Fat)
Sodium: 45 mg
Potassium: 877 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 15 g
Total sugars (no added sugar): 5 g

I serve my soup with a slice of whole grain sourdough bread. The bread soaks up the soup in such a lovely way.

Oh, and this soup is a breeze to freeze. When I am craving that hearty comfort, I simply pop out my quart-sized freezer bag of the soup and add it to a small pot on the stove. Here’s how I store my soup (and my stock) in the freezer to make it easy to access:

Freezing Bean with Bacon Soup

Let me know if you try the recipe!

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