Hearty Three-Bean Soup

This tasty, filling soup is a great reason to try cooking your own dried beans from scratch! But canned beans are just fine too. For 6 cups of beans you’ll need 1 pound of dried beans, cooked, or three 15-ounce cans of cooked beans.

Hands-on time:
20 minutes
Total time:
2 hours, 45 minutes

Kitchen Gear

Cutting board
Sharp knife (adult needed)
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Colander or strainer
Large heavy-bottomed pot
Spatula or wooden spoon


2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced
5 carrots, scrubbed or peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, put through a garlic press or peeled and minced
2 bay leaves
6 cups assorted canned or cooked beans (kidney, black, white, or pinto beans), rinsed well and drained
8 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
1 cup brown rice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro leaves


  1. Put the pot on the stove, turn the heat to medium, and carefully add the oil.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Turn the heat to high and add the bay leaves, beans, and stock and bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to low and cook for 1½ hours.
  4. Add the rice and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt if you think it needs it.
  5. Stir in the lemon or lime juice and serve the soup right away topped with the herbs—or, since it’s even better the next day, transfer the soup to the container and store it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating and serving.

To make any soup super-special, add a topping to each bowl.

Make it rich: a drizzle of olive oil
Make it creamy: a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream|
Make it cheesy: a sprinkle of grated parmesan or cheddar
Make it crunchy: a few croutons or toasted nuts or seeds
Make it tangy: a squeeze or slice of lemon or lime, or a dash of vinegar
Make it fresh: a snip or sprig of fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, cilantro, chives, or dill
Make it spicy: a dash of hot sauce, sliced jalapeños, or chili flakes

"Diced" means cut up in squares about the size of dice
"Minced" means finely chopped