Enhance Your Vegetable Soup with These 13 Best Beans

13 Best Beans for Vegetable Soup

Vegetable soup is a versatile and delicious meal that allows you to use up leftover vegetables and minimize food waste. Adding beans to vegetable soup not only increases its nutritional value, but also adds flavor, texture, and heart. In this article, we will explore 13 of the best beans to use in vegetable soup, along with their characteristics and how they contribute to a satisfying soup experience.

Cannellini Beans

Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are a popular choice for vegetable soup. These beans have an earthy flavor that complements the overall flavor of the soup. They are slightly starchy, which helps to thicken the soup when cooked for a long time. Cannellini beans are widely available in grocery stores and can be conveniently added to soup by draining the liquid from the can and adding the beans. They don’t require an extended cooking time and can be added near the end of soup preparation.

Great Northern Beans

Great Northern beans are mild, nutty and delicate in flavor, making them an excellent addition to vegetable soup. Their creamy texture blends well with various ingredients in the soup without overpowering other flavors. Despite their slightly larger size, these beans are not dense and can absorb seasonings effectively. They are ideal for hearty, chunky soups where they can stand up well to other ingredients.

Navy Beans

Navy beans are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, including vegetable soup. With their mild, nutty flavor, Navy beans pair well with the basic ingredients of a vegetable soup, such as carrots, celery and onions. These beans are high in protein and fiber, contributing to the nutritional value of the soup and providing a satisfying texture. Navy beans have the ability to absorb the flavors of the soup, enhancing its overall flavor and richness.

Fava Beans

Fava beans, also known as broad beans, have a unique flavor profile that adds depth to vegetable soups. They have a nutty, earthy flavor with a hint of bitterness. Fava beans are hearty and can contribute significantly to the bulk of the soup. Although fresh fava beans require some preparation, such as removing them from their pods and blanching, their versatile texture and flavor make them worth the effort. In addition to soups and stews, these beans can be used in salads and pureed to make dips and spreads.

Lima Beans

Lima beans have a mild, sweet and nutty flavor that blends well with the base ingredients of a vegetable soup. They add a pleasant texture to soup and come in a variety of colors, including creamy white and green. There are two types of lima beans: large butter beans, also known as Fordhook beans, and small baby lima beans, which tend to be sweeter. The cooking time for lima beans should be carefully monitored to maintain their texture without becoming too soft.


Widely used in a variety of diets, soybeans are known for their earthy, nutty flavor. They add a meaty, hearty texture to vegetable soup and work well with a variety of vegetables. Soybeans are rich in protein and can serve as a good meat substitute in vegetarian diets. When seasoned and spiced, soybeans add a unique flavor to soup. It is important not to overcook soybeans to maintain the desired texture.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a popular choice for many dishes, including vegetable soup. They have a sweet, earthy flavor that balances the savory notes of the soup. Kidney beans are easily added to soup by draining the liquid from the can and heating for a few minutes. The red skin of kidney beans adds a vibrant touch to the soup, making it visually appealing. In addition to vegetable soups, kidney beans are often used in stews, chili, tacos, curries, and dips.

Black Beans

Black beans have a soft, creamy texture and mild flavor, making them an ideal addition to vegetable soups when you want to add thickness and bulk. These beans pair well with hearty vegetables, such as root vegetables, and absorb flavors and spices effectively. Black beans are versatile and are used in a variety of cuisines, including soups, casseroles, tacos, and salads. Because of their texture and mild flavor, they can also be used as a meat substitute.

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans have a distinctive appearance with their pale orange color and rust-colored spots, making them visually appealing in vegetable soup. They have an earthy flavor and a smooth texture that complements the other ingredients, spices, and seasonings used in the soup. Pinto beans are available in both dried and canned forms, and the choice depends on availability and personal preference. If dried pinto beans are used, they should be soaked and cooked before being added to the soup. Canned pinto beans can be conveniently used by draining and rinsing them before adding them to the soup.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-eyed peas have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that adds a unique flavor to vegetable soups. They have a soft texture and are often used in Southern cooking. Black-eyed peas are high in protein and fiber, making them a nutritious addition to soup. These beans can be cooked from scratch or used from canned varieties, both of which work well in vegetable soup. They pair well with a variety of vegetables and spices, adding depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile.


Lentils, although technically not beans but legumes, are worth mentioning for their compatibility with vegetable soup. They come in a variety of colors, including green, brown, and red, and each variety has its own unique flavor and texture. Lentils cook relatively quickly and do not require soaking, making them a convenient choice for soup preparation. They add a hearty texture and absorb the flavors of the soup, resulting in a well-rounded and satisfying dish.

Chick Peas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are commonly used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Their nutty flavor and firm texture make them a versatile addition to vegetable soups. Chickpeas can be used whole or pureed to create a creamy texture. They are high in protein and fiber, adding a substantial and satisfying element to the soup. Chickpeas pair well with a variety of vegetables and spices, allowing for a wide range of flavor combinations.

Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans are a popular ingredient in East Asian cuisine, adding a unique flavor and texture to vegetable soups. These small, reddish-brown beans have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Adzuki beans are often used in sweet dishes, but they can also be added to savory soups. They have a soft texture and cook relatively quickly compared to other beans. Adzuki beans add a touch of sweetness and depth to soup, making it a delightful culinary experience.

Split Peas

Split peas are another legume worth considering for vegetable soup. They are commonly used in split pea soup, but they can also be added to vegetable soups for added texture and flavor. Split peas come in green and yellow varieties, each with its own flavor and cooking time. They have a creamy texture when cooked and contribute to a thick and hearty soup consistency. Split peas are high in fiber and protein, making them a nutritious addition to any vegetable soup.

Chinook Beans

Chickpeas, also known as borlotti beans, are popular in Italian cuisine and are an excellent choice for vegetable soup. These beans have a delicate, nutty flavor and creamy texture. They are visually appealing with their mottled pink and beige appearance. Chinook beans hold their shape well during cooking and add a pleasant texture to the soup. They can be used in a variety of bean-based soups and stews, including vegetable soup, minestrone, and pasta e fagioli.


When it comes to vegetable soups, adding beans not only increases the nutritional value, but also adds depth, texture, and flavor to the dish. The 13 beans mentioned in this article-including cannellini beans, great northern beans, navy beans, fava beans, lima beans, soybeans, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, chickpeas, adzuki beans, split peas, and chickpeas-offer a wide range of options to suit different tastes and preferences. Experimenting with different combinations of beans and vegetables can lead to a variety of delicious and satisfying vegetable soups that are both healthy and comforting. So the next time you make a vegetable soup, consider adding one or more of these beans to enhance your culinary experience.


Can I use canned beans instead of dried beans for vegetable soup?

Yes, using canned beans is a convenient option for vegetable soup. Just drain and rinse the beans before adding them to the soup.

How long should I cook the beans in the vegetable soup?

The cooking time for beans can vary depending on the type and whether they are dried or canned. Follow the instructions on the package or cook until the beans are tender and completely cooked.

Can I use a combination of beans in my vegetable soup?

Absolutely! Mixing different beans can add complexity and variety to your soup. Feel free to experiment with different combinations to find your favorite flavors and textures.

Are there any beans that require special preparation before being added to vegetable soup?

Some beans, such as fava beans, may require additional preparation, such as removal from the pod and blanching. However, most beans can be used directly in soup without any special preparation.

Can I freeze bean and vegetable soup?

Yes, bean and vegetable soup can be frozen for later consumption. Allow the soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or freezer bag. It’s best to consume the frozen soup within 3-4 months for optimal flavor and quality.