Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 21-bean Soup with Jade Pearl Rice (No Added Fat)

I found a mixture of 21 dried beans mixed together and suggested for soup at Whole Foods in their bulk bin recently. I think that it may be the same mixture as one that I found online which contains anasazi, black turtle, French navy, Swedish brown, baby butter lima, mayacoba/canary, Jacob's cattle/trout, tongues of fire, pink, great northern, Stueben yellow eye, cranberry, light red kidney, red calypso, cannellini, flageolet, European soldier, pinto, and lupini beans, as well as blackeye peas and chickpeas.

I thought I'd give it a go to make such a soup tonight for Valentine's Day and, though it's not vegetarian, used a 13-bean soup recipe from the Instant Pot pressure cooker website as a base to create a recipe for tonight. Here is what I did:

  • Approx. 1 1/2 cups 21-bean soup mix (21 different beans all sold together)
  • Ample boiling water - I used about 3 or 4 cups
  • Water to just cover beans - approx. 1 cup
  • (Optional) 4 1" squares of kombu
  • (Optional) Approx. 1T of ginger roughly cut into 4 pieces (I used this to cook the beans and then discarded just to get some flavor; I added more ginger that I left in for the second part of the cooking)
  • 2 1/2 cups water (I used boiling water to speed things up, but tap water would be fine)
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • Medium yellow (or other) onion, chopped into 3/8" cubes (my onion yielded about 2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots cut into approx. 3/8" slices and then larger diameter slices quartered and the rest halved (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
  • (Optional) Dozen stems of bottom 1" of kale (i.e., 12 1" pieces of kale stems) cut into 1/4" lengths
  • 15 ounces of crushed canned tomatoes (I had a 28 ounce can and used a bit over half)
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1 t salt

  1. I should have soaked the beans overnight but, since I didn't, I rinsed several times then soaked for 3 or 3 1/2 hours in boiling water.
  2. I drained, rinsed, and added just enough water to cover the beans.
  3. I added the kombu and coarse pieces of ginger, and cooked on "Bean" setting for 30m (i.e., high pressure for 30m).
  4. When the beans were done, I slowly released pressure and opened the pot. The beans tasted good and could have been enjoyed as a side dish.
  5. I discarded the kombu and coarse ginger, and drained and rinsed the beans several times.
  6. I added the rest of the ingredients (water, bouillon cube, onion, carrot, kale stem, crushed tomato, black pepper, and oregano) except the salt, and cooked on high pressure for another 20m.
  7. When I was ready to serve, I let out remaining pressure slowly, opened the pot, and added the salt.
I also made some Jade pearl rice, cooked with onion and fennel.


Wow, the soup was excellent! We all loved it. It had good flavor and was fun eating, knowing it was chock full of fiber and so tasty. I need to keep this mix in stock and create different dishes from it.

Ideas for the future

Here are some thoughts:

  • Garlic, of course, would be great in this dish, but my Dad is visiting and doesn't eat garlic. I did add some garlic powder (and crushed red pepper) to my wife and my bowls.
  • My wife doesn't like canned food and says she can taste perhaps a tinny flavor when I use items like canned tomatoes. I like the versatility and taste of stewed and other canned tomatoes, but can try using fresh tomatoes.
  • I didn't have broccoli but would have enjoyed some broccoli stalk to build up the stock.
  • I should experiment with other uses of such bean mixtures. Yesterday, for example, we visited a nice family who served lunch, including a tasty shepherd's pie with a lentil burger and smoky tempeh topped with mashed potatoes. I've not made, but should try, shepherd's pie. I'll bet a similar dish of a thickened stew compressed into patties and topped with mashed potato and baked would be good.
  • Speaking of stew, I like how thick this dish was. It was still a soup, though I could understand somebody calling it a stew. I would keep the same liquid content. If I wanted less tomato and more stock flavor, making this with no tomato and more vegetables would be worthwhile.
Bean mixtures are real winners!

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