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Mediterranean Heirloom Bean Soup – Sharon Palmer, The Plant Powered Dietitian

In the Mediterranean, you’ll find hearty bean stews and soups, like this Mediterranean Heirloom Bean Soup, which are like a meal in a bowl, especially when paired with some crusty whole grain bread and perhaps a crisp green salad on the side. Filled with simmered beans and the flavors of onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and herbs, this soup calls out as sheer comfort in a bowl. Delicious, satisfying, and budget-friendly, you can see why these rustic soups are such a core of traditional diets over the eons. They offer a nutrition-packed meal that provides energy to face the day. 

What Are Heirloom Beans?

This vegan gluten free recipe for Mediterranean Heirloom Bean Soup is based on heirloom beans–unusual beans saved back by farmers from their crops for replanting, just like heirlooms. There is a world of unusual dried heirloom beans—Eye of the Goat, Rattlesnake, Flageolet beans. Though you can certainly swap out those heirloom beans for something you can find anywhere, such as dried cranberry, lima or cannellini beans. Heirloom beans are unusual varieties of beans that farmers found during their harvest, and would save the seeds back to replant the following year—essentially prized heirlooms! Maybe it was an offshoot with a vivid color, unusual pattern, or large form—whatever it was, the farmer selected that one plant to harvest its beans (which are also seeds for the next year) and plant it again, forever preserving the unique qualities of that bean plant. That’s why we have so many gorgeous, unique varieties of beans today! In this recipe, I used Eye of the Goat beans. But I have found so many cool beans at farmers markets and shops all over the world to bring back to my kitchen. With a long shelf life, you can collect heirloom beans to feature in your cooking all year long. 

Nutrition Notes

Simple and filling, this affordable soup is rich when it comes to nutrition, including a good supply of plant protein, healthy fats, fiber, slow-digesting carbs, minerals like magnesium and iron, and vitamins like vitamin C and K, and phytochemicals. Try this recipe as a gluten free and vegan soup option, too. You can make this bean soup with no added salt, oil, or sugar (SOS) by omitting the salt and olive oil, too. 



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This simple, satisfying Mediterranean Heirloom Bean Soup is packed with good nutrition to keep you powered with health and energy throughout the day. Based on just a few staple ingredients, this affordable, vegan, gluten free bean soup is based on the heirloom beans, which are prized beans handed down through the generations.

  1. Place heirloom beans in a large pot, cover with 2 inches of water, and cover with the lid. Soak overnight (about 8 hours). 
  2. Drain water from beans.
  3. Add broth and water to the beans in the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. 
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add carrots, celery, thyme, oregano, pepper and salt (optional). Stir well, cover with lid, and cook for an additional 30-60 minutes, depending on the type of bean. Cook until beans are tender, yet slightly firm.
  6. Add tomato paste and stir well. 
  7. Add chopped kale, cover with lid, and remove from heat. Drizzle with olive oil (if desired), cover, and let stand for 5 minutes to soften kale.
  8. Serve immediately, or refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. 
  9. Makes 10 servings.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 193
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 292 mg
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Fiber: 13 g
  • Protein: 12 g

Keywords: bean soup, heirloom beans

For other soup recipes, check out the following:

Barley Vegetable Stone Soup
Vegan Pho with Tofu
Carnival Squash Soup with Turmeric
Vegan Tortilla Soup
Smoky Sweet Potato Chili
Vegetarian Pozole Verde
Cucumber Avocado Cold Soup

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