Have you ever thought to yourself, "Self, we need to make a full freaking gallon of soup that'll be hearty, delicious, and vegetarian. And we need to do it lickety split."? No? Really? Well it can be done, and I'm here to show you how to do it. This is a great soup to make if your intent is to have some now, and freeze a lot for later.
I use canned beans for this soup because I find them more convenient that the dried beans. If you're looking for the cheapest possible recipe, you could use dried beans, pick over them looking for dirt and rocks and shrunken children from a Rick Moranis movie, then boil the beans forever to get them tender. I find canned beans to be much much easier to deal with, though they do cost a little bit more and are heavy to carry home if you're not driving.
Yes, there are many who will decry the use of canned foods. Well, please feel free to grow ad pick the beans for this recipe yourself, but with the addition of some fresh vegetables (carrots, celery, onions), canned beans wok wonderfully here.
The soup I present here has an Italianate seasoning scheme. You could easily adjust the herbs or substitute wine in for the sauce or add peppers to change the flavors. No matter what you do, adding a little epazote at the beginning or Beano at the end will help cut down on the gassiferous (is that a word?) tendencies of the beans.
I use Bragg's Liquid Aminos in this recipe, but you can substitute a low sodium soy sauce. I like the flavor of Bragg's better, and encourage you to give it a try.
My wife the Redhead suggests adding some bulgar to this recipe, which I may do next time, but we both also enjoy the soup as is.
7 Bean Soup from 10 Cans
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
One 15.5-oz can each ( I believe I used Goya for all) of:
small white beans
pigeon peas (find in Mexican ethnic grocery stores)
dark red kidney beans
2 14-oz cans of Vegetable Broth (I used Swanson's clear, which is a little salty, but cheap, cheap, cheap)
1 28 ounce can of fire roasted plum tomatoes (Muir Glen, in my case)
2 tablespoons dried oregano (yep, that's a lot of oregano, but you have a GALLON of soup here, for Pete's sake)
1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos or light soy sauce or to taste
In a LARGE stock pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sautée for three-five minutes until everything starts to soften.
Mash up the canned tomatoes then add them to the oil and vegetables. Add the beans, without draining and stir to combine well. Add the stock, oregano, and Bragg's (or soy sauce) and stir well again.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 30 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally. Recipe makes a little over 1.25 gallons of soup. Eat what you like, freeze the rest - it microwaves well in small containers for lunch. Good with oyster crackers or crusty bread for dipping.