Comforting 15-Bean Soup

Fall is officially here (even though the Bay Area weather doesn’t always reflect it)! As the days get shorter, we start turning to warm comfort foods. Many people attending our Empty Bowls events throughout the years might be familiar with this month’s featured soup. It comes to us from James Porter, Kitchen Manager and Chef at one of our partner agencies –Loaves and Fishes Contra Costa. We are tremendously thankful he volunteers to make this crowd favorite at our sell-out events.

This is a hearty and flexible soup which is great for filling bellies on a budget. To make it vgetarian, leave out the meat. The quantities listed below feed 15-20 people!


  • Bag of 15-bean soup (or other available beans)
  • 2 Cups diced ham (optional)
  • 2 Cups diced mild sausage links (optional)
  • 2 Cups diced chicken (optional)
  • 2 Cups diced onions
  • 2 Cups diced bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Cook beans until tender according to directions. Save the liquid the beans were cooked in.
  2. Combine rest of ingredients-saute until ham, chicken, and mild links are done and veggies are tender
  3. Combine meat/veggies with beans
  4. Warm together and enjoy!