Cajun 15 Bean Soup is spicy and meaty with ham, andouille sausage, beans, tomatoes and green chilis. Can’t beat hearty and healthy!
What’s the best thing about holiday leftovers? For me, it’s making ham bone soup!
Every year I serve a ham during the holiday season–and some years it’s two! Besides being a real crowd pleaser, you can’t beat the leftovers. And one of my favorites is leftover ham bone soup like this Cajun 15 Bean Soup.
Yes, how do you beat tasty and nutritious, with its healthy beans, tomatoes and peppers and a rich, spicy kick. The soup was meaty and flavorful without having so much spice that my husband objected.
And it’s even easy to make ahead and reheat!
What is 15 Bean Soup?
Per Wikipedia, “15 Bean Soup is a packaged dry bean soup product from Indianapolis-based N.K. Hurst Co. According to company president Rick Hurst, it is the #1 selling dry bean soup in the U.S.”
The package was easy to find in a few different stores that I checked. It comes with a package of ham flavoring which I didn’t use. I didn’t want to take the time to analyze the ingredients and I use my own ham or ham bone and a different twist on some of the other ingredients.
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty. This soup is rich and flavorful with just the right kick of spice.
Nutritious. Loaded with healthy beans, plus peppers and tomatoes .
Comfort Food. Who doesn’t like winter soup!
What You’ll Need
- 15 bean soup mix. This provides the beans. You can use other dried beans if you prefer, (especially since I didn’t use the ham flavor in the package). You could also use canned beans and reduce the cooking time.
- Oil. This is used to sautee the vegetabls.
- Onion, garlic, green peppers. These add flavor and nutrition. I have substituted other types of peppers if I didn’t have green peppers.
- Water or broth. This makes up the broth and helps rehydrate the beans. I used half water, half broth.
- Meaty ham bone. This provides flavor and nutrition. You can also use a large piece (ham-bone size) of leftover ham.
- Cajun seasoning mix, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Bay leaves. These add cajun flavor.
- Fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis. This adds flavor and a little heat.
- Andouille sausage. This adds cajun flavor and a little heat. If you can’t get andouille sausage, you can use another sausage and add additional cajun seasoning and a little hot sauce.
- Salt, pepper. These enhance flavor.
- Sour cream, chopped parsley. Optional garnish.
- No special tools required!
Step by Step Directions
Check dried beans and discard any debris found. Rinse, then cover beans with water or beer to an inch above top and soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
If using a slow cooker, boil the beans in fresh water for 30 minutes (the heat of boiling reduces a toxin in some beans). The boiling can be omitted if cooking stovetop (which will boil them).
In large stock pot, saute the onion, garlic and pepper in oil until tender. If using a slow cooker, transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the remaining ingredients, except sausage.
When beans are tender, remove your ham bone and bay leaves. Discard bay leaves. Remove meat from ham bone and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Add these and the sliced sausage back to the pot.
Cook for about another 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
How to Serve
Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of parsley if you’d like.
This is a nice hearty soup that can be a meal all by itself. But since variety is the spice of life, it would be great with some bread or muffins on the side. You could use a crusty bakery bread or some tasty Pecan Cornmeal Muffins.
And, as usual, I always recommend a nice green salad like this New Orleans Fried Oyster Salad. It’s a tasty and easy way to get another healthy serving of vegetables!
Now even though this works as an entrée soup, it’s also great as a side. Serve it as a starter for an entrée like Blackened Mahi Mahi. Or do the classic cup of soup with half (or whole) sandwich for lunch. Grilled Ham and Cheese would be great with this.
Andouille sausage would be most traditional sausage in a cajun soup. But if you have trouble finding it, you can substitute another sausage and consider increasing the cajun seasoning and maybe adding a little hot sauce or a hotter pepper.
And for another tasty sausage and bean soup consider this Portuguese Bean soup.
Foodsafety.gov recommends that soups be refrigerated and used within 3-4 days.
This soup should freeze well if you’d like to keep if for longer storage.
Tips & FAQs
I usually cut my sausage into slices when I use it in soup. But often this results in pieces that are bigger than bite-sized—especially if you’re serving kids. So feel free to slice the sausage smaller if that may work better for you.
Sometimes I have a lot of leftover ham. Or even leftover ham that doesn’t have a bone. In that case, I just slice off a ham bone sized chunk of meat and pop that into my soup pot. It adds lots of delicious ham flavor and then I get lots of meat in the final soup.
Peppers (green or colored, bell or hot) are often in the dirty dozen list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables. So I try to go organic if I can. In my small town grocery store there was no organic available and I subbed a frozen red pepper and a couple banana peppers from my summer CSA. It worked great!
Why do I need to pre-boil the beans if using a slow cooker? Some beans, especially kidney beans (which this mix lists), contain a toxin that needs to be deactivated by cooking. There have been cases where slow cookers have not gotten the beans hot enough and people have gotten food poisoning as a result.
There are a lot of nuances to this issue (varies by bean type, etc.) but newer recommendations are to boil them first if preparing them using a slow cooker. Eating Well has more information on this.
Slow Cooking Recipes
- Asian Style Beef Short Ribs from Confessions of an Overworked Mom
- Buffalo Chicken Dip from That Recipe
- Cajun 15 Bean Soup (Crockpot) from Art of Natural Living
- Chicken Pho (Slow Cooker) from Palatable Pastime
- Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes from Jen Around the World
- Healthy Crockpot Balsamic Italian Lentil Soup from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Pork Spring Rolls with Spicy Plum Dipping Sauce from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Root Beer Puled Pork Sandwiches from The Spiffy Cookie
- Slow Cooker Asian Pork from Hezzi-D’s Recipe Box
- Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup from Blogghetti
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Slow Cooker Dal Makhni from Magical Ingredients
Cajun 15 Bean Soup
- 16-20 ounces dried beans 15 bean soup mix, I didn't use the ham flavor in the package
- 1-2 Tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 green peppers diced
- 7 cups water or broth
- 1 meaty ham bone or a large chunk of leftover ham
- 1 Tablespoons Cajun seasoning
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 20 ounces fire roasted tomatoes with green chilis 2 10-ounce cans
- 16 ounces andouille sausage sliced (or sub your favorite sausage)
- Salt to taste
- Sour cream, chopped parsley Optional garnish.
- Check dried beans and discard any debris found. Rinse, then cover beans with water or beer to an inch above top and soak overnight. The next day, drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid.
- If using a slow cooker, boil the beans in fresh water for 30 minutes. The boiling can be omitted if cooking stovetop (which will boil them).
- In large stock pot, saute the onion, garlic and pepper in oil until tender. If using a slow cooker, transfer to the slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients, except sausage.
- Cook on high for 5-7 hours in slow cooker or simmer on stovetop for about 3 hours until the beans are tender. When beans are tender remove your ham bone and bay leaves. Discard bay leaves.
- Remove meat from ham bone and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add these and the sliced sausage back to the pot.
- Cook for about another 30 minutes. Taste and add salt, pepper as needed.
Updated from original, published on Jan 12, 2019.
- Virgin Cosmopolitan
- Fun Oatmeal M&M Blondies