Simplified Portuguese Bean Soup
Full of smoky and spicy flavors. Portuguese Bean Soup is a warming and satisfying entree soup. Easy to prepare with simplified instructions!
I love soup, all year round, but especially in winter. Yes, when the cold winds blow, there’s nothing like a hearty bowl to warm you up!
This year, I started out with a goal to do more soups—and I’d been eyeing up this recipe for a long time. But I was discouraged by the need to find smoked pork hocks, plus the long cooking time. When I had large piece of leftover ham after Christmas, I decided it was time to simplify the recipe–and start cooking! Yes, I even used a food processor to cut up the vegetables!
Since we eat mostly organic, I used Mexican chorizo instead of Portuguese since it’s much easier to find (even conventional). Then I added an optional hint of red wine to help compensate, since the Portuguese version contains wine.
For purists, the other change I made was to omit the potatoes and macaroni. I’ve had potatoes disintegrate, and pasta bloat, on reheating or freezing soup, so I tend to avoid them. But if you’ll miss them, feel free to add a cubed potato, a cup of macaroni and a couple more cups of water or broth.
In the end the final soup was thick, meaty and absolutely delicious! I don’t think the simplification hurt a bit!
Why You’ll Love This!
Flavorful and Satisfying. Loaded with smokey, spicy flavor in a rich tomato-y broth, this soup is warming and satisfying.
Easy and Practical. The simplified instructions make this easy to prepare. Then just add bread and salad for the easiest dinner ever!
Healthy. With vegetables, protein and fiber, this makes a nutritious meal. Even better if you add a salad and whole wheat bread!
What You’ll Need
- Olive oil. To sautee the vegetables.
- Onion, carrots, celery, garlic. These form the start of a rich, flavorful broth.
- Tomato sauce. Adds flavor, nutrition and helps build the broth.
- Tomatoes with chiles. Adds flavor, nutrition, and a little heat. You can use plain tomatoes if you prefer.
- Kidney beans. Adds flavor, texture and fiber.
- Chorizo. Adds protein and spicy flavor.
- Ham. Adds protein and smoky flavor. I use organic smoked ham.
- Water or stock. This forms the bulk of the broth.
- Red wine (optional). This adds richness to the broth and compensates for the substitution of Mexican chorizo.
- Black pepper, smoked paprika. Add flavor.
- Spinach. Adds nutrition, color and variety. You can use other greens like kale or cabbage if you prefer.
- Salt. Salt enhances flavor and may or may not be needed depending on the saltiness of your ham, and whether you use water or stock.
- No special tools are needed, though a food processor will make cutting up the vegetables easier.
Step by Step Directions
Mince the celery, carrots, and onion. I used a food processor to make it easy!
Sautee vegetables, then add garlic.
Add ham, sliced sausage, beans, spices and water or broth. Simmer for an hour
Add spinach strips and let wilt.
Taste and adjust salt. Serve warm.
How to Serve
While traditionally served as an entrée soup, Portuguese Bean Soup can also be used as a first course. If you serve it as a starter course, I’d use a cup rather than a bowl since it is very hearty. You want your diners to have room for the rest of the meal!
As a main course soup, adding a salad and a nice loaf of crusty would make a lovely and complete meal! Perhaps add a nice Portuguese red wine for a touch of class or a good craft beer.
Variations and Special Diets
Feel free to change up the greens in this based on what you have on hand. Portuguese Kale Soup anyone. Cabbage?
Since chorizo is normally gluten free and I have omitted the macaroni from my version of the soup, it should be gluten free. But double check with your sausage maker to be sure.
For a similar soup that is vegetarian and easily turned vegan, take a look at my White Bean Kale Soup.
Foodsafety.gov says that soups should be used within 3-4 days.
For longer storage, Portuguese Bean Soup should freeze well. Or make a double batch, freeze the extras and have a really easy meal later!
Tips & FAQs
This soup has a kick of spice from the chorizo. I also used canned tomatoes with chilis to add a little more punch, though you can also use plain tomatoes. For people who like things even hotter, it is traditionally served with a little hot sauce, so diners can adjust to taste.
Can I use dried beans? I often like to use pre-cooked, dried beans in recipes since they are economical, and I don’t need to worry about additives or any chemicals leaching from a can. Just be aware that most beans contain a toxin and must be properly cooked to deactivate it. So make sure you follow an approved method.
I like to make my soups in an enameled, cast iron Dutch oven. Then I can take it right from stove top to table. And as an added bonus, this will help keep the soup warm at the table.
Portuguese Bean Soup
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 carrots finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 celery stalks finely diced (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 15 ounces tomato sauce 1 can
- 20 ounces diced tomatoes with chiles 2 cans
- 15 ounces kidney beans with liquid 1 can
- ½ - 3/4 pound chorizo
- 2 cups chopped ham
- 3 cups broth or water
- 1/4 cup red wine optional
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3-4 cups spinach torn or sliced into strips. Or other greens--if you use a tougher green like cabbage or kale, add it earlier in the cooking process to allow it to tenderize.
- Salt to taste
- Mince the celery, carrots, and onion until finely chopped (about ¼ inch pieces).
- In a large Dutch Oven or Stockpot, heat oil until hot then add minced celery, carrots, and onion. Cook on medium, stirring regularly, until fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. If the vegetables start to brown, turn down the heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
- Add ham, sliced sausage, beans, spices and water or broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour
- Add spinach strips and let wilt.
- Taste and adjust salt. Serve warm.
- Blackened Mahi Mahi
- Overnight Oats with Lower Carb Options
I wish I could find garlic-free chorizo – I know I would love this, as beans soups are a favorite. I may just try it with Italian sausages, though I know it won’t be the same.