If you’re looking for a delicious super cheap, super nutrient-packed and delicious meal, look no further than this Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup with Ham and Kale. It is warm, cozy, freezeable and plentiful. It makes a TONNE. And it’s a great way to use any leftover ham you might have!
Yes, I said it. The word “K”. Kale. But please, don’t run away screaming! You KNOW kale is good for you.
And you may think it’s a bitter pill (or leaf) to swallow, but withered in soup is absolutely delicious. In fact, you won’t even try it! This soup is the perfect way to enjoy one of the healthiest leafy greens out there, as cooking is one of the ways you can remove bitterness from bitter vegetables. (There are also other ways, such as soaking or massaging them, as in this massaged kale salad.)
If you really don’t like kale, fear not. You can easily substitute spinach or some other leafy green in this soup.
Have you ever heard of 15-bean soup before?
In the dried bean section
of your grocery store, you’ll find a bean package that’s labeled “15 Bean Soup Mix.” Or it could be “16-bean soup mix” or “13-bean soup mix.”
The numbers don’t really matter, you can use this recipe with any of them.
15 bean soup mixes include a combination of TONS of legumes, which can include pinto beans, red beans, pink beans, kidney beans, northern beans, small and large lima beans, white beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, peas, split peas (yellow and green), lentils, and sometimes even pearl barley.
Phew! That’s a bunch of beans… and a TON of nutrients! Add kale and you have a nutritional potency that simply can’t be beat.
About 15 bean soup mixes can come with a packet of flavorings. You can throw it away for this recipe, it’s likely full of preservatives and artificial flavorings, anyway.
Traditionally, the 15-bean soup is made with ham and chicken broth. I used both, with kale as an added bonus. It’s a great way to use leftover ham (or ham bone) from the vacation you may have out there, but you can also use a cut ham steak from your deli or beef department.
I recommend using smoked ham for this, as it will give you a smoky flavor throughout the soup. Yum.
Alternatively, you can easily make this vegetarian/vegan soup by omitting the ham and using vegetable broth instead. If you do this, I recommend adding some smoked paprika to get that smoky flavor you’ll miss without the ham.
The BEST thing about this 15 slow cooker bean soup is that it cooks all day in your cooking pot. It can cook for about 10 hours over low heat, making it ideal for a long day at work.
used to work 10 hours a day before becoming a full-time blogger, and I always struggled with slow cooker recipes as they usually only took 6-8 hours. This one was always perfect.
But you can also cook it for 4-6 hours over high heat if you are short on time!
This is a classic recipe of pouring everything at once into the cooking pot. There are no multiple steps, other than adding some fresh parsley at the end.
All you have to do to prepare yourself is make sure to pre-soak the beans in salt water (which will help decrease the indigestion of the beans that are well known to create them and help flavor them) overnight and rinse them thoroughly just before adding them to the slow cooker.
Chop some carrots, onion and celery, and throw everything in your slow cooker with the beans, ham, kale and broth. Season with salt and pepper, cook and serve! Add some parsley at the end if you want.
As an added bonus, this 15-bean soup freezes extremely well for a future meal (and this recipe makes a ton!).
If you like this Slow Cooker 15 bean soup with ham and kale, you’ll love this slow cooker black bean soup, this instant pot split pea soup (slow
cooker suitable), this instant pot black eye pea soup (also suitable for slow cookers), and this pumpkin soup with curry and ginger.
I hope you enjoy this cozy meal, Economical, delicious and full of nutrients!