Spicy Bean Soup for a Cold Winter’s Night

In Maine, notorious for its long stretches of cool and sometimes downright cold weather, we can eat soup eight months out of the year. (If June is rainy and cool, the way it traditionally has been, then make that nine months.)

Fortunately, Clif and I love soup, and we make a big pot at least once a week, which lasts the two of us for several nights. We have many different recipes, which we make in rotation, and this means we have a variety of flavors to enjoy. We are never bored with soup.

Warm, nourishing, filling, frugal, there is so much to like about soup, not the least of which is that it can accommodate many different diet requirements and tastes—vegan, vegetarian, meat-lover, low-carb, low-cal, lower sodium. As an incredible bonus, soup is one of the few dishes that actually tastes better the next day. And the day after that.  Finally, soup is a forgiving medium, well suited for improvisation and seat-of-the-pants cooking. (Yes, that is my style.)

Last night, I made a spicy bean soup, good enough to serve to family and friends. I look forward to the days when we can gather around the table again, and talk about books, politics, movies, television, nature, gardening, and other interesting things. A crusty bread would go perfectly with this soup and so would a green salad with a homemade vinaigrette. For dessert, baked apples with a bit of vanilla ice cream.

Blogging friends, I wish you could join us. Friends who live nearby…after the pandemic! Clif and I are planning to host soup nights on a regular basis.

Here is the basic recipe, which includes kidney beans, peppers, and mushrooms. After that, you could add ground beef, ground chicken, veggie crumbles, Beyond Beef, meat sausage, or veggie sausage. After the broth, beans, and veggies simmered, we added a cup textured vegetable protein (TVP) and a cup of Israeli couscous, both of which gave the soup a satisfying bulk.

Spicy Bean Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons of oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups of broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, including liquid
  • 6 cups of cooked kidney beans—4 (15 oz) cans
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet peppers, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Soy sauce, to taste—I just splash a bit in
  • Add ins: cooked ground beef or chicken, TVP, pasta, rice, couscous, whatever you have on hand or strikes your fancy


  1.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in large stockpot. Sauté onions for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Add broth, water, tomatoes, kidney beans, mushrooms, peppers, tomato paste, and spices, including soy sauce. (If using ground meat, add now.) Simmer for 40 minutes. Taste and add more spices, if so desired.
  2. Ten minutes before serving, add TVP, crumbles, couscous, or pasta. Simmer until done.




61 thoughts on “Spicy Bean Soup for a Cold Winter’s Night”

  1. Your description of soup in cold weather already had me longing for soup. The thick, chunky kind is my favourite. Then I saw your photograph: count me in as a guest on soup night. I cannot resist sharing Lewis Carroll’s take on soup:

    Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
    Waiting in a hot tureen!
    Who for such dainties would not stoop?
    Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
    Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

    Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
    Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
    Soo- oop of the e- e- evening,
    Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

    Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
    Game, or any other dish?
    Who would not give all else for two
    Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
    Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

    Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
    Beau- ootiful Soo-oop!
    Soo- oop of the e- e- evening,
    Beautiful, beauti- FUL SOUP!

  2. We’ve been making soups and chili, too, Laurie. Something incredibly satisfying about “warm and hearty” when the wind is howling outside and the snow is blowing in sideways!!

  3. I agree completely about soups, we love them too, and your recipe looks delicious! Last year, when our Lockdown finished, and we were allowed 6 people to visit, we did ”Friday soup days” with two other couples. I don’t know what I enjoyed more, the soup or the company!

    1. Friday soup days sound fantastic! I want to do something like that when the pandemic is over. I am sure that the company was just as nourishing as the food.

  4. Reading all the ingredients this sounds like a very tasty meal. I love soup but am a little boring with the basics. We have some tins of black eyed beans so winder if I could use those. I am intolerant of kidney beans.

  5. I love soups! As you say they are cheap, tasty, filling, warming and can use up whatever is lying around. With beans in they are also a source of protein. I will certainly try your recipe – it sound delicious!

  6. I love soup too – despite the warm weather we get all year around! I think because my Dad loved soup, so we had lots of it growing up, although most of them were Chinese-styled soups consumed piping hot; we used to make a joke that it’s because we are Teochew.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teochew_people)

    Incidentally, I made the lentil soup and put lots of cilantro in it (instead of the kale – I figured green things are green things) – it was sooooo delicious!

    Thank you for your recipe – I will make that next!

  7. Soup nights is such a good idea. Something to look forward to. There are few better comforts than a fresh pot of soup that’s far too big to finish in one go. If we’re ever in Maine…

    1. Sounds fantastic! I really like the idea of everyone bringing their own bowl and spoon to cut down on dishes, especially now that we don’t have dishwasher anymore.

Comments are closed.