Mixed Bean and Vegetable Soup

I developed this soup when I was stuck in the house, craving soup, with a pretty full pantry but not a lot of fresh vegetables. Now, I make sure I have as many beans as I can on hand, and in fact, I usually double the recipe and use one can each of black beans, small white cannellini beans, chickpeas, and dark red kidney beans. I usually freeze some so I always have some.

Makes about 10 cups 

1 ½ teaspoons vegetable or olive oil 

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

½ teaspoon fennel seed

½ teaspoon dried thyme

4 cups assorted cooked beans (the more kinds the merrier), drained and rinsed

½ cup lentils, any kind

4 – 6 cups chicken stock 

1 cup water 

1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid

¼ cup rice, any kind, farro, or barley

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 

Lemons, for serving

  1. Put a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When the pot is hot, add the oil.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, fennel and thyme and cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beans, lentils, broth, and water, then simmer the soup, partially covered, for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and rice and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Simmer another 15 minutes.
  5. Add the parsley and serve right away, with a squeeze of lemon. Or cool, cover and refrigerate up to 5 days.