Vegan Senate Bean Soup

I first posted my recipes for a vegan version of Senate Bean Soup back in 2012. Well today I am giving the recipe a bit of an update by simplifying a few ingredients and a few new photos as well.

This is one of my all time favorite bean soups! It is ultra creamy and cozy with mashed potato, smoky flavor, simple rustic ingredients and black pepper and parsley on top. I first learned about this soup back in DC when I bought some from Whole Foods. It was rich and creamy and vegan! I knew I had to learn how to make it and also learn the history behind this American-made recipe.

Recipe + video ahead!..

Simple healthy ingredients..

So creamy and velvety..

This was same day serving..

This was next day 'leftovers' serving... (It gets even better the next day because it reduces, thickens and intensifies in flavor.)

Senate Bean Soup Tradition. The tradition dates back to the early 20th century. There are two stories about the origins of the daily bean soup request. The tradition is thanks to either Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho who is famous for his “mashed potato” bean soup version — or another story according to the US Senate website “attributes the request to Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota, who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903.”

The US Senate website still says that Senate Bean Soup is on the menu at the Senate every day! Wow, that is commitment. I wish they would experiment with my vegan version, seriously it is really tasty!!

Whatever the origins, the first time I tasted a vegan version of this soup, I was hooked!

But wait, what does it taste like??? Smoky, creamy, cozy. Kinda like the best mashed potatoes and gravy combined with the best Tuscan white beans, with beans + toast vibes, all in a soup.

Veganizing it. The original recipe calls for “ham hock” and “butter” but I can easily make this soup a bit healthier by using vegan buttery spread and vegan liquid smoke which successfully imitates a smoky 'ham' flavor. You could also add in some tempeh bacon, which will also have a smoky flavor and add some bonus texture and protein. Or smoky paprika is a great spice for adding smokiness. The main focus of the flavor and texture is on those creamy navy beans and baked potato.

Dive in and eat like a (vegan) Senator!

..OR like Joey from Friends... "Mmmmmmmmmm Bean Souppppp..." (Changed noodle to bean and totally applies.)


Watch me make it..

Nutrition. I often crave beans. Maybe it is the healthy dose of iron, B vitamins, protein, fiber or just that cozy, rustic soothing flavor. One way to insert a nice serving of beans in your diet is via bean soup. Each warm bite of this Senate bean soup is accented with velvety potato, parsley, pepper - and a smoky flavor.

This recipe is a favorite for lunch at home because if I microwave the potato I can whip this up in about twenty minutes! And it is so satisfying. Then of course, leftovers at dinnertime. Yesterday I paired the leftovers with a avocado and veggie sandwich and it was a lovely meal.

Vegan Senate Bean Soup

Kathy Patalsky

Published 06/10/2012

Vegan Senate Bean Soup

This super creamy and cozy bean soup is rich in history. This vegan version contains navy beans, white potato, onion and plenty of smoky flavor too! Try this for a comfort food dinner or lunch.


  • Saute:
  • 1 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, white or brown
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
  • Add in:
  • 2 15oz. cans Navy beans (or another white bean), drained/rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large Russet potato, baked + roughly chopped (microwave or oven
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 - 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (depending on how smoky you want it) -- or sub with 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (paprika will tint the soup color though)
  • Fold in:
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Also: Additional water or broth as needed (usually 1-2 cups are needed)


  1. Warm a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add in the vegan butter, onion and optional garlic. Stir and saute for one to two minutes to brown onions.
  2. Add in the beans, bay leaf, a handful of the potato, broth, water, liquid smoke or paprika, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring this mixture to a low boil and simmer for about two minutes.
  4. Scoop about 3 cups of the soup into a blender container - especially the beans and potato parts. Blend until thick and creamy. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to blend. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot and continue simmering over medium heat.
  5. If you want a chunkier soup, you can leave things as they are. If you want a more mashed and creamy soup, you can use a fork or potato masher to mash the remaining beans and potato in the pot. Or for a really creamy texture, process even more of the soup in the blender to make creamy and smooth. This is up to you.
  6. Fold in the chopped parsley and allow the soup to cook down to a thick and creamy texture. Usually simmering a few more minutes on low-medium.
  7. When desired consistency is reached, serve soup. Garnish with chopped parsley and black pepper.

Yield: 5 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Cook time: 00 hrs. 15 mins.

Total time: 25 mins.


  • Calories: 239
  • Protein: 13
  • Fat: 2.8
  • Totalcarbs: 43
  • Dietaryfiber: 10
  • Calories:

Tags: soup,bean soup,vegan,recipe,dinner,senate bean soup,easy,potato,comfort food,

*this post was updated in Oct 2017
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