Healthy Happy Life

Senate Bean Soup: Vegan Version

A steamy, creamy bowl of bean soup may not be the traditional meal for summertime eating - but I simply can't help myself when it comes to this veganized version of Senate Bean Soup. Plus, this patriotic recipe would make a fun addition to your festive Fourth of July menu - just around the corner.

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. Make it summer-y by pairing the soup with a light salad or sandwich if you'd like. Each warm bit of this Senate bean soup is accented with velvety potato, spicy cayenne hot sauce, garlic, a few veggies, pepper - and a smoky flavor. Get my recipe + nutrition facts!...

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.”

Whatever the origins, the first time I tasted a vegan version of this soup at a Washington DC based Whole Foods I was hooked! And had to craft my own recipe.

The original recipe calls for “ham hock” and “butter” but I can easily make this soup a bit healthier by using vegan buttery spread, soy cream or milk and vegan liquid smoke which successfully imitates a smoky flavor. And the main focus of the flavor is on those creamy navy beans and mashed potatoes. Dive in and eat like a Senator! Well even better, a vegan Senator :)

Vegan Senate Bean Soup (small batch recipe)
vegan, serves 2-3

1 1/2 cups Navy Beans (canned + drained/rinsed)
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1-3 Tbsp vegan butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
2 tsp vegan liquid smoke
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp cayenne pepper hot sauce
4 garlic cloves or 1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 large bay leaf
1 medium white potato, baked (skin on)
as needed to thin soup: 1/4-1/3 cup plain soy creamer (or soy milk, or more water)

Nutrition Facts (per serving, based on 3 servings per recipe)
Calories: 264kcal, Fat: 9g, Carbs: 36g, Protein: 9g, Fiber: 9g, Vita A: 18%, Vita C: 34%, Calcium: 12g, Iron: 17%
*percentages based on 2000 calorie diet

My upgrade: I made an upgrade when I re-heated this soup for lunch. I added nutritional yeast and a can of lentils. Topped hot soup with chilled sauerkraut and a few oyster crackers. Not traditional, but fabulous too!


1. In a soup pot, add the drained/rinsed beans, water, bay leaf, salt, parsley, onion, celery, liquid smoke, hot sauce, pepper, garlic and vegan butter. Bring to a boil and simmer while potato bakes (step 2).

2. Bake a skin-on potato. Use oven or microwave - cook until tender.

3. Rough chop your potato and add to a high speed blender. Remove bay leaf from broth pot soup. Add in about 1-2 cups of the soup (mostly broth). Blend on low -> medium until potato is pureed/smooth. Your soup will be thick at this point. Add in as much soy creamer or soy milk (or water) as you’d like to thin out the potato portion of the soup. Remember, you still have your other bean/broth mixture to add so keep that in mind. I added about 1/4 cup soy creamer, a splash of soy milk and 1/2 cup water.

4. Lastly, you want to blend the thick potato mixture with your whole bean broth mixture. If you want totally creamy soup, simply blend the entire portion in the blender with the potato. If you like some whole beans, simply fold the potato mixture in with the whole beans.

5. Simmer on stove until ready to serve.

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