This simple and comforting seven bean stew features a medley of dried lentils, pinto beans, navy beans, black eyed peas, kidney beans and black beans. A hearty and down right delicious stew this time of year. This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
Due to positive and valuable reader feedback, the name of this recipe has been updated to a 'stew' rather than a soup. The text has also been updated to include helpful tips and instructions.
Comfort food in a bowl
It's been very cold here on the Island which makes me crave soups and stews day in and day out, especially when I'm on the mend. Stew always makes me feel so good.
This simple recipe for seven bean stew is made with a blend of dried beans which I found stashed in the back of our pantry. Good thing dried beans last a while. Beans are high in fiber and are a good source of plant-based protein. I include beans and legumes in my diet every single day.
Cooked beans make up the bulk of the stew which is hearty and down right comforting this time of year. Soaking time aside, this recipe comes together nicely and makes for a filling lunch or dinner with a piece of toasty bread.
A medley of 7 beans and lentils
This comforting 7 bean stew features a hearty mix of the several dried beans noted below. However, you can use any type of dried beans you like. Below, I also share notes on replacing dried beans with canned beans.
- brown lentils
- pinto beans
- navy beans
- black eyed peas
- red lentils
- kidney beans
- black beans
This recipe is
- Gluten free
- Hearty and delicious
- Easy to make
- High in fiber
- Contains a 7 bean variety
If you use low sodium broth and tomatoes, you can eliminate a lot of the sodium, if you are concerned about that. I typically use low sodium versions when a recipe need something from a can or package. To compensate (because I love salt) I sometimes add fresh Celtic sea salt right after cooking time is up.
A note about vegetable stock, tomato paste & gluten
Most vegetable stocks are gluten-free, unlike beef and chicken stock. However, be sure to check the label on your particular brand of stock or bouillon to make sure it is gluten-free. The same goes for tomato paste.
Notes about using dried beans
I prefer to cook my own beans rather than rely on canned ones for this recipe. The main reason being price—it doesn't get any cheaper than dried beans. While you do have to invest some time in soaking the beans overnight, it's worth the effort.
Dried beans also last quite a long time. However, they certainly don't last forever; very old dried beans will never cook properly and you'll end up with a hard indigestible stew.
EDIT: I have read that if you live in a place with hard water, that can also interfere with the beans softening up. As such, a small amount of baking soda will adjust the pH of the water and will help with softening the beans.
As such, be sure to source dried beans in your bulk section that are frequently refreshed. Alternatively, you can buy packaged dried beans, but check the best before date to make sure they're not older than a year.
If you want some great information on the benefits of soaking beans and how to do it, I like to refer to this article.
Using canned beans for this recipe
If you are short on time, or forget to pre-soak the beans, canned will also work for this seven bean stew. If you prefer to used canned beans, be sure to reduce the simmering time to 15-20 minutes max.
You may not be able to find all varieties of canned beans. As such, you can purchase a few varieties you like. Kidney beans, black beans, navy beans and lentils are fairly easy to find at your local grocer.
As well, you will need to triple the measurement of beans. Dried beans typically bulk up 2-3 times their size once soaked. Therefore, use 3 cups of your favourite canned beans for this recipe.
Helpful tips for making the perfect Seven Bean Stew
- Don't boil the beans too much. Boiling can cause them to fall apart.
- Source fresh dried beans - again, dried bean older than a year will take much longer to cook and may never soften up.
- Cook the beans just until tender. Over cooking will also result in the beans turning to mush.
- For gluten sensitivities or intolerance, make sure you use a gluten-free vegetable stock and tomato paste for this recipe.
More comfort food recipes
If you love this vegan seven bean stew, check out some of my other favourite soup and stew recipes below:
Comforting Seven Bean Stew [vegan and gluten-free]
A hearty and comforting meal on any chilly day. This simple seven bean soup is high in fiber, contains plant-based protein and is vegan and gluten-free. This recipe can also be made with canned beans to save on time (see recipe notes on how to substitute).
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 clove garlic diced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 cup dried seven (7) bean mix or a mix of the following dried legumes: green lentils, pinto beans, navy beans, black eyed peas, red lentils, kidney beans and black beans
- 6 cups vegetable Stock
- 1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley chopped
Prepare & Soak the dried beans
Rinse the dried beans (or chosen mixture of dried beans/lentils) and pick them over to remove any pieces of sediment or rocky bits (note: some bean mixtures will note if they have already been picked over).
Add the dried beans to a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by several inches. Allow the beans to soak for at least 12 hours. When you are ready to start making the soup, drain and rinse the beans well. Set aside.
Prepare the Soup
In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium high then add the onion, celery and garlic and cook, stirring regularly until the onion become translucent and golden brown and the vegetables are beginning to soften (about 7-8 minutes).
Add in the drained beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder and vegetable stock. Bring mixture to boil then immediately reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until the beans are fully cooked and fork tender.
Garnish and Serve
Season with salt, pepper and garnish with fresh diced parsley. Serve with a side of toasted bread.
If you prefer to used canned beans and lentils for this recipe, use 3 cups of a mixture of cooked beans/lentils to substitute for 1 cup dried. Add the pre-cooked/canned beans to the soup as per step 4. Reduce the simmering time to 15-20 minutes max, otherwise the beans will break down too much.
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