Senate Bean Soup – vegan

Vegan U.S. Senate Bean Soup

As most people would probably agree, Autumn is definitely soup season. This is a traditional American soup that I’ve adapted slightly from a vegan version HERE, which I found when searching for recipes for haricot beans (navy beans) as I have a large 3kg bag to use up and there are only so many homemade baked beans one can endure!

First as to the beans; I’ve found that dried haricot beans are not quite as easy to come by in the UK as some other types of bean, but if like me you like to bulk buy your wholefoods, you can get a decent value 3kg bag of dried organic haricots at EcoGreenStore who I’ve started shopping with lately (no affiliation.) Alternatively, I’ve found that Ocado often comes up trumps for wholefoods (as well as specialist vegan items) and you can get a less threatening quantity of non-organic dried haricots THERE for a good price also.

So, onto the soup! As said this is a traditional US soup, which is apparently served every day in the US Senate canteen where it has been on the menu since the early 20thC. You can read more about it here at Wiki, where you may also see a somewhat unappetising photo of it! Gladly it tastes jolly good and I guess that’s why it’s become such a longstanding tradition. The original includes ham, which would provide a salty smokey flavour. I’ve subbed smoked paprika as unlike ‘liquid smoke’ beloved of US vegan bloggers, smoked paprika is readily available in UK supermarkets.

Senate Bean Soup – vegan


  • 1 lb / 500g potatoes, peeled and diced 
  • 1 – 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 250g dried haricot beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender OR 2 x 400g cans of haricot beans, drained
  • 1 pint / 500ml of light vegetable stock (I used vegetable bouillon) 
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 x bay leaf
  • 1 – 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 x 250ml carton Oatly oat cream (or preferred dairy-free cream)
  • good handful of parsley, finely chopped


  1. Add the diced potatoes to a pan of boiling water and simmer until tender (about twenty minutes.) Once cooked, drain the potatoes and return them to their pan. Set to one side.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in another large saucepan. Add the onion, celery and garlic, and gently saute until tender.
  3. Add the cooked beans, stock, bay leaf, pepper and smoked paprika. Bring to the boil and simmer the soup for about twenty minutes to allow the flavourings to infuse.
  4. Place three or four ladles full of the soup broth into the pan containing the cooked potatoes. Mash the potatoes and broth together well. Add the potato puree into the pan of beans and stir through (this will make the soup very thick.)
  5. Add the cream and parsley to the soup. If necessary, add just a little extra water until you reach your preferred consistency and then gently reheat (don’t allow to boil.) Serve.

10 thoughts on “Senate Bean Soup – vegan

  1. Love this recipe! Whole Foods in Camden sells liquid smoke btw. I’m not a big WF shopper but now and again. Nearly fainted when I saw it.

    • I’d like to try the stuff to see what it’s like, I’m sure it’d be useful. I’m quite a fan of other smoked things, like smoked Cauldron tofu, and smoked Maldon sea salt, and before I started cutting down on dairy, smoked Applewood cheese..

    • It’s a really warming soup, hearty and spicy. Just right for combatting the rain and clouds. Thanks for pinning 🙂

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