My Mother’s Comforting Bean Soup

This tasty bean soup is just what you’ve been craving as the late fall temperatures begin to drop.

Recipe and photo excerpted (with permission) from Happy Food by Bettina Campolucci Bordi, published by Hardie Grant Books, July 2018.

This soup is something Bettina Campolucci Bordi, who just released her cookbook Happy Foodremembers enjoying when she was growing up. “My grandmother was an amazing cook and passed on her skills to my mother, who in turn would make this particular soup during a Bulgarian holiday called Badni Vecher,” she says. “It is a pre-Christmas tradition that has stuck with me ever since.” Rich in veggies and plant-based protein, this vegan soup is a great way to warm up after a chilly run.

Comforting Bean Soup Recipe

Serves 2


  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato purée (paste) or 3 Tbsp chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 14 oz. butter beans (lima beans), store-bought or cooked
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ Tbsp chopped parsley
  • ½ Tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 2 cups water
  • Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste

To Serve:

  • Good-quality home-made or store-bought bread, optional
  • A handful of arugula, optional


In a medium pan, heat some olive oil and fry the onion, pepper and carrot until nice and soft. Next, add in the tomato purée or tomatoes, coconut sugar, beans and all the spices and herbs, and give it a good stir. Add the water and gently simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Ladle out one helping of the bean soup into a bowl and mash the beans until you get a fine paste. Return the bean paste back into the pan—this will thicken it up and make it nice and creamy—and warm through, stirring. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with arugula and enjoy with some lovely bread on the side.

Tip: Great staple soup to make a big batch and enjoy over a few days. I think it tastes even better the next day, once the ingredients have had a chance to marry.