I've been on a major soup kick lately. It's been cooler and rainy in LA a few times this month, so I stayed home and tried some new recipes. I recently made this Italian sausage and tortellini soup recipe and my whole family loved it. So I thought I'd try a vegan recipe this time. I've never tried 15 bean soup before, so I thought I'd give it a try. Instead of making mine with pork, like a lot of the recipes called for, I decided to make mine a vegan 15 bean soup recipe. 15 Bean Soup with Ham Hock and\/or Bacon I searched a lot of different recipes and decided I'd make mine vegan. A lot of the recipes I found included ham hocks and\/or bacon. I can see why the pork flavor would be great for this recipe. So, if you do love pork, you can actually cook the beans with a ham hock to impart that flavor as they are softening. If you like bacon, you can also add bacon during the early stages of the recipe. Before you soften and brown the onions, you can actually first add bacon and cook that until it starts to brown up. Use the bacon fat in the pan to then cook the onions and garlic. If you do want to make 15 bean soup with ham hock, you can use water instead of chicken broth and cook the hock along with the beans. You won't need the saltiness from the chicken broth, that is why you'd use water instead. What Beans are in 15 Bean Soup? According to Hurst's HamBeens, which is the brand I used for my recipe, these beans are included: northern, pinto, large lima, yelloweye, garbanzo, baby lima, green split, kidney, cranberry, small white, pink, small red, yellow split, lentil, navy, white kidney, black bean. I think 15 bean soup is a unique and fun way to add extra varieties of beans and lentils you've never even tried before. Plus, it is a really healthy recipe, especially if you keep it vegan like I did. What to Serve with the Soup There are a lot of different options for serving your soup. Some recipes I've seen suggested topping the soup with grated parmesan. Of course, that is only if you aren't keeping it a vegan recipe. I chose to top my soup with finely chopped parsley and served it with fresh ciabatta bread. Another great option would be to serve this with cornbread. If you're looking for a great cornbread recipe that pairs so well with chili, you need to try my honey sage cornbread. Once my bread was gone, I also served my soup with saltine crackers. To round out the meal, you could also add a side salad. Vegan 15 Bean Soup Recipe Ingredients: 1 pound 15 bean soup mix 1 large yellow onion diced 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon) 6 cups low sodium vegetable broth 1 bay leaf 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 1 teaspoon ground chili powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1\/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves \u00bc teaspoon black pepper Directions: Cover beans with cool water by at least 1 inch and soak overnight. When you begin making the soup, drain the water and rinse the beans. In a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until it begins to soften and the flavors come out of the garlic - about 3 minutes. Add the beans, bay leaf, and liquid. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat to medium-low. Place a lid on the pot, leaving it slightly ajar. Let the soup simmer, stirring it occasionally, until the beans are tender and begin to break down - about an hour to an hour and a half. Stir in the tomatoes, paprika, chili powder, cumin, thyme, and black pepper. Simmer the soup, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. If the soup becomes thicker than you would like, add water to reach your desired consistency. Remove the bay leaf. Taste the soup and add more spices, as desired. I added additional chili powder to mine to make it taste more chili-like. Serve hot with parsley and fresh bread. The 15 bean soup will keep for several days in the refrigerator. I froze a batch, and it reheats well!