three bean soup with fresh basil and watercress

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I’m not a massive fan of beans even though I know they are super healthy, low in Gi and high in protein. I really want to love them, but there is something about the texture that doest always fly with me. However when added to a soup, they make it heart-warmingly comforting, thick and nourishing.

I also quite like beans in a salad. I like the contrast between the softness of the bean and the crunch of the raw components. So the inspiration behind this soup comes from the traditional South African ‘three bean salad’.   Its hearty but I have tried to keep it fresh through a shortish cooking time and with the addition of fresh basil and watercress at the end.

What you need to make this:

  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk finely chopped
  • 1 x 400gm tin of chopped peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 150gms of fine green beans cut in smallish pieces (about 4 – 5 pieces per bean)
  • 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • 1 tin of butter beans
  • 750ml of veg stock (2 Tbs of Nomu Vegetable Fond)
  • 2 Tbs of finely chopped fresh basil
  • small pile of fresh watercress per person to serve on the top

How to make this:

  • heat the olive oil in a heavy based pot and fry the onions and celery until soft (about 8 minutes)
  • add the tin of tomatoes and heat
  • drain and rinse the tins of beans and add to the pot with the green beans
  • cover with the stock and cook for 20 minutes
  • stir in the fresh basil and adjust seasoning if necessary

Serve this soup in a bowl with a pile of fresh watercress on top. This adds a delicious peppery flavour and a fresh textural contrast.

It also goes well with the standard soup accompaniment of crusty bread with lashings of butter, which in the end undoes some of goodness of soup, making it a top contributor to the ‘muffin top’ layer which tends to develop over winter.


  1. YUM, this looks amazing Sam I almost licked the screen – love the pics.

  2. I am hoping to make soups this weekend to stock my freezer and I think this would be a welome addition – looks lovely! Think it will freeze ok?

  3. HI Lori, I think the bean soup will freeze very well! 🙂

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