When we combine black eyed peas, white beans and kidney beans in a soup pot with aromatic vegetables, spices and sliced smoked sausage, we get the best 3 bean soup! You can customize this soup with any beans you have leftover or in the pantry, and have it on the table in less than 30 minutes.
When I cook a bean soup (which I do quite often, you might imagine), I always reach for a 'smoked sausage rope' at the store. It's commonly labeled 'kielbasa,' and it's something I grew up eating a lot. Kielbasa is a soft sausage that holds its shape when sliced but has a slightly crisp casing. It's absolutely delicious in this 3 bean soup. I also use it in my 15 bean soup with sausage.
I rely on my standard celery, onion, dried thyme and chicken broth for the rest of the 3 bean soup. Anytime I make my vegetarian jambalaya, I am happy to have the leftover stalks of celery in the fridge for more soup recipes.
You can check out all of my bean soup recipes here, but this recipe is special because it contains 3 different types of beans! The combination of black eyed peas, white beans and light red kidney beans makes this soup hearty.
How to Make 3 Bean Soup
It's hard to imagine making such a flavorful soup in under 30 minutes, but that's because the kielbasa brings so much flavor to the pot! This soup will take a bit longer if you're making my instant pot black eyed peas instead of using a can, however.
For the white beans, you can use canned navy beans or cannellini beans, your choice. While I call for light red kidney beans, you can use dark red kidney beans if you have them. I find the light red kidney beans to have softer skin than the dark red kidney beans, but use what you can find.
- Olive Oil. There's no need to use extra virgin olive oil here, since we'll be cooking the soup for a while. Regular olive oil (or any cooking oil you prefer) is fine!
- Onion. One large white or yellow onion, finely diced, is about 1.5 cups of diced onion.
- Celery. Two stalks of celery thinly sliced, about 1 cup total.
- Dried Thyme Leaves. There's a big different between ground thyme and thyme leaves. This 3 bean soup calls for dried thyme leaves, which is much more mild than the ground version. If you want to use fresh thyme sprigs, use about 5 sprigs.
- Kielbasa Sausage. We need 12-ounces of sausage for this soup. My first choice is kielbasa, either a beef/pork blend or turkey kielbasa. Second, I would choose 2 links of andouille sausage, like I use in my Red Beans and Rice. Finally, if you can't find either of those, ground sausage works just fine here, too! Use whatever you like and can find easily.
- Chicken Broth. We need 5 cups of chicken broth. I recommend a low-salt variety, because we will be adding salt to this recipe. You can taste and add more salt if you think it needs it at the end, too.
- Black Eyed Peas. One 15-ounce can of black eyed peas that have been drained and rinsed. You can also use 1 ¾ cup of frozen black eyed peas. There's no need to thaw if you use frozen ones, just add them to the pot and they will defrost. However, if you're using frozen black eyed peas, be sure to bring the soup to a full boil to cook them throughly.
- White Beans. One 15-ounce can of white beans, both navy or cannellini beans work equally well here.
- Kidney Beans. One 15-ounce can of kidney beans--either light red or dark red, your choice.
First, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the chopped celery and onion. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the onion starts to soften and brown around the edges. Then, stir in the thyme, salt and pepper and sauté for 30 seconds.
Next, add the sliced kielbasa and cook while stirring occasionally until they start to turn golden brown and crisp around the edges. This should take about 5-7 minutes also.
Then, add the rinsed and drained beans and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer to warm though, or bring to a boil if you're using frozen black eyed peas.
Let the 3 bean soup warm through, and then taste and adjust for more salt and pepper, to your liking. Serve with sliced rustic bread and enjoy!
Storage: 3 Bean Soup
If you have leftover 3 bean soup, simply place it in food storage containers, and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat throughly before serving. Just a little note: refrigerate or freeze leftovers quickly--do not let them sit out at room temperature for more than an hour.
To freeze leftover soup, portion out servings into freezer-safe containers, freeze flat, and then stack and freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, place each serving in the fridge overnight, and then heat through on the stove top.
If you like recipes that contain multiple types of beans, try these:
More Favorites from Bean Recipes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces andouille or other smoked sausage, cut into ¼-inch coins
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1 15-ounce can of black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can of light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering hot.
- Add the diced onion and celery, and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat if the onion starts to brown around the edges.
- Sprinkle the thyme, salt and pepper on top of the vegetables, and stir to combine. Cook for 30 seconds to awaken the flavors of the spices.
- Next, add the sausage and cook while stirring occasionally until it starts to turn golden brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- Finally, stir in the chicken broth and beans. Bring to a gentle simmer to warm though. Taste and adjust for more salt or pepper.
Dried Thyme Leaves: Please use the whole dried thyme leaves, not ground thyme, which is much stronger.
Kielbasa Sausage: We need 12-ounces total of sausage for this soup. You can use kielbasa (pork, beef or turkey--your choice), andouille sausage, or even ground sausage.
Chicken Broth: I recommend a low-salt variety, because we will be adding salt to this recipe.
Black Eyed Peas: You can also use 1 ¾ cup of frozen black eyed peas. There's no need to thaw if you use frozen ones, just add them to the pot and they will defrost. If you're using frozen black eyed peas, be sure to bring the soup to a full boil to cook them thoroughly.
White Beans: Any type of canned white bean, like navy or cannellini.
Kidney Beans: Light red or dark red kidney beans, it's your choice.
Storage: If you have leftover 3 bean soup, simply place it in food storage containers, and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze leftover soup, portion out servings into freezer-safe containers, freeze flat, and then stack and freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost, place each serving in the fridge overnight, and then heat through on the stove top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 542Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 2081mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 14gSugar: 8gProtein: 28g