Natural Meals in Minutes: Fast, Easy and Cheap Bean Soups in Only 3 Minutes!

by Rita Bingham

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Nutritious, full-of-fiber soups from freshly ground bean, pea and lentil flours can be served as a snack or side dish. Or, add veggies and pasta and prepare a hearty, complete protein soup in 15 minutes!

Recent reports on radio, television and in newspapers and magazines across the country show that we as a nation are consuming too many refined foods, too much fat, too much meat, too little fiber, too few fruits and vegetables and too few grains. In addition, we should eliminate hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats. Hmmm, that eliminates most of the products in the grocery store, except for the fresh produce department and the grains and beans aisle. It also seems to eliminate anything that's FAST and everything that TASTES GOOD!

Not so! There are many great-tasting, easy and quick-to-prepare natural foods to fill the gaps left when we eliminate the not-so-good-for-you foods. If feeling well and being healthy is important in this life, we can and must learn to take better care of our bodies. And, we can even enjoy the process.

As the weather turns cool, our tastes naturally turn to cozy, steaming bowls of creamy, thick soup, brimming with flavor and oh so filling. But if we can't use any of the popular canned or dry packaged soup mixes, what can we use that will be fast, full of fiber, and--oh yes--TASTE GOOD?

For starters, try soups made from bean, pea and lentil flours. These stone-ground flours can be ground at home using a grain mill, or ordered from Bob's Red Mill, 5209 International Way, Milwaukie, OR. 97222 (503) 654-3215. Call for a catalog or a dealer near you.

Soy and garbanzo bean flours have been around for a long time and have traditionally been added to breads and other baked goods. However, the concept of using white bean, red lentil, green lentil, green pea and yellow pea flours for three-minute soups is new, exciting, and so easy. Once you start using beans this way, you'll be spoiled forever! These soups can be made in the microwave or on the stovetop. They're perfect for snacks or lunches, and if you add fresh or frozen veggies, pasta or pre-cooked grains, you can make a thick, delicious, bubbling soup or stew in only 15 minutes...just the ticket for busy cooks everywhere.

Just think, no more soaking, boiling, mashing and blending those beans to make thick, creamy, rich-tasting soups, as well as fat-free sauces and gravies.

To grind your own beans at home, see "Grinding Tips" at the end of this article.

Creamy Pea Soup
Vegetarian, Fat-Free
Cooks in only three minutes!

  • 2 c. warm water
  • 4 T. green pea flour
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. sea salt

In a six-cup microwave container, stir ingredients well, then cook 1 minute on high, or until mixture comes to a boil. Stir well. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Add pepper to taste, if desired.

Or, In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring dry ingredients and water to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If desired, add up to two cups of cubed or coarsely grated potatoes (cook them first), celery, onions or pasta. To use raw veggies or pasta, cook veggies and/or pasta in the water until barely tender, about 5 minutes. Stir dry ingredients into 1/2 c. warm water, then into hot soup mixture. Cook and stir until thick, then reduce heat and cook 2 minutes.

Red Lentil Stew
Vegetarian, Fat-Free

  • 3 c. warm water
  • 4 T. red lentil flour
  • 1/2 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. basil flakes
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • 1/8 t. black pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 c. ea. very finely diced potatoes. carrots, celery, onions
  • 1 c. canned white beans with liquid

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring soup powder and water to a boil while stirring. Add remaining ingredients and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5-10 minutes, or until veggies are barely tender. Stir occasionally.

White Bean Soup
Vegetarian, Fat-Free
Makes a GREAT Gravy!!

  • 3 c. warm water
  • 1/2 c. white bean flour
  • scant 3/4 t. onion powder
  • 1/2 t. parsley flakes
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • 1/16 t. white pepper
  • 1/2-3/4 t. sea salt

Microwave: Stir dry ingredients into warm water. In an eight-cup microwave container, cook 1 minute on high, or until mixture comes to a boil. Stir well. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Add 1 c. milk or milk substitute and heat through. For Creamy Chicken Soup, use defatted chicken broth in place of water. For a creamier soup, blend on high for 30 seconds.

Stovetop: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring soup powder and water to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If desired, add up to 2 c. cubed or coarsely grated carrots, potatoes, celery and/or onions with an additional 1/2 c. water and cook soup for 5-8 minutes, or until veggies are barely tender.

Grinding Tips

I like to use a K-Tec Kitchen Mill to grind my beans, since it is the only mill guaranteed (in writing) to grind all types of beans.

Sort beans, checking for dirty beans or rock pieces. Place mill in kitchen sink and fill hopper with beans. Cover with kitchen towels (to reduce "bean dust"), leaving a hole to stir beans as they go into the milling chamber. Small seeds like peas and lentils will not need to be stirred. Large beans like lima will need to be cracked in a blender or food grinder before grinding to a flour. Clean sponge filter after each hopper of beans.

Store flours in ziploc-type plastic bags or other containers and refrigerate or freeze if possible. Flours last about six months at room temperature; after that, they start to develop a bitter aftertaste.

Beans that have been stored too long (more than five years) will taste bitter whether they have been cooked whole or ground to a flour.

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