Delicious Calico Bean Soup With Earthy Goodness

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Indulge in the rustic flavors of Tuscany with our Calico Bean Soup, a hearty blend of plump beans, succulent meats, and garden-fresh vegetables simmered to perfection in a savory broth. Each spoonful is a testament to the simplicity and richness of Italian peasant cuisine, capturing the essence of comfort food in every bite. Garnished with a sprinkle of Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, this soul-soothing soup is a tribute to the timeless culinary traditions of Italy.

In the realm of comfort foods, Calico Bean Soup plays a starring role, effortlessly combining a symphony of nutritious beans with a heartwarming broth. Let yourself be captivated by its vibrant hues, each spoonful revealing a rainbow of textures and flavors that dance harmoniously on your palate. 

Calico Bean Soup

Nourishing your body while soothing your soul, this humble yet exquisite dish evokes a sense of home, of cozy evenings spent with loved ones.

Each ingredient, from the robust kidney beans to the subtly sweet Great Northern beans, is a testament to the soup’s diverse yet harmonious character. 

This culinary gem goes beyond mere sustenance – it invites you into deep culinary satisfaction. Join us as we delve into the stories behind the making of this timeless classic, unveiling secrets that make every spoonful of Calico Bean Soup a celebration of taste.

What Is Calico Bean Soup?

Calico Bean Soup is a heartening dish, a beautiful medley of various types of beans, including kidney beans, Great Northern beans, pinto beans, and more.

It’s a vibrant celebration of textures and tastes. It is bathed in a rich broth and often enhanced with flavorful ingredients like onion, garlic, and spices. 

The multicolored assortment of beans—reminiscent of the patchwork design of a calico cat’s coat—gives this soup its unique name. Nutritious, hearty, and soul-warming, Calico Bean Soup embodies the very essence of comfort food.

Calico Bean Soup

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

Calico Bean Soup is versatile and can be easily modified to suit various dietary needs:

  • Keto: Low-carb beans like black soybeans can lower the carb count. Add more fatty meats like bacon or sausage for higher fat content.
  • Paleo: Avoid legumes that are not Paleo-friendly, and add more root vegetables like sweet potatoes or turnips. Use bone broth for added nutrition.
  • Gluten-Free: The basic Calico Bean Soup recipe is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure any added stock or broths are certified gluten-free.
  • Whole30: Replace the beans with more Whole30-compliant ingredients such as diced sweet potatoes or other veggies. Use a Whole30-compliant broth, and ensure any meat used is free from added sugars or non-compliant additives.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: Omit any meats and use a rich vegetable stock. Blend some of the beans and vegetables for a creamier texture before returning them to the pot. Add more vegetables like carrots, celery, and tomatoes for enhanced flavor.
Ingredients tips

Recipe Directions

  • Combine split peas, beans, onion, bouillon, cumin, and garlic powder to make Bean Soup Mix. Store in an airtight container.
  • Boil Bean Soup Mix and water in a large pot. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 1 hour.
  • Return to heat, add carrots, celery, and ham hocks. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, skimming fat.
  • Remove ham hocks, chop the meat, and return to soup. Heat through and serve.
Recipe direction

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

  • Variations: Swap in black beans or chickpeas for a twist on the classic bean mix. Add a dash of cayenne pepper or diced jalapeños for a spicier version.
  • Add-Ons: Toss in chunks of smoked sausage or cooked ground turkey for added protein. Vegetarian? Opt for tofu or mushrooms for a meaty texture.
  • More Vegetables: Enhance the vegetable content by adding diced tomatoes, spinach, or corn for additional nutrients and flavor.
  • Toppings: Consider a shredded cheddar sprinkle or a sour cream dollop for a creamy touch. A handful of crispy croutons can add a pleasing crunch.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh herbs like chopped parsley, cilantro, or chives to add brightness and elevate the soup’s aesthetic appeal.
  • Citrus Zest: A squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice or a bit of their zest can give the soup a vibrant, tangy finish.

Can I Make Calico Bean Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Calico Bean Soup lends itself well to slow cooker and Instant Pot methods. Here’s a brief guide on how to do it:

Slow Cooker Method

  • Combine the Bean Soup Mix, water, carrots, celery, and ham hocks in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours until the beans are tender and the flavors are well blended.
  • Remove the ham hocks, separate the meat from the bones, chop it, and return it to the soup. Stir well and let it heat through before serving.

Instant Pot Method

  • Add the Bean Soup Mix, water, carrots, celery, and ham hocks to the Instant Pot.
  • Secure the lid and set the vent to the sealing position.
  • Select the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” setting and adjust the cooking time to 45 minutes.
  • When the cooking time ends, let the pressure release naturally for 15-20 minutes, then quick-release any remaining pressure.
  • Carefully remove the ham hocks, separate the meat from the bones, chop it, and return it to the soup. Stir well and let it heat through before serving.
Calico Bean Soup

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

Either option can work well, depending on your preference and available time.

Store-Bought Broth

  • This is a convenient option, especially when you’re short on time. Always aim to choose a high-quality, low-sodium variety to control the amount of salt in your soup. 
  • If you’re following a specific diet (like gluten-free or vegan), ensure the broth you choose meets those requirements.

Homemade Broth

  • If you have the time and ingredients, homemade broth can provide a depth of flavor that store-bought versions might lack. 
  • You can customize it to your taste and know exactly what’s in it, which is beneficial if you manage dietary restrictions or allergies. 
  • It can be more cost-effective, especially if you make it from scraps and leftovers.
Calico Bean Soup

How To Serve ?

The beauty of Calico Bean Soup lies in its versatility. Here are some suggestions to serve it in the best way:

  • Bread Pairing: Serve the soup with a side of crusty bread, like a baguette or sourdough, to soak up the flavorful broth.
  • Top It Up: Garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro for added freshness. A sprinkle of shredded cheese or a dollop of sour cream can add creaminess and depth of flavor.
  • Accompanying Salad: A light, crisp salad can balance the hearty nature of the soup. Consider a simple greens salad with a tangy vinaigrette.
  • Protein Addition: Consider serving with a grilled chicken or a hard-boiled egg for added protein.
  • Serve in Bowls: Calico Bean Soup is best served hot in deep bowls to retain heat and allow easy spoonfuls of hearty ingredients.
  • Meal Prep: The soup can also be part of a meal prep plan. It stores well in the refrigerator and can be reheated for quick, nourishing meals throughout the week.
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Perfect Side Dishes

  • Crusty Bread: A loaf of warm, crusty bread like a baguette or sourdough pairs beautifully with the soup, perfect for dipping and soaking up the savory broth.
  • Green Salad: A crisp, light salad with a tangy vinaigrette is a refreshing counterpoint to the hearty soup. A simple greens salad or even a Greek salad would be lovely.
  • Grilled Vegetables: Grilled veggies like zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant can add a smoky dimension to your meal, complementing the earthy flavors of the soup.
  • Roasted Potatoes: For a hearty, comforting meal, serve the soup with roasted potatoes. Their crispy exterior and fluffy inside will be a delightful contrast to the soup.
  • Cornbread: A slice of warm, buttery cornbread could also be a fantastic accompaniment, adding a slight sweetness to contrast the savory soup.
  • Cheese and Crackers: A simple cheese board with various cheeses and crackers can add an elegant touch, allowing for different flavor combinations with each bite.
Calico Bean Soup

Storage And Make Ahead

  • Refrigeration: Store cooked Calcio Bean Soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure the soup is completely cooled before storing.
  • Freezing: To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the soup ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before reheating. This makes it a great option for meal prepping or planning ahead for busy days.
  • Reheating: To reheat, simply transfer the soup to a saucepan and heat gently over medium-low heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, you can microwave individual portions until heated to your liking.
Calico Bean Soup

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

Leftover Calico Bean Soup can be creatively repurposed in several delicious ways:

  • Soup Reheat: The easiest way is simply reheating the soup and enjoying it as is. The flavors often deepen overnight, making the next day’s soup even more flavorful.
  • Stew Transformation: Add some cubed, cooked meat or roasted vegetables to transform the soup into a hearty stew.
  • Bean Dip: Blend the soup to a puree and serve it as a dip for veggies or tortilla chips.
  • Bean Burritos: Use the soup as a filling for burritos. Add cheese, rice, salsa, and sour cream for a complete meal.
  • Pasta Sauce: Simmer the soup until thickened and use it as a pasta sauce.
  • Baked Eggs: Use the soup as a base, make little wells, crack eggs, and bake until the eggs are set.


  • Soak for Flavor: Before cooking, soak the Calcio beans overnight in water. This not only reduces cooking time but also enhances their flavor and texture.
  • Sauté Aromatics: Start by sautéing onions, garlic, and celery in olive oil until they’re soft and fragrant. This forms a flavorful base for your soup.
  • Add Tomatoes: Stir in diced tomatoes for a rich, tangy flavor. You can use fresh tomatoes or canned ones, depending on what’s available.
  • Use Fresh Herbs: Add a bouquet garni of fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves tied together with kitchen twine. This infuses the soup with aromatic flavors.
  • Simmer Slowly: Cook the soup on low heat to allow the flavors to meld together. This also helps the beans to become tender and creamy.
  • Finish with Fresh Greens: Stir in chopped kale or spinach at the end of cooking for added color, flavor, and nutrients.
Delicious Calico Bean Soup With Earthy Goodness

Delicious Calico Bean Soup With Earthy Goodness

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Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time





Calico Bean Soup is a warm, comforting dish with colorful beans and vibrant flavors. This hearty soup highlights the earthy goodness of green and yellow split peas, limas, pinto beans, kidney beans.


  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Yellow Split Peas

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Green Split Peas

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Dried Lima Beans

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Dried Pinto Beans

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Dry Kidney Beans

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Dry Great Northern Beans

  • 1/4 Cup 1/4 Dried Minced Onion

  • 2 Teaspoons 2 Chicken Bouillon Granules

  • 1/4 Teaspoons 1/4 Ground Cumin

  • 1/4 Teaspoons 1/4 Garlic Powder

  • 8 Cups 8 Water

  • 2 2 Carrots, Chopped

  • 2 Stalks 2 Celery, Chopped

  • 2 POounds 2 Smoked Ham Hocks

Step-By-Step Directions

  • To create the Bean Soup Mix, combine yellow and green split peas, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, great Northern beans, onion, bouillon granules, cumin, and garlic powder in a large bowl.
  • Store this mix in an airtight container to maintain freshness until ready to use.
  • When ready to make the soup, pour the Bean Soup Mix into a large pot.
  • Add water to the pot and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
  • Once boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover it with a lid, and let it sit for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, return the pot to the heat.
  • Stir in chopped carrots and celery into the soup mixture.
  • Add the ham hocks to the pot, and stir to combine.
  • Bring the soup to a boil again, then reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover the pot and let it simmer for 2 hours, skimming any fat that rises to the top.
  • After 2 hours, the beans should be tender. At this point, remove the ham hocks from the soup.
  • Separate the meat from the bones, chop it into small pieces, and return it to the soup.
  • Stir the soup to distribute the ham evenly. Allow it to heat through for a few more minutes.
  • Your Calico Bean Soup is now ready to serve. Enjoy it as is, or consider adding a sprinkle of fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Large Pot/Dutch Oven
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Ladle
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Strainer


  • Feel free to customize the bean mix according to your preferences or what you have on hand.
  • Using a slow cooker or Instant Pot can make the process more hands-off.
  • This soup is excellent for meal prep, as the flavors develop beautifully.
  • Accompany with crusty bread, a light salad, or serve as is for a delicious, well-rounded meal.
  • Always adjust seasonings to taste before serving, as beans can absorb a lot of salt.
  • If following a specific diet, variations can be made to accommodate Keto, Paleo, Whole30, and vegan/vegetarian needs.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table 

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You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

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