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Hearty & Healthy: Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe

chopped vegetables for the Portuguese bean soup

Los Angeles is in the midst of a cold snap, and even though I know my relatives in the midwest and along the Atlantic coast are throwing things at the computer just reading this, I can’t help it: I’m cold and all I want to eat is soup.

My Mom was a great cook and taught me how when I was a little girl. Since it was the 70’s and we lived on Maui, she did make plenty of cassaroles, but she also made lots of great soups and stews. She hadn’t grown up in Hawaii, but she adapted quickly to the local ways, making use of local ingredients and turning them into our family’s favorites.

And it doesn’t get much better than Portuguese Bean Soup. Good for a crowd, it was served at practically every pot luck I ever attended growing up, and of course at home with just the family as well.

I adapted a recipe she had cooked when I was growing up and made it a little healthier by eliminating the ham hocks, which were no doubt meant for flavor, but added a large amount of fat as well, and who needs any more of that?

Portuguese Bean Soup

I started by adding chopped garlic, red onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes to my soup pot with about a Tablespoon of olive oil, a handful of peppercorns and a bay leaf. I sautéd the mixture until the vegetables started to wilt.

chopped vegetables for the Portuguese bean soup Next I added sliced Portuguese sausage, which gives the dish its signature taste and name, but which does also add fat. (You could substitute a low fat sausage if you like or leave it out entirely.)

portuguese sausage for portuguese bean soupNext I added a 15-ounce can of tomato sauce.

Hunt's tomato sauce canI like to add the tomato sauce at this point and sauté it for a few minutes so that it can get all carmelized and really boost the flavor of the soup.

tomato sauce added to the vegetables in the pot portuguese soupThen comes 3-4 cups of water – or enough to cover the ingredients.

Portuguese Bean Soup in the potI cooked it all for about an hour on medium, at which point I added 32 ounces of (drained) canned kidney beans and cooked it for about another 30 minutes.

drained kidney beans for portuguese bean soupAt the very last minute I added a few handfuls of spinach so they keep their nice green color.

spinach for the green boost portuguese bean soupI like to serve the soup in a shallow bowl so you can see all the delicious ingredients, and with a nice crusty bread alongside, if I can afford the carbs that day.

finished portuguese bean soup served with breadMy family loved the soup, and I know my Mom would have, too.

Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder and CEO of MomsLA, a Community of the Top Mom Bloggers in Los Angeles. And she is currently very chilly.


Sarah Auerswald (583 Posts)

Sarah Auerswald is the CEO and Co-Founder of MomsLA. She writes about life in LA while raising her 2 sons and is the founder of MarVistaMom.com. She was an English Major at Brown University, and yet nowadays feels free to ignore grammar rules anytime she wants. Like Now. She's married, uses a Mac, and grew up in Hawaii.

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