vegetarian five bean soup mix

Vegetarian Five Bean Soup Mix

I have a treat for you guys this week! Craig and I have worked really hard over the past few days to come up with 10 handmade holiday gift ideas to post here on Back to Her Roots and over on The Broken Plow (our homesteading, DIY and all-things-homeowner-related blog) all this week. We are huge fans of giving handmade gifts and are really excited about sharing some of our best gift projects for this holiday season! Come back here and to the Plow all week-long to see what goodies we have in store.

If you head over to the Plow right now, you’ll find an awesome tutorial from Craig about how to make beautiful rustic wood coasters. They are a super simple gift that make a great stocking stuffer. Good things happen when my husband whips out the power tools.

But over here on BTHR, I’m doing what I do best—food, of course! A hearty, delicious, healthy soup-in-a-jar to be more specific.

These soup-in-a-jar kits not only look absolutely beautiful (pretty beans!) but they are also super healthy, vegetarian and totally delicious. With a little bit of pretty fabric on top, a nice ribbon and a label (which you can download for free at the end of this post)—they package up to be an absolutely adorable holiday gift that I’m sure a lot of folks on your list would be super happy to receive.

There are a lot of things I love about soup mixes like these, but I think my favorite is how quickly they come together and how economical they are. For the cost of five bags of beans and some spices (which you probably already have on hand) you get four jars that I think are really touching, personal gifts.

And being a fan of the healthy lifestyle, this whole food, fiber-packed, vegetarian gift is a nice change of pace from the buckets of candies and chocolates we all get at the holidays. This is a gift that, come January 1, won’t break resolutions.

The key to making these kits more than just beans layered in the jar is an all-in-one spice packet layered at the tippy-top of the jar. Filled with great flavors, the spice packet is added to the soup as it simmers away on the stove, imparting delicious, robust flavor to every single little bean friend in that jar. All you need to make the soup is the jar of mix, a can of diced tomatoes and some water.

The simplicity of the ingredients means that this guy stores well and is a great option for people who are interested in preserving food. Even if you don’t make these as gifts, they are awesome lined up on a pantry shelf. If we happen to get one of the diabolical ice storms that Southern Indiana is known for and power goes out for a week, you better bet I’ll be whipping up a batch of this soup on the gas stove.

Below are my instructions for the base mix for the soup, but feel free to mix it up and play with it however you’d like—it’s totally customizable! Change out the beans, add in new spices or even toss in some other dehydrated veggies (zucchini and peppers would be yum). Have fun!

Vegetarian Five Bean Soup Mix

by Cassie Johnston

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: None

Makes: 4 Jars


  • 1 pound pinto beans
  • 1 pound split green peas (or green lentils)
  • 1 pound great northern beans
  • 1 pound black beans
  • 1 pound kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dehydrated onions (found in the spice aisle)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 4 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 4 clear quart Mason jars plus lids and rings
  • Parchment paper
  • Tape or stickers
  • Labels
  • Fabric and ribbon to cover top


  1. In each of the four Mason jars, layer 2/3 cup of pinto beans—shaking the jar gently to level the beans. Then repeat with 2/3 cup of green peas and so on ending with the kidney beans. Set jars aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all remaining spices except bay leaves and bouillon cubes.
  3. On a 10″ x 10″ piece of parchment paper, spoon 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the middle. Place two bay leaves and one bouillon cube on top. Fold parchment around spices to make a small spice packet. Seal with tape or stickers. Repeat three more times to create four total packets. Squish the packets into the top space of each of the four bean jars. You can also package the spices into plastic zip-top baggies if you prefer.
  4. Place lids on jars, cover in fabric and ribbon and label as desired.
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Of course, I can’t keep my designer hands out of Illustrator and had to make some cute labels for these jars and hand them over to you guys to download and use. The PDF includes two labels—one for the front and one with the soup directions on the back.

To print them, just pick up some full-sheet sticker paper from any office supply store, print and then cut out with a pair of sharp scissors. Tip for cutting round edges with scissors: keep the scissors steady, but move the paper.

What’s your favorite food gift to give during the holidays?



  1. says

    This is so cool! I love homemade gifts like this. I’ve done stuff like this for my co-workers every year (along with designing/printing out labels and such). And i LOVE that you included the label as a download on here!
    I just went and checked out the coasters too (great site over there, btw) and I LOVE THEM. I have to show these to Greg! We need to make them!! :)

    • Darlene says

      In one of the comments, coasters were mentioned but I can’t find that site or instructions. Please direct me.


  2. Amanda Elliott says

    Thanks you so much for this Cassie! I’ve done most of my shopping, but just need a couple of extra things to add to some gifts, and this will be perfect! I think I will double the recipe so I can have a couple for myself!

  3. Becky S. says

    This has come at the perfect time! I was trying to think of an inexpensive gift to give the ladies I work with at my new job and this is exactly the type of thing I was looking for. Thank you!!!

  4. says

    omg this is such a cute idea! I love making homemade gifts. I am considering doing almond butter too, but I know my busy family members will appreciate this one so much more :-) thanks!

  5. Jeanne says

    This worked out so great for me. We needed a gift for a neighbor who just had a heart bypass surgery a month ago, and is diabetic. What to give him? This was perfect. I made up 3 jars and gave him a great soup mug. I loved how you had all I needed in one place: Lists, labels and How-to, plus a photo! Thanks so much!!!

  6. Sandy says

    I think this is a very good gift for my vegetarian daughter and her family! Maybe my next door neighbor will get a jar, too!

  7. Kim L. says

    I am working on putting mine together but the beans didn’t fill the jar up. Did yours fill almost to the top? Would it be alright to add another layer?

  8. Kim says

    I am so excited to make these soup jars with my little girls. They will LOVE to see all the colors and textures. I also think the labels are FAnTasTic! Loved reading your post.

  9. Jennifer says

    Do you think you could make it in a slow cooker? I’m thinking that the people I’d want to give this to would not have time to do the soaking, etc. If they could throw it all in slow cooker in the morning it would be better for them. :)

  10. Shari says

    Thanks SO much for this! I am giving them to everybody. I made up a batch to try out, and it is far and away the best bean soup I have ever had.

  11. says

    What a great recipe, Cassie.Thanks again for your permission to use your beautiful photo and link in my Homemade Gifts-in-a-Jar guest post over at Keeper of the Home! Hope it brings some new friends your way! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you! :) Kelly

  12. says

    Loved the pictures and particularly the labels. I can never make labels like those!

    Also, I can’t identify the charcoal colored circles in that picture of spices. Can you tell me what they are. Hope it is something odd so I won’t feel dumb.

  13. Sharon Quinn says

    Thanks but NOW I do feel stupid. Laughing at myself is a perfect way to end my day. Sleep really well after a good hearty laugh. I thought it was some unusual spice or herb.

  14. Jessica says

    Thank you so much for this. I just made a handful of these yesterday and made a pot of it for our own family for dinner last night. We loved it, even our five year old. It’s his new favorite!

  15. Sara says

    I received one of these delicious jars for Christmas and was so impressed I have since made multiple batches myself. Thanks for putting this out in the universe! One suggestion: Add a thumb-sized piece of kombu to the spice packet to help make the beans more digestible and reduce any, ahem, musical side effects. :)

  16. Tammi says

    This was my gift to everyone this past Christmas & it was a HUGE hit! Thank you for such a healthy, tasty & simple gift idea!

  17. Michelle says

    I want to make these as holiday gifts, so I tested out the recipe yesterday. It’s good! I ended up adding some more garlic, onion, and bouillon to suit my tastes. It came out like a thick bean stew, which was a nice surprise. I was skeptical, since I’m used to canned beans, that dry beans really would cook in just a few hours. The only ones I had some issue with were the black beans, but after the stew had sat for a few more hours most of those were fine too. They filled up my jar nicely with a little room at the top for the spices. Definitely making a bunch of these.

  18. Rainy says

    My jars didn’t fill up so I added some red lentils. I really want to use your labels since they are super cute, but now I have a SIX bean soup. Any hope that you could e-mail me a revised label template?


  19. says

    Thank you for this lovely gift idea. I made a few for some family members. I’m wondering if you’d be able to provide the .PSD of those labels? I’d love to translate the directions for my French speaking family without having to design a label from scratch.

    Thanks again!

  20. Tracie says

    kidney beans contain a toxin called Phytohemagglutinin which can cause severe vomiting if not purged before eating. You need to boil the kidney beans vigorously for at least 10 mins before using the recipe. Advising 1 min is opening yourself to litigation.

    • Cassie says

      Actually, if you look at the recommendations, as long as the beans are boiled for more that 10 minutes at any time during cooking, the toxin is destroyed. If you read the directions written, you’ll see I recommend boiling the soup for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Plenty of time to destroy the toxin. Are you safer if you do a pre-soak and pre-boil? Maybe. But according to research, a simmering pot for over 90 minutes will be plenty of time to kill the toxin.

  21. says

    Hi Cassie! Thanks so much for this awesome soup mix recipe. I am the Director of Children’s Ministry at a church and we used this recipe during our Summer Sunday School Our kids, ages 3-12 love to serve others and especially like assembly line projects. The congregation supplied all of the beans, tomatoes and spices and the kids assembled 68 soup mix/spice bags that will be donated to a family homeless shelter and food pantry. We even put in a meal blessing card and the kids decorated the bags that held all of the supplies. We even have enough left over supplies to make 20 more bags for our church members who are elderly and unable to get to church.

    This was an especially good recipe because the people who will be receiving these bags don’t have access to oil, eggs, and other food items that go bad or can’t be purchased in very small quantities. The shelter and food pantry can keep these on had without worrying about anything going bad.

    Thanks for letting us share the Word of God and blessing our community members who don’t have enough food.! Brenda

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