There are some who believe that eating beans on New Year’s Day can bring you good fortune for the year ahead.  Beans are said to represent coins. I can’t promise you will win the lottery this year, but I do know that this soup is really good for you and it tastes really good!

I had a leftover ham bone from Christmas Eve dinner and used that, but you don’t need a ham bone to make this. You don’t even have to add any ham, but if you want that flavor, you can use a few slices of bacon or cube up some thickly sliced pieces of ham from the deli counter.

I used dried beans in this recipe, but skip that step if you’d like and use a combination of your favorite canned beans. Just rinse and drain them really well before adding them to the soup.

16 Bean and Kale Soup

Preparing the dried beans:
1 16 oz. package dried 16 Bean mix, rinsed and sorted
8 C. water
The Soup:
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig sage leaves
4 sprigs thyme leaves
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ham bone
8 C. water
salt and pepper to taste
several large stalks of fresh kale, deveined and chopped
a few sprigs fresh parsley, chopped
In a large pot, combine the beans and the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, then shut the heat off and allow to sit for one hour.
Meanwhile, in another large pot, sauté the onion, celery, carrot and the herbs (tie the herbs in a bundle with some twine). After a few minutes, when the onions are softened, add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two. Add the ham bone and cook a few minutes longer.
Add the water and some salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for one hour or more.
Once the beans have sat and have softened, drain and rinse them very well in a sieve under cold water and allow them to sit.
Remove the ham bone from the pot and the herb bundle and discard. Add the beans and kale into the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and add more salt and pepper, if it needs it. Then add the parsley and top with some freshly grated Parmesan for serving.


  • When preparing the beans to soften, do not use any salt at all. Salt will make the skins of the beans very tough and unpalatable.
  • If you are not a fan of kale, you can use spinach in its place.
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