This creamy bean soup cooks up hands-free in the slow cooker and gets topped with a sprinkling of smoky tempeh bacon.
You have my husband to thank for this one. After living together for five years I thought I'd squeezed every vegan recipe idea possible out of the guy. (I have a regular practice of grilling everyone I know for recipe ideas.) Then one day he comes out with vegan bean with bacon soup. A childhood favorite he tells me. Sounded good to me!
I don't think I've ever actually had bean with bacon soup, but it seemed pretty straightforward. And so this vegan version is pretty basic, but it's definitely one of those super cozy and comforting simple meals. He took one bite and was like "Yup! That's bean with bacon soup all right!"
I decided this would be a good one for the slow cooker, so I went all out, started with some dried beans, and let the soup simmer away all day. I think my lasagna soup from last year pretty much sold me on the slow cooker, so these days I'm constantly looking for reasons to use it. Beany soup that requires a long simmer anyway is perfect slow cooker material, so I threw everything in and let the machine do it's thing.
The bacon part of this soup does not cook in the slow cooker. All the smoky flavor would probably just run right out of it. That's okay though! It sill works, because while the soup cooks away, you can let the tempeh bacon marinate. Once the marinating is done, it cooks up super quick in a skillet, so no big deal right? I think you'll find the result to be delicious and well worth the extra five minute investment. ;)
Slow Cooker White Bean Soup with Tempeh Bacon (Vegan Bean with Bacon Soup!)
For the Soup
- 1 pound dried great northern beans, soaked in water overnight
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Tempeh Bacon
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 8 ounce package tempeh, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Cayenne pepper hot sauce
- Chopped fresh parsley
Make the soup first. Stir all ingredients except salt and pepper together in the slow cooker. Cook on high for about 5 hours, or on low for about 8 hours, or until the beans and veggies are tender. You can add some water during cooking if it becomes too dry. When the soup is finished cooking, season it with salt and pepper to taste.
While the soup cooks, prepare the tempeh bacon. Stir the soy sauce, maple syrup, vinegar, and liquid smoke together in a shallow dish. Add the tempeh cubes and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can leave it sit at room temperature for up to two hours, but place it in the fridge if you let it marinate longer.
To cook the tempeh bacon, coat the bottom of a medium skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tempeh and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping 2 to 3 times to achieve browning on multiple sides.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with tempeh bacon, hot sauce, and parsley. Serve.
For even more smoky flavor, add a few dashes of liquid smoke to the soup while it simmers.