By Cassie Johnston
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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 Wholefully 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 Wholefully, 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!
This Vegetarian Five Bean Soup Mix makes for a great holiday gift.
Keywords: soups, beans, gifts
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.
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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!! :)
In one of the comments, coasters were mentioned but I can’t find that site or instructions. Please direct me.
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!
Perfect gift for office folks and extended family. Thank you!
I am loving the handmade holiday ideas. The soup mix is beautiful (and functional), and the labels are a nice touch. Thank you for this!
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!!!
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!
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!!!
Hi hun. Just wanted to let you know that I featured this on my blog today. I would love it if you could go and check it out :)
– Adele @ Mammy Made
Great idea!! Thanks so much for sharing–
Looks great! I’m wondering – how many servings in a jar? Thanks!
Hmmm, I’d say maybe 6-8 depending on how big eaters you have on hand! :)
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!
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?
Mine did fill up to the top. And yes, you’ll be fine adding in more beans! :)
Yea mine only filled 3/4 of the way! I think I will do a layer of lentils and a layer of rice… or beans, can’t decide.
Great idea! How long would the shelf life be on this beauty?
I’d say as long as you’d expect dried beans to last. 12-24 months, maybe?
Are the bay leaves fresh? Will they last that long?
Oops, nevermind! I can see them in the spices picture!
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.
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. :)
I don’t see why not. I’ve never done it, but it should work!
I have made it in crock pot. Never soak beans, because my grandmother never soaked them. Turn out just perfect.
Regarding the slow cooker, would you just say put all ingredients in at once and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or until beans are tender?
Yup, that would work! Although, I would caution against using the kidney beans if you plan to use the slow cooker: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/be-careful-with-red-kidney-beans-in-the-slow-cooker.aspx
If I wanted to use less beans so I could make smaller jars, should I change the amount for tomatoes or spices?
Yes, if you want to use pint jars, just half the spices and tomatoes.
Any directions for making the soup…
How much water for soaking?
How long of a pre-soak?
How much water for cooking?
How large a can of tomatoes?
Hi Mary, the directions are located on the label file. Thanks!
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.
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
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.
They’re circle sticky labels to keep the spice packets closed. I got them from here: http://www.paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/color/2-1-2-inch-Round-Labels/3907.040/841.html
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.
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!
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. :)
This was my gift to everyone this past Christmas & it was a HUGE hit! Thank you for such a healthy, tasty & simple gift idea!
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.
How many servings would you say are in each jar?
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?
Anyone know what size the bouillon cubes are since there are some different sizes? Are they the large or small ones?
The bouillon cubes are small. With six cups of water, you really need six cubes. I made this soup tonight for dinner, and it was great…not much tast with only 1 or 2 cubes.
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.
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.
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.
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
Thank you so much for this post. My husband needed a service project idea for a youth group so I suggested the group make soup in a jar and take it to the widows at church. He liked the idea. I liked it so much I bought enough supplies for his group and for all my kids’ teachers for Thanksgiving gifts. Thank you for providing adorable labels to print!!!
I loved the vegetarian soup recipe. I gave this to a number of my family and friends for Christmas and everyone loved it and now they want the recipe. I hope you come up with another recipe for the mason jars because this is one of my favorite Christmas giving gifts. Last year I made the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix and recipe in the quart mason jar which was definitely a hit. Thanks for making it a special gift for everyone.
Any idea on cost per jar? or Cost per recipe?
What size are the bullion cubes? The only ones I can find are the Knorr brand and they each require 2 cups water instead of the regular small 1 cup size.
What size jar are you using? How many ounces?
Do I need to sanitize the jars?
For some reason, I’m only able to measure out 3 servings of the 3TBS of the spice mixture for the packets. It’s probably an error on my part, but did this happen to anyone else? Thanks! :)
Yes this happened to me too! I cant figure out what I did wrong. I was wondering if there is a mistake with the recipe (maybe only 3 tsp?!?!)
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical making this but wow was it delicious! Served it with fresh homemade buns and we had one solid meal. My family (including my 2 year old) and friends really enjoyed this! So good and filling.
So glad to hear you enjoyed it!
What size jars did you use?
These are wide-mouth quart jars. :)
I gave this as gifts for Christmas and just got to try it with my mom. So so yummy!!! I will be doing this again! They look so pretty in the jar. We did nine bean and adjusted the amoints accordingly to fit in the quart jar. Thank you for the great recipe! The spices are just right!!
Was just wondering what the shelf life would be?
Probably 12-24 months? However long you’d expect the beans themselves to last!
What size are the fabric pieces? Any idea on where to get some pre-made ones?
For regular mouth jars, I’d say at least 3 1/2″ square, maybe more depending on how much overhang you want. For wide mouth, at least 4 1/2″.
How would you make this in instant pot?
I haven’t done it in my IP yet, but this should work: empty the entire jar contents into the IP, add in one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and 6 cups of water. Cook on manual high pressure for about 30 minutes, with a natural release afterward.
Depending on the age of your beans, you might need to add 5-10 minute of cooking time (older beans take a lot longer to cook). Let me know if you try it!
Love this! I’m going to make these as a teacher gift. Can you let me know what size mason jars you used? thanks!
I’m a little confused about the measurements. The ingredients list says 1 pound of each bean makes 4 jars. That amounts to 1/4 cup (4oz). But in your instructions, you say 2/3 cup for each. That would be about 21 oz rather than 16. Not trying to be nitpicky but planning a large group project and need to get the right amounts. Thank you!
Thank you so much for this great idea and the cute labels
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