Making your own dry soup mix from beans and spices couldn't be easier. Layered in a jar, it makes a very pretty gift.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2010


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

10 mins
Nutrition Profile:


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Layer chili powder, cumin, oregano, black beans, barley, kidney beans and great northern beans in a clean, dry 2-cup jar or bag.

  • To turn the soup mix into a pot of soup: Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 diced large onion, 1 diced celery stalk and 1 diced carrot; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 9 cups water, 4 cups broth and the soup mix. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours (adding more water, 1/2 cup at a time, if necessary or desired). Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste.


Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Try the slow-cooker variation for an easy load-and-go meal. Get the recipe: Slow-Cooker Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup.


Reviews (13)

Read More Reviews
13 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 3
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup Mix Delicious and super easy to prepare. I made it on the stove with 9 cups of water and 4 cups of beef broth. Simmered for 2 hours and 15 minutes. Using as gifts this Christmas in 1/2 quart mason jars. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Tried this soup yesterday and it was deelish! Very tasty and loved that I can give it to the busy hostesses during the holidays. Thank you! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Looks wonderful! We're making them for gifts. However the print version says to use only 2 cups of water if you're using a crock-pot. Is that really enough liquid to cook the beans and barley? Read More
Rating: 4 stars
IN ANSWER TO THE? RE: (oops forgot caps were on) enough water in a crock pot the vegies and meat if there is any give off a tremendous amount of water/liquid so 2 cups is more than enough!!! Do NOT add any more or you won't have soup you'll have overcooked and melted ingredients! Long time tried everything and made ALL the mistakes Crock Pot User in Tucson AZ ENJOY! I'll be putting this up for my friends and family what a delightful inexpensive present to give INDEED! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I love this recipe. I've made the soup mix for gifts and have also made the soup. The slow cooker variation is my favorite so easy and convenient. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Used it for my holiday culinary class and everyone loved how easy and inexpensive it was as a hostess gift. Great idea! Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Thank Goodness for this Review Section...... because I could not find a Contact Us (by phone or email) link to ask about the 2 vs. 9 cups of water discrepancy in the reviewer's comments and directions for making soup. I've rated the soup POOR because of how it is written up NOT on taste because I haven't made it. I'm going on FAITH that 2 cups of water is correct and that the veggies will release a lot of water because family and friends will put a contract out on me if 2 cups is incorrect. I'll have to enter the Witness Protection Program for safety until their anger blows over! We hate to make failures! Pros: Was sold on making this gift for Christmas due to the gorgeous photograph! Cons: Proofreader didn't catch the 2 cups vs. 9 cups of water but the readers sure did! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Great gift and nice to have something that wasn't SWEET! This is really a great tasting food just don't tell them that it is actually good for them! And so nice to offer something that did not have sugar in it. I got ALOT of wonderful comments. People really appreciated they had this easy to do recipe ready when everyone was home over the holidays. As a giver and an eater I would HIGHLY recommend this! Pros: VERY easty to put togther as a gift and easy to make Cons: Needs more spice but as that is SO personal it is good it is not added up front Read More
Rating: 2 stars
If only an editor would read these reviews... I'm going to give this as hostess gifts to friends and family this holiday season and I really wish I could give them the proper cooking instructions! I figure the 13 cups of liquid must have a purpose... right? I know the beans are dried so perhaps the reason for so much liquid is because the recipe basically calls for soaking them and cooking them at the same time??? And during the 2-2 1/2 hours of cooking there should be significant evaporation right??? I guess I'll cross my fingers & hope for the best. Wish I had time to try it before the first round of parties this weekend! Pros: looks pretty when assembled! Cons: confusing instructions vs reviews Read More