Carrot, Cumin & Kidney Bean Soup

This recipe came about after seeing the tins of soup in the supermarket and thinking, ‘I can do better than that.’ So rather than stocking up on thin tomato soup (with suspiciously few tomatoes) I thought I’d treat myself to some cheap, versatile, protein-packed spicy goodness instead. The quantities here make four generous portions.

Serves 4:

1 onion
2 tbsp oil
1 heaped tbsp cumin, seeds or ground
300g carrots
1 stock cube, dissolved in 500ml boiling water
1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans

Peel and chop the onion and pop into a medium sized saucepan with the oil and cumin. Wash and chop the carrots and add to the pan. Cook on a low heat for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften.

Pour the stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer for 20 minutes or so until the carrots are tender.

Drain and rinse the kidney beans well, add to the pan and heat through. Tip everything into the blender and pulse until smooth.

Tips: Add a few tablespoons of natural yoghurt after blending for a creamy taste.

You can add a handful of cooked red lentils to the leftover blended soup to make a thick, spicy pasta sauce. Alternatively, to make a thicker soup, add rinsed lentils along with the chopped carrots and cook in the stock.

Pretty much the same ingredients are used for the carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers, so why not buy in bulk and make them both in the same week, or even at the same time!

Carrot, cumin and kidney bean soup recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe. Available to order from The Hive, supporting your local independent book shops. Also available to buy at most major bookshops and supermarkets.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:



  1. iv been looking at were you buy stuff to make this and there is no way you can say this as a tin of 400g can of red kidney beans, 18p (18p per can) this is what you say yet iv checked online at the price which is blow
    Sainsbury’s Red Kidney Beans In Water, Basics 400g

    so stop making this up and stop leading familys on its wrong

    • Hi Jolene,

      Yes, kidney beans have gone up in price, they’re now 21p for a 400g can. Prices of the value ranges fluctuate all the time (I had a moan a while back about basics jam going from 29p to 35p overnight, and basics stock cubes going from 10p to 15p).

      That’s why I put this at the bottom of my recipes, otherwise I’d be recalculating them any time there was a price change – and I haven’t got time to do that! If there was suddenly a huge price hike, i.e. something tripled in price or was no longer part of the value range, I’d stop using it altogether…

      *(All prices quoted are Tesco or Tesco Value where available, correct at time of publication. Costs checked against ASDA SmartPrice, Sainsburys Basics, Morrisons Value and Waitrose Essentials ranges. Some variation between supermarkets but most items widely available at similar prices.)

      • Jolene I stocked up on Sainsbury’s kidney beans when they were 18p (24 or 36 tins?), as I saw the other supermarkets were putting prices up. The trick is to keep an eye on what other supermarkets are doing with their cheap range, because as one puts up the price, the others are soon to follow. Asda’s kidney beans are now 27p, and yet they are the same beans and likely to come from the same factory.

        A year or so ago you could get a 4p jar of curry sauce, but as I noticed Saisbury’s price jump right up, I quickly checked Asda and Tesco online. Asda had already gone up, but not Tesco, so I went and bought about 36 jars at Tesco for 4p each. Tins and jars of stuff last for ages after the sell by date (although mine jars were 2015), so you’ve got to play the supermarkets at their own game. Just checked Sainsbury’s curry sauce price and it’s now 26p.

        My theory is that as so many people are now using the basic range, the supermarket have put up prices, so they don’t lose money/make more money. The basic range were always down as lost leaders, looked good to offer but they didn’t intend on selling that much. But now that many have got into the habit of using own brand, plus so many more people with very little money, now only eat value range, then the supermarkets play around with the prices. As in tinned potatoes are presently Sainsburys loss leader, selling at 14p. I’m going to stock up today on a couple of trays (24 tins?), as I think Tesco has already gone up to 21p. Quite a jump, so I don’t think Sainsbury’s will stay at 14p for long. I never use to buy tinned potatoes, but tried a 14p tin out in a frittata and added chopped potatoes to a curry, and I was pleasantly surprised.

        I look forward to keeping an eye out for whatever tin will be the next loss leader and stock up on those too, already have mushy peas when they were 4p, rice pudding when it was 8p and the tins/jars I’ve already mentioned above.

      • I love this blog!!! I have been praying for a long time for something like this to change the situation I’m in. I know how you feel Jack I’ve got two little ones. When I was living with their dad life was good but since we split and I’m unemployed looking for work the food situation is soul destroying. Hate feeding me kids rubbish. We live off scrambled eggs, toast, pasta, oven chips and frozen veg which I buy with healthy start vouchers. And then cheap biscuits and chocolate to stop us feeling so crap. 😥
        I seen a programme about food poverty on BBC and while searching for those recipes from the show luckily found this blog!
        Even all the feedback from you readers is SOOO helpful. I dont have internet at home but while at my dads I’m trying to read as much of your blog everytime i visit lol
        I volunteer for my local surestart and their parents forum steering group. All the information on this blog can be fed back to them as I know in my area a lot of people are in this same situation.
        I never knew you could buy tinned potatoes! It sounds revolting but desperate times. . .
        On asda currently have cheapest at 14p per tin and its a five minute walk from my house so I will be going later on to see what I can get.

        Thank you so much for this blog hopefully parliament will use your skills. I will be making sure that people in my area get to know about your blog. Will let you know of any progress. 😀

  2. Hi Jack, I love your recipes! I am trying this soup out tonight and i’ve got a tin of coconut milk on my shelf, I was just wondering,how much to use etc. Many thanks for your inspirational story and your wonderful recipes and tips.
    Love Selina

  3. Just debating on the lard…is the lard crucial to the recipe or is it just to thicken the soup? But other than that I love your whole website let alone the recipes, I’ve given the link to all my veggie friends and students as well because your site is a total gold mine! So happy you got the recognition you deserve and I’ll be pre ordering your book as soon as I get paid!

  4. Not sure what I did wrong here.. I think I added too many kidney beans because I had to use them from dried instead of a tin. It tasted ‘floury’ for some reason. Anyway I added a tin of chopped tomatoes and used up a bit of fresh coriander and it tasted really great, a bit like a red kidney bean version of the red lentil bolognese. Don’t think I would’ve had the confidence before reading Jack’s blog, and just chucked the first batch away then grumbled about it afterwards. Anyway thanks again! x

  5. Is it best to add cumin with the stock cube & water or later with the kidney beans? Says both above. Will be trying this 🙂 I make lots of veggie soups

  6. Have just made this recipe and scoffed my portion as my son continues to eat his! He is 4 and is loving it! One of the best soups I have ever cooked! And the cheapest!
    I pride myself on my budget shopping and cooking but do struggle and my son and I tend to eat the same thing over and over. ..gets very boring! Upon searching for a recipe for carrots and kidney beans (main ingredients I have left!) I find your blog and its blooming marvellous as I’m not overly creative in the kitchen! Budget and tasty! I am sure to be trying all of your recipes!
    Nice to know I’m not the only single mum who has to cook on an extreme budget!

  7. Just made this yesterday, looking for a dish to make good use of the bunch of cheap carrots i got in my fridge (used 4 large carrots, about 400g). That soup is very good! I would’ve never combined kidney beans with carrots to make a soup, but the result is really worth a try, very easy to cook!
    I’ve used butter for the lack of lard, next time I’ll add some veg oil as the carrots wouldn’t turn “golden” using only butter. I also added 160ml coconut milk, some fresh parsley, freshly ground pepper and 2 small dried, ground chillies in the end. Be careful with the cumin, it’s a strong ingredient! Instead of 1/2 onion, i used a whole red onion.
    It’s nice to have some chunks of carrot to chew on in this soup, so don’t blend it thoroughly.

    When my girl came home last night after a quite hard 12h-shift at work without an opportunity to eat, she was not really font of “just soup” but demanded “meat! right here right now!”, so i made some meatballs to go with the soup. Perfect match! But now i have to change meal plans for the weekend as the minced meat was meant for a different dish… nevermind 🙂

    BTW: The coconut milk was added because i had that small can in the cupboard, slightly over it’s due date. Just 6 months. Still tasted good. Hooray for tin cans!

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