Mushroom, Bean and Couscous Soup

March 18, 2024

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By Joe Yonan

This hearty soup gets its deep flavor from a combination of dried and fresh mushrooms, and heft from beans and pearl couscous. With the exception of the mushrooms and aromatic vegetables, it depends mostly on shelf-stable ingredients, making it particularly well-suited to snow days or any time you’re trying to clean out the pantry.

Make ahead: If you soak the beans (see Notes), that needs to happen 8 to 12 hours before making the soup. Cooked beans can be refrigerated, in their liquid, for up to 4 days before making the soup.

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

From food and dining editor Joe Yonan.


measuring cup

Servings: 4-6 (8 cups)

  • 3/4 cup navy beans, cannellini or other white beans, soaked for 8 to 12 hours (see Notes) and drained
  • 6 cups low-sodium homemade vegetable broth or store-bought vegetable broth or water, divided, plus more as needed (see related recipe)
  • 2 medium yellow onions (1 pound total), chopped and divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped and divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon dried mushroom powder, such as porcini or shiitake
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms or button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed or dry sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup pearl couscous or fregola
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Time Icon
30 mins
Total: 45 mins

  1. Step 1

    In a multi-cooker such as an Instant Pot, combine the beans with 3 cups of the vegetable broth. Add half of the onions, half of the garlic, the bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Secure the appliance’s lid and make sure the steam valve is sealed. Select PRESSURE (HIGH) and set the cook time to 30 minutes. (It should take about 10 minutes for the appliance to come to pressure.)

  2. Step 2

    When the 30 minutes of cooking is up, release the pressure manually by moving the handle to “Venting.” To do this, cover your hand with a towel and make sure to keep your hand and face away from the vent when the steam releases. Open the appliance and check to see if the beans are tender. If not, return them to PRESSURE (HIGH) for 10 minutes at a time, manually releasing the pressure and steam each time, until they are tender.

  3. Step 3

    While the beans are cooking, in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the remaining onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the mushroom powder and thyme and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms collapse, exude their liquid, it mostly evaporates and they start to brown, 6 to 7 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Add the couscous and the remaining 3 cups of the vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so the soup is at a simmer, cover and cook until the couscous swells and is tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. Step 5

    When the beans are cooked, drain them, reserving their liquid. Add the beans, plus 2 cups of their cooking liquid, to the pot and return to a simmer. (If you don’t have 2 cups of the cooking liquid, add water for a total of 2 cups.) Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 2 minutes. Taste, and season with more salt as needed.

  6. Step 6

    Divide among bowls, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper and serve hot.


Instead of white beans >> use chickpeas, pinto beans or cranberry beans.
Cooking liquid >> 2 cups canned beans plus water instead of cooking liquid.
Fresh thyme >> 2 teaspoons dried thyme.
Pearl couscous >> ditalini or orzo or 2 cups pre-cooked farro or barley. If using a pre-cooked grain, add it with the beans instead of earlier.


To cook the beans on the stovetop, use 2 cups of the water or broth instead of 3 cups. Bring them to a boil over medium-high heat, boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook until tender, up to 1 hour or longer, depending on the age of the beans and whether or not you soak them.


If you don’t have time to soak your beans and/or you know they’re particularly fresh, you can skip soaking them and add 10 to 15 minutes to the cooking time. Feel free to use previously cooked beans, or cook a pound’s worth, and use 2 cups of the beans plus liquid for this soup and save the rest for another use. You can also make your own mushroom powder: Grind dried shiitake, porcini or any other dried mushroom in a dedicated spice grinder until fine.

Nutritional Facts

Per serving (1 1/3 cups), based on 6

  • Calories


  • Fat

    6 g

  • Saturated Fat

    1 g

  • Carbohydrates

    45 g

  • Sodium

    496 mg

  • Cholesterol

    0 mg

  • Protein

    13 g

  • Fiber

    9 g

  • Sugar

    4 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From food and dining editor Joe Yonan.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Published February 11, 2024

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