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    Portuguese Bean Soup

    Fooled ya! Portuguese Bean Soup isn’t Portuguese at all! Instead, it’s a hearty and comforting soup that originated in Hawaii.

    With a hodgepodge of ingredients like smoked ham hocks, macaroni, kidney beans, an assortment of veggies, and Portuguese sausage (hence the name), this is one flavor packed bowl you don’t want to miss!

    Scooping a serving of this soup out of the pot with a large ladle.

    Hawaiian food is unique fusion of cuisines, combining traditional fare like Kalua Pig with immigrant inspired local dishes such as Loco Moco, Mac Salad and Shoyu Chicken.

    Today’s soup recipe is a popular home-style comfort food in Hawaii, and once you try it, we bet you’ll be coming back to it.

    Ingredient Notes

    For exact measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post. Here is what you’ll need:

    Package of Portuguese sausage.
    • Portuguese Sausage: Also known as linguiça, it adds a spicy, smoky flair to the soup. It can generally be found in the refrigerated section of supermarkets near the other sausages. Chouriço (not to be confused with chorizo), is another variety of Portuguese sausage which can also be used.
    • Smoked Ham Hocks: This is where the magic starts. The smokiness and richness infuse into the broth.
    • Olive Oil: For sautéing. Can be substituted with any neutral flavored oil.
    • Onion, Carrots, Celery, and Garlic: The classic aromatic base.
    • Tomato Sauce & Diced Tomatoes: If you have good quality fresh tomatoes, feel free to use them.
    • Potatoes: Preferably use a waxy variety such as yellow or red potatoes, as they will hold their shape better.
    • Kidney Beans: The traditional variety. Cannellini would also go great here.
    • Cabbage: Adds crunch and veggie power.
    • Elbow Macaroni: Makes the soup even more hearty. Other options are orzo or ditalini.
    • Watercress: The finishing touch! Can be substituted with arugula, spinach or omitted.

    Step by Step Instructions

    1. Create the broth: Place ham hocks and three quarts of water in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours.

    Dutch oven with four ham hocks in broth.

    Remove ham hocks to a plate. Once cooled remove meat, and discard the bones. Save the remaining broth aside.

    Meat pulled off the ham hocks in a bowl.

    2. Brown the sausage: In another large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add in sliced sausage and brown on both sides. Remove to a plate.

    Browned sausage on a plate.

    3. Sauté veggies and aromatics: Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add in onion, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes.

    Onions, carrots and celery sautéing in a soup pot.

    4. Build the soup: Add in reserved broth, browned sausage, meat from ham hocks, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

    The soup after simmering for some time.

    5. Add remaining ingredients: The rest of the ingredients have different cooking times, and thus go in at different times, as follows:

    • Add potatoes, cook for 20 minutes.
    • Then add kidney beans and cabbage. Cook for 20 minutes.
    • Then add macaroni. Cook until it is cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
    • Finally, remove from heat and stir in watercress.
    Collage of the above described steps for adding later ingredients.

    6. Finish and serve: Taste and adjust for salt. You can serve immediately, but we like to let it sit for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to further meld together and develop.

    Bean soup in the pot after finishing cooking.

    Leftovers and Storage

    Portuguese bean soup refrigerates very well for 4-5 days in an airtight container.

    To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

    Reheat on stovetop over medium heat. Note that the macaroni will absorb some of the broth, so you may need to add some water when reheating.

    A large bowl of Portuguese bean soup.

    Recipe Tips

    • Don’t rush the broth: It takes time for the flavors from the ham hocks to fully infuse into the broth. Set it to simmer, then wait patiently.
    • Cook in stages: While it may be tempting to just dump everything in the pot all at once, following the suggested timeline will ensure optimal textures.
    • Serving suggestion: Serve with a side of crusty bread to soak up that delicious broth.
    A potful of our bean soup.

    The next time you crave some cozy comfort food, give this Portuguese Bean Soup a recipe a try. I bet you’ll love it just as much as the Hawaiians do.

    Pin or bookmark this great recipe so you always know where to find it. And be sure to subscribe to GypsyPlate, we’re always cooking up new recipes for you.

    For more easy meals, check out our hand picked collection of Dinner Ideas for Tonight. Until next time…

    Portuguese Bean Soup, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowlful of Portuguese bean soup atop the Gypsy Plate.

    Try these other great soups!
    Italian Sausage Soup
    Caldo de Pollo
    Hungarian Goulash
    Sopa de Fideo
    Tuscan Bean Soup
    Sancocho
    Fasolada

    Featured image for Portuguese bean soup recipe.

    Portuguese Bean Soup

    Yield: 8 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
    Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

    Portuguese Bean Soup is a cozy dish from Hawaii featuring beans, veggies, macaroni, Portuguese sausage, and plenty of flavor!

    Ingredients

    • 2.5 pounds smoked ham hocks
    • 3 quarts water
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
    • 1 pound Portuguese sausage, sliced (see note 1)
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 2 medium carrots, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 15oz tomato sauce
    • 15oz diced tomatoes
    • 2 medium potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes (see note 2)
    • 15oz canned kidney beans, drained
    • ½ head cabbage, chopped
    • 1 cup dry elbow macaroni
    • 1 cup watercress
    • salt, to taste

    Instructions

    1. Place ham hocks and three quarts of water in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for about 2 hours. Remove ham hocks to a plate, and once cooled remove meat, and discard the bones. Save the remaining broth aside.
    2. In another large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add in sliced sausage and brown on both sides. Remove to a plate.
    3. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add in onion, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes.
    4. Add in reserved broth, browned sausage, meat from ham hocks, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
    5. Stir in potato chunks, again cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
    6. Remove lid. Add in kidney beans and cabbage. Cook for 20 minutes.
    7. Stir in macaroni. Simmer until pasta is cooked.
    8. Remove from heat. Stir in watercress.
    9. Taste and adjust for salt. Serve immediately, or allow to sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to further meld together.

    Notes

      1. Also known as linguiça, it adds a spicy, smoky flair to the soup. It can generally be found in the refrigerated section of supermarkets near the other sausages. Chouriço (not to be confused with chorizo), is another variety of Portuguese sausage which can also be used.
      2. We recommend a waxy variety such as yellow or red potatoes, as they hold their shape better.
      3. While it may be tempting to just dump everything in the pot all at once, following the suggested timeline will ensure optimal textures.
      4. This soup refrigerates very well for 4-5 days in an airtight container, or can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat on stovetop over medium heat. Note that the macaroni will absorb some of the broth, so you may need to add some water when reheating.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 8 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 560Total Fat 24gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 66mgSodium 2315mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 8gSugar 10gProtein 41g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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