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Easy Mung Bean Soup (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

mung bean soup

Aren’t mung beans pretty?

mung bean 3


I know you’ve had mung bean sprouts in one form or another (perhaps an Asian stir-fry, Chinese take-out, or a Banh Mi sandwich), but it’s far less likely you’ve tried them whole.

I couldn’t resist these jade beauties on one of my visits to Central Foods in Houston–I tend to lose most of my self-control in bulk food sections in general, and the variety at Central Market is glorious. You can purchase mung beans split (called mung dal), but I had to have the whole ones. The price was right–a mere 89 cents per pound–so into a bag they slid.

And onto my pantry shelf they sat for the next 9 months. Until Thursday, when at long last, they made their debut in a rosemary-scented soup.

I was perusing the Whole Foods Market legume cooking guide earlier in the afternoon when I was reminded of my mung bean stash. An operative sentence caught my attention: “They need no pre-soaking [and] cook quickly…” In short, mung beans are akin to split peas and lentils: quick from stove to suppertime and perfect for dinner procrastinators. I checked the refrigerator and pantry for carrots, celery, onions, and garlic (check, check, check, and check) and set to work making a soup based on one of my favorite French lentil soup recipes.

mung bean 1

Some things are best left unsaid. Particularly to husbands. Even more so to hungry husbands. For example, “We’re having mung bean soup for dinner.” I kept my silence and the soup was sipped and savored (under an uncorrected assumption that said soup was lentil) without incident. Enjoy!

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Mung Bean Soup (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


  • Rosemary Mung Bean (or Lentil) Soup
  • Makes about 8 generous servings
  • No need to seek out mung beans for this recipe; an equal amount of lentils will do. But if you have some mung beans lurking in the cupboard, do give them a try!
  • 11/2 tbsp extra–virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 11/2 cups chopped celery
  • 11/2 cups chopped carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 11/2 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • 6 cups water
  • 11/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups dried mung beans or lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 1 28–ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, undrained
  • 12 tsp Balsamic vinegar (optional)


  1. In a large saucepan over medium–high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; cook and stir until vegetables begin to brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add water, salt, and beans; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until beans are very tender, about 50 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juices; simmer 5 minutes longer.
  3. Transfer 3 cups soup (mostly solids) to blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pan; thin soup with more water by 1/4 cupfuls, if too thick. Season with salt, pepper, and a splash of vinegar, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls.


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