A Deliciously Tasty Hawaiian Style Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe

Hawaii is known for its beautiful weather, beaches, and traditions, but there’s a lesser-known attribute most visitors overlook. The food in Hawaii is incredible and must be explored to the fullest. Making your own Hawaiian-style Portuguese bean soup is a perfect place to start!

How Is the Soup Both Hawaiian and Portuguese Style?

Food fusion might seem like a new concept, but it’s been happening throughout history. This soup is proof of that.

As reported by Hawaiian Magazine, the original recipe came to the islands in the late 1800s through the early 1900s by Portuguese immigrants. They came to find work, and along with that, they introduced a favorite soup recipe to the native islanders. As the cultures began sharing meals, the Hawaiian style Portuguese soup recipe was born.

Get Ready to Cook Your Own Comforting Hawaiian Style Portuguese Bean Soup Recipe

This recipe might seem daunting initially, but even the most inexperienced chef can put it together. Simply gather the following ingredients and follow the directions below.


  • 1 lb smoked ham hock
  • 6 cups of water
  • 10 oz of Portuguese sausage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 14-15 oz can of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup carrots, diced
  • ¾ cult celery, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of red kidney beans (both light and dark are great!)
  • 1 package of elbow pasta, cooked for serving (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Boil the ham hock in water for two hours to make your broth. When done, remove the hock from the water and put it in a bowl. Set aside and allow it to cool.
  2. Slice or cut your sausage into cubes. Cook sausage in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Set cooked sausage aside.
  3. In the same pan used to cook the sausage, add the diced onion to cook in the leftover sausage fat. Cook until the onion is translucent. (If your onion sticks to the pan, add a bit of water to help scrape them off the bottom.)
  4. Add the onions, sausage, diced or crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, celery, carrots, garlic, and desired pepper to the broth made from the ham hock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
  5. Add salt to the soup to taste.
  6. When your ham hock has cooled, remove the meat, shred or cut into bite-sized pieces and add it to the soup.
  7. Add the cabbage and allow to cook. (Add it about ten minutes before serving so it doesn’t get mushy)
  8. Put the desired amount of prepared elbows into each bowl if using. Pour the soup over the noodles before serving. (Don’t cook the pasta in the soup. With such a long cooking time, the noodles will likely overcook!)

Try making the soup according to the recipe the first time, and then take note of what you’d like to change in future batches. This recipe came from a blend of different cultures, making it flexible and delicious with just about any changes.

A Word About Your Beans

Traditionally, people prepared their dry beans instead of using canned ones. Preparing your own from dried can be less expensive, and you’ll likely have tons left to store or freeze.

If you tackle the dry bean preparation, it helps to add a pinch of baking soda to the water as they soak. This helps to soften them up. Follow the package directions and rinse your beans before adding them to your soup.

Addition and Substitution Inspirations

Soup is arguably one of the most versatile recipes. It’s flexible and customizable, depending on your preferences and creativity levels. Here are some ideas to help you design the perfect soup for you and your eaters.

  • If you like a more tomato-rich broth, add a 6-ounce can of tomato paste when you add the other tomatoes.
  • Potatoes are frequently added to this recipe. You can use any potato, but diced russet potatoes are ideal.
  • Switch up your pasta to your favorite shape. Some people insist that the soup must have elbows, while others say spaghetti is the more traditional option. Both are fine, as are all other options!
  • Add a couple of bay leaves when cooking the soup. It gives the soup a fuller flavor, bringing out the rich, savory taste.
  • If the soup is too savory or bitter for your tastes, add a teaspoon of sugar at a time until the flavor improves.
  • Since this is a tomato-forward broth, you can substitute your tomato sauce with ketchup. In fact, if you can’t get enough tomato flavor, add it in addition to your sauce!
  • Season with parsley, cilantro, thyme, cinnamon, sage, or other favorite herbs you know will go well with your recipe.
  • Red beans are the most common beans you’ll see in recipes, but you can change them out! Garbanzo, pink, great northern, black, cannellini, or other favorite beans can be substituted in your soup.

There are many more ways to customize your soup to meet your taste preferences or to have some fun while cooking. When you find yourself ready to try your changes, start with small amounts of your ingredients. It’s easy to add more but difficult to remove certain ingredients.

Cook Using the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

You can save time in the kitchen by throwing your soup into the slow cooker or Instant Pot. The stove is the way it’s been made for decades, but technology has brought more options to save you time.

If you use your slow cooker, you can add all of your ingredients into a six-quart or larger crock and cook on high for four to six hours or low for seven to eight hours. You’ll want to add your hock at the beginning and ensure it’s thoroughly cooked before shredding or cutting the meat off. Again, don’t add pasta to the soup; prepare it separately!

You’ll need an Instant Pot with at least six quarts. Follow these instructions:

  1. Set the Instant Pot to simmer. Add the water and tomato ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Add the hock, sausage, and beans. Put on the lid and seal. Cook on manual high pressure for 35 minutes.
  3. When done cooking, allow for quick release.
  4. Once the pressure has been released, add the celery and carrots. Put the lid on again and seal. Cook on manual high pressure for three minutes and quick release again.
  5. Remove the lid, cut or shred any meat necessary, and spoon over the noodles.

There isn’t a single “right way” to cook the soup. Some people prefer one method over another, while others use different methods to save time. No matter what method you use, you’re guaranteed to have a filling and satisfying meal.

Where Can I Buy Portuguese Sausage?

If you live in Hawaii, you can typically find the sausage at local grocery stores or meat markets. You can even find it served for breakfast at some McDonald’s locations, according to Onolicioushawaii.com.

If you live on the mainland or in another country, you can usually find this sausage at a local Asian market. You can always ask your local butcher if they can special order it for you.

Hawaiian Style Portuguese Bean Soup Brings People Together

As communities blend and cultures share, the best things come from it – like Hawaiian Style Portuguese Bean Soup. Create your own version of this soup, or keep it as-is. Whatever you do, it will be a dish that can draw people in your life together.

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