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How to make Macedonian Graff Bean Soup

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This is a meatless version of Macedonian Graff Bean Soup and it was a tradition to have a meatless Friday.

Macedonian Graf (White great northern bean soup)

Bean Soups

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Macedonian Graf Bean Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Cuisine: Macedonia
  • Diet: VeganDiet


This Meatless Macedonian soup is flavored with mint and paprika. This will fast become a winter favorite.


Units Scale
  • 3 cups beans (more if you prefer)
  • 2 brown Onions
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 red peppers (or dried peppers if you have them)
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper or hot chillies if you like it hot
  • Parsley
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sort beans for any debris e.g., stones or sticks.
  2. Wash well and put in pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring to the boil and remove from the stove and drain the first water.
  4. Cover with water again and return to the stove. Water should be almost three-quarters of the pot.
  5. Add one of the brown onions, celery, carrot, red peppers/Dried peppers, and a dash of olive oil to the pot. I normally just put in whole. They will soften up during the cooking.
  6. Simmer the soup until the beans are soft. I have found different beans vary in cooking time. About 1 ½ hour. Test beans to be softened.
  7. Once this stage has been reached, remove it to the side.
  8. Take a frying pan and put olive oil in and the other chopped onion.
  9. Sauté the onion until translucent (clear).
  10. Now scoop the cooked onion from the soup pot and mash it into the frying pan with the other onion.
  11. Add the carrot, and celery and these should be soft enough to mash as well.
  12. Add the red peppers to the pot and remove the skins once mashed.
  13. Add paprika to color opaque. Add cayenne and herbs and cook to mix.
  14. Add salt and pepper and a dash of vinegar. Do a taste test.
  15. Cook a further 10 minutes.

This is a meatless version. My mother always did graf on Fridays as it was traditional to have a meatless Friday.

PS: My beans look extremely red because I mistakenly added tomato puree and a lot of it, which made the soup not only red but a strong tomatoey taste which I did not like. But it is up to you! Just experiment to your taste.

Happy cooking!!

Note do not add salt until beans are soft because salt hardens the dried beans and they don’t cook properly!!


Prepared, tried, and tested Ctace from SA Tasty Recipes – Saffas Daily Recipes


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 279
  • Sugar: 24
  • Sodium: 748
  • Fat: 5
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 56
  • Fiber: 11
  • Protein: 11
  • Cholesterol: 0
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2 thoughts on “How to make Macedonian Graff Bean Soup”

  1. Thank you! This is the same way the family I knew made it. Lots of other recipes online complicating or modernizing… love this classic. Could you explain brown onions please?

    • Thank you for your kind note and glad you like this one.
      As for Brown Onions: The brown onion or yellow onion is a variety of dry onion with a strong flavour. They have a greenish-white, light yellow, or white inside; its layers of papery skin have a yellow-brown or pale golden colour. It is higher in sulphur content than the white onion, which gives it a stronger, more complex flavour.


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