Discard soaking water from beans. Beans will have swollen to much more than 1 3/4 cups, so do not remeasure the soaked beans.
In large, heavy bottomed soup pot, heat olive oil or water and onion, garlic, green onion, carrot, and red pepper.
Add sage and bay leaf and saute for several minutes or until onions begin to wilt.
Add soaked and drained beans and fresh water. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that may form on the top.
Reduce cooking temperature to low, cover soup and allow to cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally and taking care that heat is low enough so that beans do not stick.
At end of cooking time, uncover and allow soup to continue cooking as you stir in salt, if desired, powdered vegetable broth and fresh pepper to taste.
Discard bay leaf. Use hand blender to puree soup to desired consistency, breaking down only about half the beans, or transfer half the soup to a blender, puree and return to soup pot.