For my version I used vegetable broth. I omitted the ham and was surprised it was still so flavorful. I didn't add any salt, the salt in the canned beans and tomatoes and the broth was plenty. I sauteed the onions and garlic in canola oil instead of butter, and added some fenugreek seeds. I also added several big handfuls of chopped fresh spinach. It's still a great recipe even if you turn it into a vegan soup. Oh, and I also didn't process the beans and tomatoes beforehand; instead, I put everything into the soup pot, then half way through the simmer I just blended half the soup in a blender then added it back to the pot. I used cooking sherry instead of sherry vinegar.
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For my version I used vegetable broth. I omitted the ham and was surprised it was still so...