Black bean soup is one of the easiest soups to make, and it rewards you with great flavor, filling fiber, and lots of protein. It makes an excellent choice of entrée with a grain and salad or as a warming afternoon snack.
This recipe relies on pantry staples, including canned black beans. Look for organic beans in BPA-free packaging for the healthiest option. Or, if you prefer, soak dried black beans overnight and substitute an equal amount. Use the recipe below as your basic guide, but feel free to add other ingredients to spice up or vegetable up the soup: chopped jalapeños, shredded kale, chopped carrots, steamed broccoli florets, or sliced zucchini.
Black Bean Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium diced onion (about 1 cup)
3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 bay leaf
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
3 (15 ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 quart chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Optional garnish: crème fraiche, chopped cilantro, hot sauce
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, bay leaf, and cumin; sauté until onion is softened and slightly golden.
- Add beans, broth, and tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the soup thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
- Using either a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, puree the soup in batches to achieve your preferred level of thickness and smoothness.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish as desired.
- Smoky Black Bean Soup. Add 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, with the beans, broth, and tomatoes.
- Black Bean Soup with Sausage. For each person, add a serving of sliced chicken sausage or turkey sausage (1 link or about 3 ounces) just before serving.
- Black Bean Soup Amped Up. Add 1 cup of dry sherry right before serving—save this option for adults only!
This soup freezes extremely well. It’s helpful to freeze individual portions of the soup—small sizes make for faster thawing, and individual portions help to keep how much you eat measured and under control.
Black beans are an excellent source of both protein and fiber. One cup provides 15 grams of both protein and fiber, with negligible fat and no cholesterol, making them a filling and fueling option for vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Soup is great as a first course or an entrée. The high water content of most soups fills you up without adding excess calories. Bean soups in particular are especially filling because of their high fiber content.