Black bean soup was one of the first recipes that I experimented with when I started cooking through a plant-based lens. I most likely did not soak my beans, and I remember feeling highly impatient with the unexpectedly long cooking time. I even gave up that evening and finished cooking the soup the following day. Through years of legume cookery and culinary school, I learned that black bean cooking time can be fickle, yet the rewarding taste and texture of dried beans surpasses anything that can come from a can.
Black bean soup is one of those recipes that I believe should be kept in your "back pocket". The ingredients are minimal, the yield is high, and the taste is rewarding. It is also highly economical, especially if you procure your dried beans from the bulk bins. This soup leans on robust and smoky spices and, similar to chili, the best part is the garnishes. You can keep it simple with sliced avocado, scallions, cilantro, and sour cream or yogurt, or get fancy with maple chipotle pumpkin seeds and lime crema.
Black beans are a nutritional powerhouse. Like all legumes, they are a great source of plant-based protein, providing an average of 16 grams per cup. They also contain fiber, plant-based iron, and folate, which is beneficial for nerve and brain function and heart health, and is an essential nutrient during pregnancy.
If you opt for using canned beans, be sure to purchase beans in BPA-free cans that are salt-free. Also, give them a good rinse prior to using.
Smoky with a kick of spice, this black bean soup is sure to be a crowd pleaser for winter and beyond.
Smoky Black Bean Soup with Maple Chipotle Pumpkin Seeds
Makes 4 servings
- 1 cup black beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
- 6 cups vegetable stock or water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 ribs of celery, diced
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup fennel, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon pimenton/smoked paprika
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Garnishes: Sliced lime, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, avocado, diced red bell pepper, sour cream, yogurt, maple chipotle pumpkin seeds, lime crema (recipes below)
- In a 2-quart pot, combine the beans, vegetable stock or water, 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt, and the bay leaves. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, and cook beans until just tender. Cooking times will vary, but the average is 45 minutes to an hour.
- In another 1-gallon pot, warm the olive oil, pimenton, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Toast the spices for one to two minutes. Add the onions, celery, carrots, fennel, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt, coating the vegetables with the spice mixture. Sauté for 8 minutes or until slightly tender. Add the garlic, and continue to cook for five minutes more.
- Transfer the beans and all of the cooking liquid to the pot with the vegetables. Continue to simmer partially covered, until the beans and vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes more. Turn off the heat. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
- Ladle 1⁄2 of the soup mixture into a high speed blender and purée until smooth. Increase the blender speed slowly and make sure that the blender lid is on tightly since the soup is hot and can splatter.
- Add the puréed soup back to the pot and stir to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top lime juice and selected garnishes.
maple chipotle pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together the olive oil, maple syrup, and spices in a bowl. Add the pumpkin seeds and coat well with the spice mixture. Lay seeds out onto sheet pan and toast for 15 minutes. Check every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
- 1/2 cup greek/almond milk yogurt
- juice of 1 lime
Whisk together the lime juice and yogurt.