Hello, Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup. You have been a favorite of mine since um, forever?
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The first bowl of Black Bean Soup I ever had was from Panera, way back in high school during my senior year. How I remember that? I’m not sure ha. I wasn’t vegan then but lightly dabbled with the vegetarian thing on and off and also the non-dairy thing here and there – even back when almond milk was unheard of and not as mainstream as it is now!
Back then (about 9 years ago… eek) Panera didn’t offer many meat-free or dairy-free options EXCEPT black bean soup and a couple salads, at least from what I remember. Now they have a handful of vegan-friendly options but I also remember choosing Black Bean Soup because it was low-fat and low-sodium but high in fiber. Guess I’ve always been into nutrition.
It’s taken me a while to share this recipe… mainly because, while Black Bean Soup is absolutely DELISH and comes with nutrition facts from the nutrition gods, it’s not as photogenic or colorful as my Cleansing Detox Soup, (a major hit here on the blog) or as vibrant as my recipes in general.
Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, right?!
I figured you guys would love and appreciate this cold-weather recipe anyway because of the taste and nutrition… so I tried really hard to make it as appealing as possible, by adding colorful veggies like bell peppers and even carrots and by adding toppings. Creamy avocado? YES. Crushed tortilla chips? Yup. Extra jalapeño for the fire breathers? Sure, why not.
Don’t add too many toppings though because honestly, this recipe does not need any help. It’s literally perfect. You have a few options also, depending on your texture preference and how you want this soup to “look”.
- If you prefer a super smooth soup that’s darker in color – blend it until smooth, after it has been cooked, using a hand immersion blender (like this one).
- If you prefer a semi-smooth soup that’s more colorful (like my pictures show) – blend half of the soup – it’s slightly creamy but still has texture and whole beans.
- If you prefer a chunky soup that’s lighter in color or if you have no preference at all – keep it as is and don’t blend it at all!
Hope that helps. I like the second option as shown in the pictures, but everyone has different preferences.
I know many of you will ask if this can be made in a crock pot/slow cooker and I don’t see why not? I thought about making it in the crock pot but I also think that would be a better option if you are using dry beans. I opted for canned beans and wanted this to take less than an hour. Whatever makes it easier for you! I should also mention this soup makes a large amount and you will definitely have plenty of leftovers. If you don’t think you can eat it all within the week then freeze it for another cold, wintry night!
- 3/4 cup water (or 2 tablespoons olive oil; if not oil-free)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3-1/2 jalapeño, finely chopped, to taste (optional)
- 2 medium-sized carrots, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped (or any color)
- 4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- 1 15 oz. can organic sweet corn, drained and rinsed
- 3 15 oz. cans organic black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- sea salt & pepper, to taste
- toppings: avocado, crushed tortilla chips, jalapeño, cilantro, dairy-free cheese
- Heat the water (or oil, if preferred) in a soup pot or large dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic, with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent.
- Stir in the jalapeño, carrot, red bell pepper, cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Cook until vegetable are soft, about 7-9 minutes.
- Pour in the beans, corn and broth. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until the beans are soft and the broth has lots of flavor, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat.
- Using a hand immersion blender, blend about half of the soup, still leaving whole beans in tact. Blend more for a smoother texture or less for a chunkier texture, depending on preference (this step is optional; you can also blend half in a regular blender, making sure to let out the steam, to prevent a soup explosion as it gets very hot. Pour it back into the soup pot).
- Stir in lime juice and cilantro and taste test to see if it needs more salt or pepper. Adjust accordingly.
- Serve with your favorite toppings!
- For an even heartier soup, add in brown rice or quinoa!
- Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 4 days or frozen.
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