Soup is not just for lunch anymore. While soups have always had their rightful place as comfort foods, thanks to the addition of hearty ingredients, they are more satisfying as an evening meal and then re-heated as an afternoon lunch or snack. Most importantly, soups are typically easy to make and inexpensive.
I like lighter, broth-based soups for a lunch or afternoon snack and save the creamy, or heartier stews or soups for evening meals. But thicker soups do not have to be laden with cream, milk or butter. You do not need thick cuts of meat to create a satisfying, rich, or healthy soup. This week, I found a way to create a rich soup using my favorite beans: Black beans.
Why I love black beans
Black beans are delicious on their own, but they are an amazing addition to salads, pasta dishes, tacos, or egg dishes. And when featured as the star of my Black Bean Soup, they are even more delicious. Traditional black bean soup recipes seem to highlight other flavors, or spices, instead of bringing out the earthy goodness that come naturally with black beans.
This recipe uses seasonings to enhance the flavor of the black beans while avoiding pungent ingredients like jalapeno or red pepper that can cause havoc for pregnant women, children, or people who cannot handle the burn or sharpness from peppers or other fiery spices.
Black beans are super healthy, providing protein without the sodium, fat, or cholesterol. Contrary to popular myth, beans, especially black beans, are not gas-producing and promote better digestion to leave one feeling fuller longer.
This recipe makes a perfect dinner and additional portions that can be reheated easily for lunches or snack later. This soup also freezes well, so make a batch and save it in individual containers for future meals or a meal on the go. If you crave spice or heat, additional spices can be added to taste right before eating without changing the complexity or texture of this soup. This recipe can also be modified and made in a slow cooker, Insta Pot or pressure cooker with the same delicious result.
Black Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 4 cans (60 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- In a large stock pot, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook 4-5 minutes until softened.
- Add garlic, salt and pepper and cook 8-10 minutes until all vegetables are soft and tender.
- Add cumin, black beans, vegetable (or chicken) stock, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover pot and cook for 30 minutes until the black beans are tender.
- Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf.
- Insert immersion blender and carefully pulse until soup begins to thicken. Do not over pulse so the soup stays thick. If no immersion blender is available, carefully ladle 3-4 cups of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Return to soup and stir until soup is thickened. Ladle additional cups of soup, puree, and mix into soup until desired thickness achieved.
- Spoon into bowls and serve with toppings like chopped cilantro, toasted pita triangles, chipped avocado, finely diced cashews, a dollop of sour cream, cooked rice, or small dashes of hot sauce.
Featured photo by Dana DeVolk