Several years ago when I lived in Illinois, my friend and co-worker Theresa had a favorite recipe for black bean soup that she shared with me. It was easy, healthy, inexpensive, and delicious! And even after 11 years, I've only ever made this recipe.
The soup is healthy, with lots of fiber and protein. It's ready in less than an hour, and happens to be vegan!
I also love how versatile this soup is. We have it as soup one day. If the leftovers thicken up, it can be used as dip. It makes lots of leftovers and freezes well!
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Black beans are the star of the show. The recipe originally called for 4 cans of black beans, with their liquid. However, I usually cook one pound of dried black beans in advance instead.
To do this, cook 1 pound beans with 7 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt in a slow cooker on low for about 8 hours.
You add chopped onion, peppers, celery, and garlic as well. You can use fresh, or use frozen bags of chopped onion and peppers instead. You can omit the celery if you don't feel like chopping veggies. I also use jarred minced garlic instead of fresh.
The remaining seasonings are premade salsa, chili powder, cumin, and thyme.
I use the cheapest jarred salsa I can find. It cooks down; buy whatever mild or medium, tomato-based salsa you can find. Store-brand is fine.
Chili powder is a blend of onion, garlic, chili powders, and cumin. Don't try one that isn't a blend.
How to Make
Okay! Let's make soup.
In a large pot, saute the onions, peppers, celery, and garlic. Then add the spices and give it a stir.
Measure out the black beans, filling in the spaces around them with their liquid.
You can use water instead of the liquid from the beans, if desired. Your soup just may need a little extra seasoning at the end. If you run out of liquid, top it off your last cup of black beans with water.
Add the black beans, and then the salsa.
Give everything a good stir, then bring the soup up to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Give your soup a taste and add a little salt or pepper if necessary. Then enjoy!
Top the soup with cilantro, chopped onions, or crumbled tortilla chips, as I usually do. Add shredded cheese if you eat dairy. Have some bread on the side, or not.
Leftovers are great for days. Continue to eat it as a soup, or pour it over rice. Drain off a little liquid and use it as a topping for nachos. My husband has topped it with barbacoa or carnitas when we've happened to have those as leftovers.
This makes a lot of soup, but it freezes well!
Spoon some into a one-quart deli container, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Freeze without the lid. Once it's frozen, add the lid with a label and date, and stick it at the back of your freezer. You'll need to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator, or thaw it at room temperature for 1-2 hours until you can pour it into a pot to reheat it on the stove.
Don't have deli containers? Large, cleaned yogurt containers work just as well! Just remember - they are NOT microwave-safe.
I hope you love this soup as much as we do!
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Have you tried this recipe? Or have a question about it? Rate it or leave a comment below! (PS: rating my recipes helps other people find them, too!)
Want more soup?
This delicious, hearty soup is healthy and happens to be vegan! It's ready in under an hour, and makes great leftovers.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil 28 grams
- 2 stalks celery diced; 1 ½ cups or 150 grams
- 1 onion diced; 1 cup or 100 grams
- 1 green pepper diced; 1 cup or 100 grams
- 1 red pepper diced; 1 cup or 100 grams
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1.5 tablespoons chili powder blend
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 8 cups black beans with their liquid; from four 15-ounce cans of black beans, or from 1 pound of black beans cooked in a slow cooker
- 2 cups salsa 16 ounce jar; mild or medium
- salt to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion, diced peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes.
Add spices and cook briefly.
Add the black beans with their liquid. Stir in the salsa. Once the soup begins to bubble, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve with crumbled tortilla chips or shredded cheese for garnish.
This soup makes great leftovers!
I use jarred minced garlic instead of fresh. I've also used 3 cups of frozen chopped onions and peppers instead of fresh; you will need to cook for an extra few minutes before adding the beans and salsa.
I always used dried beans rather than cans. To do this, cook 1 pound beans with 7 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt in a slow cooker on low for about 8 hours. Measure 2 cups of beans into a glass measuring cup with a slotted spoon, then top with the cooking liquid; then repeat 3 more times.
I use the cheapest jarred tomato salsa I can find for this soup. Store-brand or Aldi salsa works great.
Originally written in 2011. Rewritten and clarified in January 2023.
In the past