This black bean soup recipe comes together so quickly with pantry ingredients! Are there fancier things would could add? Of course, but this is a basic, super simple black bean soup that you will love. Don't miss the one secret to this recipe that creates a thick soup without any additional work.
This black bean soup recipe has been written on an index card and balanced precariously between two pages of my recipe book for nearly a decade. It hasn't made its way to a permanent position in the recipe book, which would guarantee it a plastic sleeve and protection from spills. Some recipe cards float around because they are simply pulled out of the book so often to be made. This is one of those recipes.
I discovered the simple trick for making any bean soup thick from Rachael Ray. This soup is thick like it came from a can, and it's so easy to achieve! Rachael tells us to not drain the cans of beans before adding them to the soup. This feels strange, because in nearly all of my recipes where you used canned beans, I instruct you to rinse and drain the beans. But in the case of this black bean soup, do not drain the beans from the can!
You can browse all of my bean soup recipes here, but note that this is the only recipe that calls for undrained, unrinsed beans. You're just going to have to trust me, which I think you will after the first spoonful.
My endless love for this soup, and the reason I keep coming back to it year after year, is because it relies on pantry ingredients to come together. Instead of making tomato soup with grilled cheese, I make this black bean soup.
- Olive Oil. Any neutral flavor-less oil works here (olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, etc.)
- White Onion.
- Jalapeño. If you're worried about heat, wear gloves and remove the seeds and white ribs inside the pepper.
- Dried Oregano.
- Ground Cumin.
- Crushed Tomatoes. It can be hard to find a small 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes; if you can only find the large 28-ounce can, then save the other half for my rajma recipe.
- Black Beans. Two 15-ounce cans of black beans, undrained.
- Lime Juice.
- Cilantro. If you don't like fresh cilantro, leave it out, or use ½ teaspoon of dried coriander.
- Soup garnishes: extra lime juice, sour cream, more cilantro, jalapeños, salted peanuts, crushed tortilla chips.
If you lack an ingredient, you can always sub. If you're out of fresh garlic, use ½ teaspoon dried garlic powder per cloves. If jalapeños aren't in season, use two pinches of cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I only have canned diced tomatoes, so I pulse them in a food processor to crush them. An even easier thing is to use a stick blender right in the can! If you lack fresh limes, bottled lime juice is just fine. Instead of cilantro, dried coriander is great. Please, make this recipe work for you and your pantry!
How to Make Black Bean Soup
- Gather the ingredients and have ready a medium stock pot or medium enamel-coated cast iron pan for making soup.
- In the bottom of the soup pot, add the oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Saute the onion, while stirring occasionally, until it softens and just barely starts to turn golden brown around the edges. Lower the heat if it threatens to burn, but also, don't be afraid of light brown or golden edges.
- Once the onions are soft, add the minced garlic, jalapeño, salt and pepper.
- Cook the garlic and jalapeño for 2-3 minutes, lowering the heat if the garlic looks like it's going to burn. Then, add the spices (cumin and oregano).
- Sautéing the spices for just 30 seconds brings out their flavors, and helps them infuse into the oil and permeate the whole soup. Don't skip this step!
- Next, add the undrained beans directly from the cans to the pot! Follow this by the crushed tomatoes. Give everything a good stir, and bring it to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat and add the cilantro and lime juice just before serving.
Ladle the soup into 4 bowls, and top with your garnish of choice.
Ways to Garnish Black Bean Soup
- An extra squeeze of lime juice makes the flavors sing.
- A scoop of sour cream brings acidity.
- Additional chopped cilantro for my cilantro-lovers out there.
- Thinly sliced jalapeños for extra heat.
- A handful of salted peanuts crushed on top is nice.
- Crushed tortilla chips are welcome in any soup.
Yes, this soup is full of protein and fiber from the beans, and simple spices keep it flavorful without extra calories. Each serving has less than 400 calories.
Yes, this black bean soup with tomatoes is actually vegan. Of course, if you top it with sour cream, it's not, but simply as-written, it's naturally vegan and vegetarian.
We like to serve this with cornbread muffins, or a simple salad with a bright, tangy vinaigrette. Warm pita triangles dipped in this hummus recipe without tahini is another great side.
Black Bean Soup
Perfectly simple black bean soup made with pantry ingredients. Add whatever toppings you love!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans of black beans, UNDRAINED
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- For serving: fresh cilantro, sour cream, tortilla chips
- Gather all ingredients for the soup.
- In a small stock pot, add the oil and turn the heat to medium high. Add the onion and saute until the edges start to turn brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the salt, pepper, and minced jalapeño and garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the oregano and cumin, and saute for 1 minute.
- Add the can of crushed tomatoes, and the 2 cans of undrained black beans. Bring to a simmer.
- After the soup simmers for 10 minutes, add the lime juice and cilantro. Serve with dollops of sour cream or any toppings you like.
Jalapeño: If you don't like jalapeño, use two pinches of cayenne pepper. Or, to reduce the heat of a jalapeño, wear gloves and remove the seeds and white ribs inside the pepper.
Black Beans: You need two 15-ounce cans of black beans, but do not drain them!
Cilantro: Omit cilantro if you have feelings about it, or use ½ teaspoon of dried coriander.
Favorite soup garnishes: extra lime juice, sour cream, more cilantro, jalapeños, salted peanuts, crushed tortilla chips.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 457mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 21gSugar: 7gProtein: 21g
Just made this, it’s incredible! The only thing I changed was used a poblano instead of the jalapeño, everything else I kept the same. I will definitely make this again!