Quick Black Bean Soup | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Quick Black Bean Soup

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Quick Black Bean Soup

Nava Atlas’s Quick Black Bean Soup. Courtesy of Richard Eskite

Making a hearty bean soup in a hurry seems like a dinner-hour fantasy, but canned black beans are so flavorful that they do the job perfectly. I suggest using organic black beans. Organic canned black beans are often lower in sodium than their nonorganic counterparts. If you use the former, don’t drain and rinse, as I usually suggest—the liquid from the can adds lots of flavor to the soup base.

Otherwise, if using conventional black beans, drain and rinse as usual. Not only is the liquid very salty, it has a less-than-desirable consistency as well.

Servings & Times
  • Serves 4 to 6

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Two 28-ounce cans black beans, preferably organic and low sodium (see Note)
2 to 3 teaspoons salt-free all-purpose seasoning blend (see recommended brands, page 121)
Juice of 1 lemon or lime, or more to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Optional Toppings
Vegan sour cream (homemade, page 248, or store-bought)
or Cashew Cream (page 249)
3 to 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
Additional chopped fresh parsley or cilantro


1. Heat the oil, broth, or water in a soup pot. Sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until the onion is light golden in color, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except the toppings along with 3 cups of water (if using organic beans and their liquid) or 4 cups of water (if using nonorganic beans, drained and rinsed). Bring to a slow boil.

3. Mash some of the beans with a potato masher—just enough to thicken the liquid base of the soup. Cover and simmer gently and steadily for 10 minutes. Adjust the consistency with more water if desired.

4. Top each serving with a dollop or swirl of vegan sour cream or cashew cream, a sprinkling of sliced scallions, and/or chopped parsley or cilantro.

Per Serving: Calories: 340 with oil, 297 without oil; Total fat: 5g with oil, 0g without oil; Protein: 20g; Carbohydrates: 57g; Fiber: 12g; Sodium: 368mg 

Instead of the garnishes suggested in the recipe, top the soup with wilted greens, diced baked butternut squash or sweet potatoes, or some sautéed onion and bell pepper. 


Excerpted from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life With More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas with permission by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2014.