Quick Black Bean Soup (Vegetarian)

Do you have 15 minutes? Good, because that’s all you need to make this warming and delicious soup.

Vertical close-up image of a white bowl filled with a dark brown soup topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, and pepper slices, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

As much as I love a good stew that cooks for hours on the stove or in a slow cooker, there are nights when I just need something quick and easy.

And rather than spending money on ordering out, I like to turn to my pantry for inspiration.

This black bean soup recipe is not only super fast to make, it also requires just five simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand:

  • Canned black beans
  • Salsa
  • Ground cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Vegetable broth

The star of this recipe is a food many of us are likely familiar with: black beans.

Besides being inexpensive, beans are also incredibly nutritious.

One cup of cooked black beans provides 220 calories, 14 grams of protein, and 14 grams of fiber.

Vertical image of a white bowl filled with a dark brown stew garnished with shredded cheddar cheese, jalapeño slices, and sour cream on a blue napkin next to a bowl of cheese and a bowl of sour cream.

Current fiber recommendations for adults indicate 25 grams per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men. As you can see above, eating beans is an easy way to make a serious dent in your fiber needs for the day.

Fiber has many benefits, including providing a feeling of fullness after a meal, promoting healthy digestion and preventing constipation, stabilizing blood sugar levels after eating, and helping to lower cholesterol levels.

Clearly, fiber is kind of a big deal!

Black beans are also an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals, with one cup containing:

  • Folate – 64% of the daily value (DV)
  • Manganese – 38% of the DV
  • Magnesium – 30% of the DV
  • Thiamine – 28% of the DV
  • Iron – 20% of the DV

They’re also a good source of calcium and phosphorus, which are both important for bone health.

So, the next time you think eating healthy is expensive, think again. Beans and other legumes like lentils are inexpensive options that pack a serious nutritional punch.

One thing to note about canned beans is that they can be high in sodium. So skip over these when you’re shopping, and look for cans that say “no added salt” on the label.

Now, let’s talk about flavor! Salsa may sound weird at first as an ingredient in soup, but trust me – the acidity and spice go a long way in balancing out the more earthy flavor of the beans.

Next, ground cumin and chili powder add some depth to the soup, giving it a taco or chili flavor.

Chili powder is a premade spice blend that typically contains a combination of cayenne pepper, smoked or regular paprika, oregano, and other spices like garlic and onion powder.

Vertical image of a spoon lifting some dark brown soup out of a white bowl with a garnish of melted shredded cheese, sour cream, and two jalapeño slices on a light blue napkin.

You could also make your own at home, with the flavor profile and ratios of ingredients adjusted to suit your tastes.

And of course, you can’t forget about the toppings. There’s nothing better than bites of gooey, melted cheese and cool and creamy sour cream to contrast with the hot and spicy soup.

Tip: for a little extra protein, you can even use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream! Or for a vegan version, try non-dairy options or skip these toppings.

If you really love to bump up that heat factor, you can even add some spicy sliced jalapenos on top. Or, for a hint of onion flavor, sliced green onions work well as a garnish, and they add a pop of color too.

However you decide to top your bowl, I highly recommend bookmarking this recipe and pulling it out on one those nights when you simply don’t have time to make anything fancy.

After the first bite, you and your family won’t believe that something so flavorful (and good for you!) only took 15 minutes to prepare.

Print
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Horizontal image of a white bowl with black bean soup with cheese, sour cream, and jalapeño garnish with a blue napkin and a spoon.

Quick Black Bean Soup (Vegetarian)


  • Author: Kelli McGrane
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x

Description

Need an easy, healthy meal? Make this quick black bean soup. Ready in just 15 minutes, it’s packed with flavor and fiber to keep you satisfied.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 15-ounce cans black beans without added salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth (or chicken stock), homemade or store-bought 
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  • Sliced jalapenos and/or chopped green onions (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour beans and their liquid into a large stockpot. 
  2. Using a potato masher, lightly mash half of the beans. 
  3. Add chili powder, cumin, salsa, and broth to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. 
  4. Let boil for 1-2 minutes and reduce heat to low. Serve immediately with optional cheese and sour cream.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: black bean, soup, chili powder, cumin

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Measure Ingredients

Measure out your ingredients and open the cans of beans with a can opener.

Horizontal image of four cans and bowls of sour cream, salsa, spices, and shredded cheese.

This recipe calls for canned beans without added salt, and their liquid. If you’re only able to find canned beans that have salt added, you can rinse and drain them in a colander to lower the sodium content a bit.

I recommend buying these without any additional salt if you can find them, or you could cook dried beans to use in this recipe.

Note: the type of salsa you use will affect how spicy this soup ends up being. If you don’t like hot foods or are cooking for kids with more sensitive palates, use a mild salsa.

Step 2 – Mash Beans

Pour the beans and their liquid into a large stockpot.

Horizontal image of mashing black beans in a large pot.

Using a potato masher, lightly mash about half of the beans.

Step 3 – Add Remaining Ingredients, Boil, and Serve

Add cumin, chili powder, salsa, and broth. If you aren’t vegetarian, you could opt to use chicken broth if this is what you have on hand.

Horizontal image of a pot with beans and seasonings.

Stir to combine and bring to a boil over high heat.

Let the soup boil for about 2 minutes and then reduce heat to low to keep warm, or remove from heat to cool and store.

Serve immediately with optional toppings of cheese and sour cream. For extra heat, you can also add jalapeno slices, or try a fresh green garnish of oniony chopped scallions.

Freeze Leftovers for Delicious Meals

If you don’t think you’ll get through all this soup within a week, you can freeze individual portions for reheating later. Talk about an option that’s perfect for meal prep!

Horizontal image of a white bowl with black bean soup with cheese, sour cream, and jalapeño garnish with a blue napkin and a spoon.

Leftovers will keep for 3-4 months in the freezer and can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove.

Looking for more hearty homemade soups that are vegetarian? Try one of these tried-and-true recipes from Foodal next:

Do you stock up on homemade soup to get you through the colder months? Tell us about your favorite flavor combos in the comments below.

After trying this recipe, be sure to leave a rating to let others know how much you loved it!

Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on November 2, 2010. Last updated: October 16, 2020 at 15:00 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

The written contents of this article have been reviewed and verified by a registered dietitian for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as personalized or professional medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.

About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD

Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.

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