Spicy Black Bean Soup with Tomatoes
This simple vegetarian black bean soup packs a serious amount of flavor. Tomatoes and black beans are simmered in a wine and vegetable broth, flavored with onions, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, oregano, lime, and cilantro.
Start to finish, this fresh tasting soup will be on the table in well under 30 minutes, making it a super quick, healthy meal that I find myself coming back to over and over again. Perhaps you will too.
The first time I made a version of this black bean soup was after reading Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's cookbook The River Cottage Veg. I already owned Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's The River Cottage Meat, which had become one of my most dog-eared reference books when cooking any kind of meat dish.
But. My husband and I wanted to eat less meat. Neither of us had any intention of giving meat up entirely. We just realized that we felt better when we ate less of it. Also, the introduction of The River Cottage Meat is primarily devoted to urging readers to eat less meat.
Devoting page after page in a cookbook all about meat to tell readers to eat less of it made an impression on me. Hugh urges his readers to eat less meat in general so that when we DO choose to eat it, we can afford to purchase higher quality, responsibly raised meat.
This was a message that resonated with me then and still resonates with me today. I cannot imagine ever choosing to give up meat entirely. But, in general, most of us probably eat way more of it than is good for our health or good for the welfare of the animals we raise for food.
Factory farming is a terrible, unethical way to raise animals for food.
The only reason it exists to the extent that it does is because it's a good way to produce cheap meat. And, there's a market for cheap meat because we eat so much of it. So, unless money is no object for you, the best way to be able to afford higher quality, responsibly raised meat, is to eat less of it.
This is what we do at my house. As a result, I've built up a nice collection of meatless recipes that are simple, hearty, and flavorful enough to make the addition of meat seem downright superfluous.
This vegetarian black bean tomato soup is one of those recipes.
I make this soup a lot for good reason: It's fast, healthy, inexpensive to make, and - most importantly - super delicious. The tomato and bean soup in The River Cottage Veg calls for homemade tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes. These ingredients make a delicious soup, but (there's always a but), good tomatoes are only available in Colorado for a few months of the year. I wanted the option of making this soup all year round.
Instead of fresh tomatoes, I like to use canned tomatoes that are fire roasted. The best brand available in my local market is Muir Glenn. Use whatever brand is available to you, but the fire roasted part really does make a difference. It imparts a nice smoky flavor that gives canned tomatoes the depth they sometimes lack.
Beans, beans, the magical fruit...
... the more you eat, the more you toot. 😂 I do not know where this catchy little jingle came from, but my husband used to say it to the kids when they were little and it always made them giggle. Joking aside, beans really can create a, ummmm, gassy situation.
Beans contain a sugar that, for us humans, can only be broken down by bacteria in the large intestine. As the bacteria gets to work on those sugars, it creates some gas. So, there you have it. We are learning all kinds of things in this post, now aren't we?
One way to lessen the gas producing effects of beans is to simply make sure they are fully cooked. For this black bean soup recipe, you can use canned black beans or dried beans that you've cooked in advance in the slow cooker. If using canned beans, just make sure to purchase a high quality brand. If cooking them yourself, just make sure you've let them cook all the way through.
Speaking of cooking dried beans...
Cooking dried beans in the slow cooker takes about 5 minutes of prep work and, if you get them going in the morning, they will be ready in plenty of time to make this soup in the evening. One pound of dried beans will give you more than enough for this soup, with plenty left over to use later in the week or freeze.
Most of the time, this is what I do. Dried beans are extremely economical and cooking them myself allows me to add plenty of herbs and spices so that they contribute a whole other layer of flavor to whatever dish I put them in. BUT (there's that word again), God bless beans in a can. They work just as well and require only the forethought to have purchased them.
The toppings for black bean soup are half the fun.
This soup is delicious and flavorful completely unadorned, but even better topped with some fresh avocado and cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, and some crispy tortilla strips. The recipe includes instructions for crispy tortilla chips, which are easy to make while the soup simmers. A crumble of purchased tortilla chips works well too if you don't feel like frying the strips.
Consider serving black bean tomato soup with homemade tortillas.
If you've never made homemade tortillas, this might sound like a ridiculous suggestion. If you have, you know that they are considerably more impressive and delicious than they are difficult. Fair warning: Make them once and you'll probably never want to purchase them again - they really are that much better than anything you can buy at the market.
Used in this recipe:
It’s important to use a heavy bottom, oven proof pot in which to cook meatballs in marinara sauce, preferably a dutch oven. If you don’t have a dutch oven, I encourage you to invest in one. They are extremely useful and will last for years. Mine generally gets used at least once a week, often much more than that.
More Popular Vegetable Based Recipes:
- Vegetarian Chili with Pico de Gallo and Chimichurri Sauce
- Vegetarian Spaghetti Carbonara
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Cheesy Stuffed Tomatoes
Meal Plans that include Black Bean Tomato Soup:
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.Print
This simple Vegetarian Black Bean Soup packs a serious amount of flavor and will be on the table in under 30 minutes.
If you want to kick it up another notch, serve with a stack of homemade tortillas.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium size red onion, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt (more to taste)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper (more to taste)
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 ½ cups water or vegetable stock
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
- 4 cups black beans, slow simmered or canned (drained)
- the juice from 1-2 limes (to taste)
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup sour cream (optional)
- 8 corn tortillas - OR - a bag of tortilla chips. (Optional, for serving)
- Corn oil or vegetable oil, for frying (disregard if using tortilla chips)
- Heat oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes
- While the onions are cooking, add the garlic, jalapeño, cumin, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Add to the pan with the softened onions and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
- Add the wine, turn the heat to high, and cook, stirring frequently, until about 75% of the liquid has evaporated. Add the water or stock, both cans of tomatoes, and black beans to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 15 minutes. (This is a good time to fry the tortilla strips.)
- Squeeze in the juice from 1 lime. Taste and add more lime juice, salt, and pepper, if you like.
- Sprinkle chopped cilantro over the soup and serve with sour cream and tortilla strips or chips.
To fry tortilla strips:
- Add the oil to a large, deep saucepan or frying pan and place over high heat. You want to heat the oil until a small piece of tortilla placed in the oil begins to sizzle immediately, about 350°F. Be careful to not allow the oil to get so hot that it smokes. If that happens, move the pan off the heat immediately and allow to cool down slightly before placing it back over the heat. Adjust the burner heat as necessary to maintain the temperature.
- While the oil is heating, cut tortillas into strips about ½-inch wide
- Line a baking sheet with a couple of layers of paper towels and have a small dish of salt near by.
- When the oil is hot, add a handful of tortilla strips – enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but not so many that they are laying on top of each other. Fry the strips for 2-4 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown.
- Using tongs, quickly remove the strips from the oil and onto the paper towel lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with some salt. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.
Keywords: black bean and tomato soup, vegetarian soup, vegetarian recipe