Black Bean Soup

Every time I make this Black Bean Soup I think of this clip from Ratatouille. And it’s not because of any filthy vermin sticking their nasty paws into my soup (was anyone else grossed out by that?) It’s because of Anton Ego’s childhood flashback. I love the way his eyes get huge as it zooms him back to his boyhood home. My flashback isn’t to my childhood (if it was then this would be a post about some sort of heart-warming casserole involving cream of something soup). Instead, it takes me to this place:

That’s a quaint little house in the middle of a palm-covered oasis in Maceo, Brazil. It’s the kind of place where you play pick-up soccer games barefoot in the middle of a palm clearing, and half of the members of your team have more than 2 legs.

And the kind of place where you can ride a horse into a lagoon and catch a guy in a canoe half way out who gives you a fish for dinner.

It’s where some dear friends of ours live, and several years ago after a long day we sat around a creaky old table late one summer night while the lovely housekeeper made us a big pot of black bean soup. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted, probably in part because it represented so many memories and experiences for me. I was in a place and with people I had grown up hearing stories about, and I was with my Father who had told me those stories when I was a child. The whole thing was just surreal. I had just finished spending a year and a half in Brazil by myself and at that point I finally understood why it was such an important place to my Dad. We suddenly shared a bond centered on a culture, a language, and a people that we adored. Somehow that soul-warming soup represented all of those emotions so I’ve tried to replicate it ever since. I made countless versions over the years, tweaking and tweaking and starting all over. One day when I didn’t have anything fancy to throw in it, I made it with the most basic ingredients, and even though I know this is probably not anything like the one the housekeeper made from the vegetables in the garden and fresh, local peppers and spices, it’s the only one where when I took a bite, my eyes got wide and my mind zoomed back to that summer night. That’s when I knew that this was the one. Something about it brought all of the memories back, and because of that it’s on my list of big-time comfort foods. And because it takes minimal ingredients, and ones I almost always have on hand, it’s also a regular on our menu.

The great thing is that it’s super low-calorie, and high in fiber, so you can totally afford to throw some toppings on there (which they totally wouldn’t do in Brazil, just for the record. Tortilla chips? Blasphemous! But I am American and I know no one will hunt me down. It’s way better with toppings).

Ingredient and Equipment Notes

  • Green chilies – You can find fire roasted green chilies on the ethnic food aisle near things like enchilada sauce and taco ingredients. You want the diced ones. Double check the heat scale– I use mild, but if you like some spice, you could get the hotter ones.
  • Onion – Yellow or white onions work best, but you can use any onion in a pinch.
  • Toppings – We love this soup with sour cream, tortilla chips, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, avocado, etc.
  • Spices – You’ll need chili powder, cumin, oregano, and a bay leaf.
  • Blender – I blend this soup up in my blender. An immersion blender is another option.

Instructions

  1. Start by sauteing some carrots, onion, celery, and garlic for a few minutes. Pretty much the standard “soup starters.”
  2. Then add in some drained and rinsed black beans.
  1. And then add some beef broth, green chilies, and your spices.
  1. All of that simmers on the stove until the the carrots are nice and tender.
  2. Remove the pot from the stove, remove the bay leaf, and carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender jar. Remove the stopper from your blender lid to let the heat escape, and cover with a paper towel to prevent splatter. Puree the soup until it’s completely smooth. Optionally, you could pulse it until a semi-chunky soup is achieved.
  3. Squeeze in the juice of one lime and pulse to combine. Ladle into bows and top with desired toppings. Serve with extra lime wedges.

Serving Suggestions

This black bean soup is the perfect served alongside a pepper Jack panini. It would be delicious with a quesadilla or other Brazilian favorites like grilled meat with Brazilian Vinaigrette and a cold Brazilian Lemonade.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I make this ahead of time? Of course! Allow the finished soup to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat small portions in the microwave, or reheat the whole batch on the stovetop.
  • Can I freeze this black bean soup? Yes! Soup in general makes a great freezer meal and this one is no different. For easy reheating, freeze individual soup pucks in silicone muffin trays or my favorite Souper Cubes, then store in a zip top bag in a freezer. Pull out as many as you need for a serving and heat in the microwave or on the stove top.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

Black Bean Soup

5 from 1 vote
This Brazilian inspired Black bean soup is all at once homey and magnificent in its simplicity. Perfect on it's own as a light meal, but also great as a side for a big salad or paired with a grilled cheese sandwich. We particularly love it with a pepper jack panini.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots about 2 med carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery about 2 ribs
  • 1 cup diced onion about 1 small-medium onion
  • 2 cans black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 3.5- ounce can green chilies
  • 2 cans low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lime
  • Optional Toppings: sour cream tortilla chips, grated cheese, chopped cilantro, etc.

Instructions

  • Place a large stock pot on the stove-top and set to medium-high heat.  When pan is warm, add olive oil.  Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and sauté 4-5 minutes.
  • Add in the black beans, chilies, and beef broth. Stir to combine and then add the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and bay leaf.
  • Simmer uncovered for about 20-25 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  • Remove from heat. Remove bay leaf from soup.
  • Place soup in a blender. (You could use an immersion blender in place of this step.) Place lid on blender, but remove the stopper in the lid to let heat escape. Place a paper towel over the hole to avoid splatters.
  • Puree soup until completely smooth.  Optionally you could pulse until a semi-chunky soup is achieved. Squeeze in the juice from one lime and pulse to combine.
  • Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings. Serve with extra lime wedges.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, no toppings, Calories: 125kcal, Fat: 2g, Fiber: 8g
Calories: 125kcal
Author: Our Best Bites
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I made this for dinner last night, it was fabulous. Way more flavor than other black bean soups I've tried. I doubled the recipe. I usually like my soup chunky but for this I decided it was better processed very smooth. I didn't like getting chunks of carrot and celery in my mouth. The dallop of sour cream (i used light) is a must. I also added in queso fresco (a crumbly mexican cheese), a squeeze of lime (also a must) and tortilla chips. Fabulous!

  2. Making it tonight but would like some advice on how to do it with dried black beans. I love your recipes. Thank you soooo much!!

  3. Excellent soup! Thank you for the recipe. Two cans of black beans contains about 3 cups of beans. I started from dry beans (cheaper) and had to figure this out!

  4. Just made this soup tonight. We LOVED it! Even my picky kiddos. I'm going to share it with my mom and sisters, and I'm definitely buying your cookbook when it comes out!

  5. I spent a year and a half in the nordeste too and Maceio is soooo beautiful. I can hardly wait to try this taste of my beloved Brasil. Thanks for sharing.

  6. So, I made this for dinner yesterday, and when my husband found out what I was making he sort of grumped around…I don't like beans in soup and I don't like black beans, etc…he ate 3 bowls and told me I could make it again. Totally a winner!

  7. ok, this soup is SO good!! at the beginning i wasn't so sure…but once you blend it together, WOW! so yummy! we just put a little cheese and cilantro on top and it was perfect. (spicier than i expected!)

    this is the second thing i have made from your blog (the first was baked sweet potato fries…YUM!!) and i have loved both. will definitely keep reading and trying recipes!

  8. Just made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! Even my picky 2 year old ate a whole bowl! I add thick pieces of ham to mine and love it! Your girls are the best! I love everything ya'll make!

  9. I tried this recipe last Friday and man oh man. It was delicious! I didn't change anything to it and it came out perfect. I used sour cream and lime flavored Tostito chips on the side, which my husband loved. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  10. My husband served his mission in Brazil and has been searching for a great bean soup recipe. I stumbled across your blog and tried out your soup. We loved it! He said it was perfect. I also love all of your other recipes! Thanks for sharing.

    Kelli in West Virginia

  11. This is divine! Oh my gosh. Thank you! A dollop of sour cream on top really did the trick. Have you ever tried freezing it? My husband and I would have to eat this three meals a day to eat it up in time. 🙂 Although maybe that isn't such a bad idea . . .

  12. I made this tonight and it was amazing! My children are the two worst eaters ever and even they loved it! My husband started thinking about all the yummy things he could use this soup for while he ate it!

  13. I love black bean soup and this is my new favorite of the many recipes I've tried so far. Between my husband and I, we finished all but about a cup of it, though, so it's a good thing my boys had other plans for dinner. Next time I'll be sure to double it. Thanks for a great recipe.

  14. Since I have dry black beans in my food storage and no clue how to use them, I'd be so grateful for some directions on how to make this yummy soup (and also your Quick and Easy Black Beans recipe which I love) using dry beans instead of canned.

  15. Just had this for dinner! It was FINE! I served it over a bed of short grain brown rice and topped it off with avacado, a bit of sour cream and the juice of a lime! I used dried beans with the quick cook method of preparation.

  16. nonitucker- she was 14 (not unusual there) and about 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. So yes, "cute little housekeeper" indeed!

  17. Oh, and I've actually never frozen this one, but I assume it would work just fine.

  18. Sunny- that's a pet peeve of mine too! I try to always include how many cups, but know that if we don't then that just means that it's not really important and it's okay to have a little more or a little less of something.

    And that's weird that I didn't include how much the soup makes because I always measure when I make up soups. You'll probably get 6-8 C though. For whatever reason my soups almost always make that much!

  19. First I would like to say that I like the way you write the ingredients. So many times a recipe will say one medium onion. Whose to say what a medium onion really is. So saying that plus the amount is tops for me.

    Did I miss though how much this recipe makes? Enough for 4 etc or how many cups or qts it makes.
    Can't wait to try this. Would this freeze well?

  20. Has anyone tried this using dried beans? And want to walk me through it? I am trying to be all food storage-y and stuff but I'm kind of clueless.

  21. I just made this soup and sent the link to everyone i know! SO GOOD! I just loved it! MmmMMm. Thank you so much for the recipe- i will probably make this one weekly- well as of now! haha.

  22. This was yummy, but it was too salty. I would eliminate the extra salt as adding broth gives it plenty of salt. A yummy experiment, but I will stick with my black bean soup from allrecipes.

  23. Are you kidding me with this soup?! It is so delicious! My 21 mo. old son who has to be the world's pickiest eater ate 1/2 a bowl. So, thank you for the recipe. Now he can eat something with fiber and protein and not live on applesauce, yogurt and Life cereal. =)

  24. Along with Manda, I also made it with chicken broth, but only because I had chicken base- I had beef bouillon cubes- but after tasting base, I just can't go back. I also did not have green chiles, so I just chopped up a jalapeno pepper (without seeds) and it was absolutely delicious! I love it! Next time, I am going to use less broth and use it as a filling for smothered burritos. Yum! Thanks so much!

  25. Oh my gosh! Thank you such much for this recipe. My husband and I loved it.
    I've always been a fan of Panera's black bean soup, however, my husband could take or leave it. However, he thought this was awesome, and I liked it more too.
    It has a great kick to it. I only blended half since I like my soup a little chunky.
    Thanks!