Easy Black Bean Soup — Smoky, savory, creamy black bean soup with roasted poblano peppers and an array of spices for layers of rich flavor! Hearty, comforting, and naturally vegan and gluten-free, this soup makes a great HEALTHY meal or robust starter or side!
Easy Black Bean Soup Recipe
I love black beans and could eat them practically every day. In the winter, there’s nothing for me like a bowl of black bean soup.
Warm, savory, comforting, and full of layers of flavor from the black beans along with roasted poblano chiles, tomatoes, smoked paprika, cumin, Mexican oregano, and more.
This easy black bean soup recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free. It’s health food without tasting healthy!
You can roast your own poblano peppers or use canned green chiles. Either way, this black bean soup is fast and easy to make!
When you load it up with avocado, cilantro, and lime, you’re in for a south of the border treat that the whole family will love.
Ingredients in Black Bean Soup
For this accidentally vegan black bean soup, you’ll need the following easy to find fridge and pantry ingredients:
- Olive oil
- White or yellow onion
- Roma tomatoes
- Vegetable broth (or chicken if not making it as a vegetarian soup)
- Black beans
- Poblano peppers (or canned green chiles)
- Tomato paste
- Smoked paprika
- Mexican oregano or oregano
- Sugar, optional pinch
How to Roast Poblano Peppers
Roasting poblano peppers for this creamy black bean soup is so easy! Just follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Place whole poblanos on a baking sheet and broil at 500F for 3 to 5 minutes per side.
Step 2: Using a tongs, place the broiled poblanos in a gallon-sized ziptop bag, seal, and let steam for about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Open the bag, peel back the skin, and remove the seeds. Dice or slice as desired.
Tip: While your peppers are steaming, start making the soup!
How to Make Easy Black Bean Soup
To make this fast and easy black bean soup, follow these basic steps:
Step 1: Saute the onion with olive oil in a large Dutch oven.
Step 2. Add the garlic and tomatoes and saute.
Step 3: Add the broth, black beans, poblanos, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and simmer.
Step 4: After simmering, add half the soup into the canister of a high speed blender and blend.
Step 5: Return the blended portion of soup back into the Dutch oven and simmer a bit more before serving.
Do I Have to Blend Black Bean Soup?
No, you don’t. However by blending half of it, the texture thickens and it seems heartier and less like eating just a bowl of beans and more like eating soup, if that makes sense.
So blending is something I definitely recommend, although not absolutely necessary.
What Kind of Black Beans are Best in Black Bean Soup?
You’re going to need 30 ounces, give or take, of black beans, which is two average-sized cans. I look for no-salt added or low-salt versions of black beans because I can control the salt content better.
You’re going to drain and rinse any canned black beans for this black bean soup, which does remove some of the salt, but nevertheless I go with lesser salt when possible.
Can I Use Homemade Black Beans?
I made this recipe as a canned black bean soup recipe, but if you have time or have the inclination feel free to make your own homemade black beans. If you’ve got homemade black beans on hand, you’ll want to use about 3.75 cups.
Homemade is almost always better in recipes but in this recipe, because the soup gets partially blended, you lose the texture of the whole bean, and therefore the unique texture to homemade black beans versus canned (which does exist) goes mostly out the window.
So in my opinion it’s not worth the trouble to make homemade beans, but if you find yourself with a surplus on hand this is a fabulous way to use them!
Is Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblano Peppers Spicy?
No, not really. Poblano peppers are very far down on the Scoville scale which is the scale that measures heat in chile peppers. Generally speaking, the larger the pepper’s size, the less spicy it is. And poblanos are big guys.
Tiny little peppers like habaneros or birds eye chiles are very hot, something like a serrano, and then a jalapeno are lesser, and poblanos are even less hot and lower down on the scale.
Coupled with the fact that you’re removing the seeds from the poblano peppers, and adding beans and other vegetables which also tones the overall heat level of the soup down.
Toppings for Black Bean Soup
Black bean soup is just ripe for loading with toppings. Some of my favorite toppings for easy black bean soup include:
- Limes and lime juice
- Sour cream (veg-friendly versions or regular)
- Shredded cheese (regular or veg option)
Recipe Substitutions to Try
- Shredded chicken (this and the following suggestions imply obviously if you’re not keeping the soup vegan)
- Cooked diced sausage like a kielbasa or bratwurst sausage is an option
- As is bacon or cubed ham
- If you don’t want to roast poblanos, use two 4-ounce cans diced green chiles
How to Store Black Bean Soup
Most soups keep quite well, and this black bean soup from scratch is no exception. I think that soups get better after a day in the fridge actually as the flavors marry and meld together.
It will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Tips for the Best Black Bean Soup
Soup of any kind is all about flavor balance. Many times, that comes down to how it’s seasoned and salted. Do not be afraid to salt this soup.
If you used no or low-salt black beans, and no or low-salt vegetable broth, you are going to need to add a hefty quantity of salt in order for the soup to have flavor.
This is especially true in plant-based recipes where you really need to maximize and play up nature’s bounty by seasoning it properly. If you feel like it needs more cumin, salt, pepper, go for it.
I think Mexican oregano has a more citric-based flavor so it works well with the lime. Although regular is fine if that’s what you have.
Smoked paprika is just a key ingredient for me in my easy black bean soup because it gives the smoky depth of flavor, in conjunction with the roasted poblanos, that really gives great body to the soup.
This is a case where I would say pick up the smoked paprika rather than just going with regular paprika.
Finally, it’s not for everyone but anytime I make soups or sauces that have a fair amount of tomatoes in them, I add a pinch of sugar. It helps to neutralize the acidity of the tomatoes as well as from the poblano peppers and balance the soup.
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- 2 poblano peppers; scrubbed well, roasted, seeded and diced* (See Notes)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup yellow or white onion, diced small
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 3 cups vegetable broth, more if needed (I use low or no-salt added; chicken broth may be used if not keeping soup vegan)
- 30 ounces black beans**, drained (I use low or no-salt added; See Notes)
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (highly recommended although regular may be used)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (regular oregano may be substituted)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- pinch granulated sugar, optional and to taste
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves removed
- 1-2 limes, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ½ cup sour cream
- Preheat broiler to high and place one oven rack on the top rung.
- Wash and pat dry the poblanos, place them on a baking sheet, and broil each side until blackened, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Tip - Use good oven mitts and a long tongs when flipping them and removing them from the oven since this is a very hot oven.
- Using your tongs, immediately place the roasted poblanos in a gallon-sized ziptop bag, seal it, and allow the poblanos to steam for 15 to 20 minutes. While that's happening, start making the soup.
- To a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the olive oil, onions, and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Add the tomatoes, garlic, and saute for about 2 minutes; stir nearly constantly.
- Add the broth, black beans, the roasted poblano peppers OR if using two cans diced green chiles, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper, bring to a simmer and allow soup to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add half the soup to the canister of a high speed blender, and puree until smooth. Return that portion back to the Dutch oven.***
- If the soup seems too thick for you, add an additional cup of broth at this point.
- Taste for flavor balance and if necessary add more salt, pepper, cumin, etc. Tip - Do not be afraid to salt the soup as it's vegan and if you used low salt broth and beans, it will likely need more salt.
- Optionally, and if desired, add a pinch of granulated sugar to cut the acidity from the tomatoes, tomato paste, and poblano peppers.
- Top with your favorite toppings. For me, a squirt of lime juice, fresh cilantro, and avocado are essential. The lime and cilantro really add additional flavor and shouldn't be skipped.
- Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
*If you aren't going to roast your own poblanos, you can use two 4-ounce cans diced green chiles instead.
**If you’ve got homemade black beans on hand, you’ll want to use about 3.75 cups.
***Use caution when blending hot liquids by leaving room for steam to escape at the top of the lid (modern day Vitamix's and similar you don't have to worry too much but old school blenders, be more careful and cover the vent hole with a kitchen towel rather than sealing it in place).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 1007mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 21gSugar: 8gProtein: 20g
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