This flavor-packed and totally meal-worthy spicy black bean soup is made with with creamy blended black beans, red peppers and Southwestern spices.
Black beans freak me out a little bit, especially in soup form. See, there are a handful of foods which, the first time I’d eaten them after going vegetarian, gave me an “oh *&%#!” moment. Spicy black bean soup would be one of them. These beans, and for whatever reason particularly when found in soup, have a distinctive savory, meaty flavor. So of course, on that first occasion that I was served vegetarian black bean soup, I thought there was some mistake and I’d just taken a bite of something that had spent hours simmering away in some sport of meat base…or something like that.
This is an interesting and enlightening experience that lots of us go through after turning veg: the recognition that what we think of as “meaty” flavors are often something else entirely. This makes sense to me though, because there are lots of food items that I’d throw into the category of “meat substitutes” and absolutely love the flavor of, despite having never had a taste for the original animal based version. (Case in point: coconut bacon.)
Anyhow, even though I had a moment of panic the first time I tasted this type of soup, I was extra relieved to discover that what I was tasting was not animal based, because boy did I like it. (I have, like most vegetarians, had accidents where I did take a bite of meat, and I’m relieved to say that it never tasted good to me.)
I still have yet to figure out what that flavor is or if it even has a name, but whatever it is, black beans have an amazingly satisfying, hearty flavor that my taste buds perk right up to. That flavor is, in this version of the soup, nicely complimented by spicy jalapeno pepper, an ingredient which you could multiply by as many times as you want, if that’s how you roll. I included cilantro, scallions and avocado all as optional toppings. I suggest you include them all. I think the last time I ate a soup like this it probably had some cheese or sour cream on top. I was pleased to discover when dishing out this vegan version that avocado is way better.
Spicy Black Bean Soup
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth
- 5 1/4 cups cooked or 3 14 oz. cans of black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 4 scallions chopped
- 1 avocado sliced
- Heat olive oil in large saucepan or stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeno. Sautee until onion softens, about five minutes.
- Add garlic, cumin and coriander and sautee for another minute.
- Add 4 cups of vegetable broth and beans. Simmer for ten minutes.
- Remove from heat. Transfer half to food processor bowl (in batches if necessary) and process until smooth.
- Return to pot with the rest of the soup. If you'd like a thicker soup, you can process a bit more. If you'd like it thinner, add a bit more broth.
- Place back over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add bell pepper and simmer for another ten minutes.
- Remove from heat and add lime juice, salt and pepper.
- Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro, scallions and/or avocado slices. I recommend using all three.