When I ran across that bag of dried black beans in the pantry the other day, the overwhelming urge for creamy black bean soup was undeniable. Powered by the flavor of two unlikely allies, chipotle chilies in adobo and red wine and black beans slow-cooked until they almost melt, this is the soup that brings comfortable elegance to dinner with just a few easy steps and minimal ingredients.
Black beans from scratch
It's no secret that I've been on a bit of a cook black beans from scratch bender for that past month or so. If you can fill a pot with water and add some beans, then you can join me on said bender. My preferred method for cooking any beans from dry is to soak them in water overnight. This helps to prevent any indigestion and it helps the beans to cook much quicker too.
When you soak your beans, make sure that you add about 3 - 4 times the water of the beans. To make this creamy black bean soup, for example, you'll start with 2 cups of dried beans, so use a bit enough pot to add about 6-8 cups. You can always add too much – you'll just be draining it the next day.
Now, I will admit that I also tried this recipe using a quick soak method when I got distracted and forgot to soak the night before. To do this, you’ll want to rinse the beans add your 6-8 cups of water and then bring the pot to boil and keep it there for 3 minutes. After that, turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow the beans to sit for 4 hours.
Just like with the overnight soaking method, you’ll drain the beans and rinse them before you start making your soup. Unlike my chipotle black beans, you’ll want to allow a few hours to cook this creamy soup. This allows the beans to really break down so you can mash or puree the soup a bit if you want it even creamier.
How to make creamy black bean soup
The trick with making a great creamy bean soup is all about cooking time. The longer the better. But before we get started adding the beans, we’ll add a few flavor layers.
Once you’ve soaked the beans, drain and rinse them and set them aside so you can wash out the soup pot and use it. Be sure to get everything prepped including the chipotle peppers. You’ll saute the onions and carrots for about 8 minutes before stirring in the garlic. Adding the garlic after the initial saute helps to prevent it from getting scorched and tasting bitter. That’s why we add it after. Of course, if you are doing a super slow simmer (called a mirepoix), you can add the garlic right away. I’m usually not patient enough for that, but it’s another approach you can take.
Add the red wine and let it simmer. Just a cup of red wine added to the onions, carrots, and garlic makes a huge difference in the flavor of this recipe. You could get a similar flavor if you use a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar or maybe a tablespoon of balsamic, but it won't be quite the same. We'll be simmering this for hours, so don't worry, neither the alcohol nor the taste of the wine will overpower your soup. You'll just get a nice depth of flavor.
Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
I added 2 tablespoons of the chipotle pepper puree right into the pot, which turned out to have just the right amount of spice for us; however, you may want to wait on the freezing of any leftover until your soup is finished in case you want to add more. Just keep it in the fridge handy – just in case.
Not so long ago, I made a great batch of creamy chipotle beans with coconut milk and ended up with leftover chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Seriously, I’ve never used an entire can in any recipe. Now that I have more limited access to one of my favorite Mexican ingredients, I have become far more diligent about freezing any leftover chilis.
I like to use a blender or immersion blender stick and just dump the contents of the can and blend it smooth. Then, I use what I need for whatever recipe I’m making at the time and freeze the remainder 2 tablespoons or so in freezer bags. I’ve learned that’s it’s a good practice to take my freezer bags and place them inside yet another bag along with a label and date. It’s never fun when you decided you want those chipotle peppers only to discover that you’ve pulled our frozen Thai red curry paste. Yet another thing I’ve learned from experience.
And the rest
In no particular order, add the beans, oregano, bay leaves, and broth. Give everything a good stir or two so there are not veggies stuck to the bottom. Hopefully, this is mid-afternoon or earlier in your day, because the trick here is to bring the pot to boil so everything is heated through and then lower it to simmer. Cover that pot and allow the soup to simmer for at least an hour, preferably more if you can. The longer you simmer, the more the beans break down and that's what gets us to creamiest soup possible.
Once the beans are well-cooked, you’ll want to remove the bay leaves and then make a decision about how thick and creamy you want your black bean soup. I transferred half the soup to a blender and pureed that smooth then mixed it back into the soup pot. You can also break up some of the beans using a potato masher or heavy fork. If you have an immersion blender stick and your soup pot can handle it, you can puree all of it. This comes down to your texture preference. One thing to note is that after you puree the soup, it may get really thick, so add more broth or water if needed. It will also thicken as it cools, so be a bit mindful that that.
Once you finish the soup, give it another taste and remember, there are more chipotle peppers to add if you want more spice. You can also add the juice of half a lime to sharpen the flavor.
What to serve with creamy black bean soup
I've served this soup as a main dish several times it's great with a variety of toppings. Particularly, it's wonderful with quick pickled red onions or strips of fresh corn tortillas. Chopped cilantro or avocado slices are always welcome. Toppings from vegan sour cream to a few diced red onions – even a quick spicy slaw turns this into a seriously robust meal.
How to reheat
It never ceases to amaze me how filling beans, even tender cooked and pureed beans are. I only managed 1 bowl of this soup, loaded with a few favorite toppings. Good thing it’s easy to reheat right on the stovetop or in the microwave and it keeps for 5 days in the fridge. We ended up eating this great soup two nights in a row, and it was so good I would have been happy to go for three if there'd been any left.
It's occurred to me that over the past month, I've been more 'beans from scratch' focused than usual. That's partially a result of limiting our shopping to twice a week and being sick of having what seems like a million cans to haul to the recycling point. When you balance personal and environmental costs, cooking dried beans has clear advantages. And when you do a bit of planning, like soaking beans the night before, the process is too simple to pass up.
hat might be equally important (at least to me) is just having dinner on the stove, simmering hours in advance of dinner. It probably sounds crazy, but I get a sense of organization. Dinner decision made, the comfort of smelling something nice cooking and time to step back. In my case, that step back is probably my time to conjure up my next bean recipe. This brings me happiness and a few moments of happiness is good medicine. Peace.Print
creamy black bean soup from scratch
Thick and creamy vegan black bean soup is made entirely from scratch with easy ingredients for a healthy comforting get to-the-bottom of the bowl meal.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes (not including bean soaking time)
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Soups & Stews
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Diet: Vegan
- 2 cups dried black beans, rinsed and soaked in overnight (see notes)
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 2-3 Tbsp. chipotle chilies in adobo sauce (pureed)
- 1 ½ Tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 cups vegetable broth (2 quarts) or water plus 4 veggie stock cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Begin this recipe by soaking the beans. Rinse the beans and place them in a large soup pot and cover them with water (about 3 times as much as beans). Soak the beans overnight or do a quick soak by bringing the water to a boil and boiling the beans for 3 minutes. Then cut the heat and cover the beans for at least 4 hours.
- Once the beans have soaked, drain and rinse them and set them aside. Rinse out the soup pot so you can use it.
- Heat the soup pot to medium heat and add the diced onion and carrot. Stir periodically and saute until the veggies start to soften (about 8 minutes).
- Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds, then add the wine to deglaze the pan. Stir the pan to lift any stuck veggies from the bottom of the soup pot.
- Add 2 Tbsp. of the pureed chipotle peppers and mix well.
- Add the beans, oregano, bay leaves and 8 cups of veggie broth.
- Bring the pot to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover the pot and allow the beans to simmer for about 1 ½ - 2 hours until the beans a broken down and the soup starts to thicken.
- Once the beans are tender and have started breaking down, puree all or part of the soup to make it thicker and creamier if desired. Taste and add more chipotle pepper if desired and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once you puree the soup (all or part), heat it through. If the soup gets too thick, you can add more broth or water.
- Serve in deep bowls, and garnish with quick pickled onions, tortilla strips, lime wedges, chopped cilantro, avocado or your favorite Mexican-inspired toppings.
- In case you want to use canned black beans rather than dry, 2 cups of dry beans make 4 ½ cups cooked so you want to use 3 – 15 oz. cans. You will want to reduce the cooking time to about 45 minutes or until the beans fall apart.
- Rather than using prepared veggie broth, you can use 4 veggie stock cubes along with 8 cups of water.
- Creamy black bean soup is great for freezing. To thaw, place it in the refrigerator or start it off by running hot water over it. Because you want the beans falling apart, you can also thaw it in the microwave.
Keywords: Creamy black bean soup from scratch