This nutritious black bean soup has all the fresh vegetables of a salad with the warmth and comfort of a bowl of soup and is delicious too!
Well, after three weeks of posting other people’s recipes, I’m back with one of my own. It was a lot of fun cooking dishes that had already gone through the testing process and learning more about cooking in general (and slow-cooking in particular) from three expert cooks. In the process of posting the reviews and reading your feedback, I learned some very surprising things, not just of the cooking variety (like baby limas taste great in guacamole–who knew?!), but about you, the readers of this blog.
My last review, of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, was especially enlightening because I had no idea that so many near-vegans, non-vegans, and not-even-close-to-vegans were reading my blog. I’m thrilled to have you here!
Wherever you are in your eating choices, whether you feel you’re on a path toward veganism or are simply trying to eat fewer animal products, I’m glad you’re interested in vegan cooking and I’m happy that you’ve chosen to get your recipes from this site. It makes me think I should do some “Vegan 101“-type posts. Anyone interested? (I’m considering one called “WTF is Nutritional Yeast?” which is a comment I received on Facebook recently.)
On to the recipe: Fall is finally starting to arrive here in the South, or maybe it’s just the idea of fall that comes when you look at October on your calendar and see in your mind’s eye yellow leaves whirling in a chilly breeze and, if your mind’s eye somehow has the sense of smell, the distant aroma of chimney smoke.
Though there’s been none of that here in Mississippi (the first truly chilly temps are supposed to arrive tonight), I’ve been content to imagine that it’s fall and to eat accordingly. Suddenly the huge salads I’d been eating for lunch are just not appetizing, and though it could be 85 degrees at noon, I’ve been drawn toward soups.
With this black bean soup, I’ve tried to combine the best of both worlds–all the fresh vegetables of a salad with the warmth and comfort of a bowl of soup. I’ve even added chopped lettuce at the end so that it’s close to salad in a soup. It’s a great one-pot meal (if you eat two bowls of it) that contains the colors of fall.
Eat the Rainbow Black Bean Soup
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 jalapeno chile stemmed, chopped , seeded and finely diced (add more or less to taste)
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper chopped
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small red cabbage or 1/2 large cabbage, chopped
- 6 ounces mushrooms quartered
- 2 cans cooked black beans or 3 cups, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano or regular oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder or for smokiness without heat use smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon regular chili powder
- generous grating of black pepper
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 5 cups vegetable broth (or water plus 2 servings bouillon)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups chopped lettuce or spinach
- salt to taste optional
- In a large pot or pressure cooker, saute the onions until they soften. Add the peppers and carrots and cook for another two minutes. Add the garlic and remaining vegetables and cook for another two minutes.
- For regular cooking: Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, adding additional water or vegetable broth as needed to keep a soupy consistency. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt.
- For pressure cooking: Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, remove from heat, and allow pressure to come down naturally. (If pressure is not down after 15 minutes, use a quick-release method.) Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt.
- For slow cooking: Place sauteed vegetables and all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt into slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt and add additional seasonings, if necessary.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Diana JNovember 19, 2011 at 6:46 pm
Getting back on the Eat to Live plan after a bender involving cookies and some other processed foods, this soup was exactly what I needed. I replaced the fresh jalapeno and the chipotle powder with a couple of chopped chipotle (in adobo) peppers. That added some nice heat and smokiness. I also used fire-roasted diced tomatoes, which contributed even more depth to the flavor. This is a real winner, and I look forward to enjoying a few more meals from this batch. It really makes a good amount, which I love.
LindaNovember 27, 2011 at 7:21 pm
Made this antioxidant, flavor bomb for dinner tonight. Nice redemption for a holiday weekend of overindulgence. We LOVE it!
dulcenevesNovember 30, 2011 at 6:29 am
Uau! In my very Mediterranean mind, it was impossible to accept any cooking without olive oil… I stand corrected!
This soup is absolutely delicious. Thanks
JimDecember 6, 2011 at 8:53 am
Eat The Rainbow was my first recipe from your site and it was amazing. Absolutely loved it. Perfect spice and amazing blend of flavors.
Susan VoisinDecember 6, 2011 at 9:05 am
I’m so glad to hear that! I hope you’ll be trying more!
ARSJanuary 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm
I made this soup last night and felt that the 1 tbsp of chili powder was overpowering. It completely covers up the other spices and the taste of the vegetables. Next time, I will reduce that amount by half or more.
Alisha SauerJanuary 20, 2012 at 10:17 am
I’d love to read any Vegan 101 type posts you would write! I’m trying to eat less meat, and serve vegan meals a few times a month, and your site has been really invaluable to me. It’s my go-to recipe index!
Elaine GibsonJanuary 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm
Made the soup. It’s really tasty. The combination of spices generally used for chili made a unique vegetable soup.
LainaJanuary 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm
Wow! So love this soup!!! And so easy!!! I only had ¹/² of à small green cabbage so I used some adult Bok Choy with it. Thank you so much for a delightful dîsh!!!
NathanJanuary 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm
I made the crockpot version of this today and was so happy with the results! I added a head of red lettuce before serving. I live alone, and usually freeze soups, has anyone tried to freeze this? I’ve never made a soup with lettuce, and not sure how that will work.
Esther JApril 17, 2012 at 8:47 pm
First, let me say…lettuce in salad? Never had it, never heard of it, but cups of red leaf worked nicely for me in this very tasty soup this evening.
A few adjustments based on suggestions from other commenters: I added 1 T of cocoa powder and also some cornstarch to thicken it a bit. It was served with corn tortillas (w guac) and spicy sweet potato fries.
All bellies involved were well satisfied.
Thanks yet again, Mrs. Voisin!
Esther JApril 17, 2012 at 9:09 pm
I forgot to mention that I added quite a bit of cilantro at the end with the lettuce. Yummy!
Esther JApril 18, 2012 at 11:58 am
‘just realized (as I’m eating of my lunch of “lettuce in salad”) that I had a little brain hiccup in my original post. Of course, it should’ve read “lettuce in *soup*”. 😉
Radhika SarohiaAugust 28, 2012 at 2:56 am
Just bought some black beans earlier today, I will be making this soup soon, the green pea soup from here turned out great
DonnaAugust 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm
I made this black bean soup for dinner tonight. Delicious! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.
DawnOctober 22, 2012 at 9:06 am
I’m a near vegan (I’ve been calling myself a “home vegan”) who loves your website! I also recommend it to any non-vegans who will listen, especially for your impressive low-fat baking recipes.
Pucca LoveOctober 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm
This was soooo so delicious !!! My husband wants me to make it more often !! The I used water instead of broth and omitted the jalapeno so my daughter would be able to eat it…she tried alright ! but because my husband insisted that I put 1tbsp of chipotle powder… the soup ended up sooo spicy HOT ! I had to make my daughter a different meal…She liked the flavor a lot though..I promised I would make another one really soon with not spicy stuff at all…haha…the poor thing..she was really looking forward to her beans soup !! It was FANTASTIC !! I had 2 servings so did my husband…I didn’t realize it would get so spicy ! Lesson learned !\ haha
Thank you so much for the recipe ! It’s a favorite !
OdinJanuary 25, 2013 at 12:30 am
We loved this recipe! Even the non-vegans that came over tonight were oohing and awing over it!
I did add fire roasted tomatoes and both 1/2 tsp of chipotle chili poweder and 1/2 tsp smoke paprika to ensure I got a smokey taste that the brings the meat eaters over to the other side.
Also, we get a weekly box of produce so substituted the red cabbage with Bok Choy I was worried was going to go bad. I’ll be making this dish often when my husband’s guys friends come over to jam.
MelindaJanuary 26, 2013 at 2:15 pm
Wonderful, satisfying soup! I used rainbow chard to enhance color and added fire roasted corn which sweetened it just a touch. My partner gobbled up two huge bowls and we swore to make it often this winter. I also added cilantro stems to cooking and chopped leaves on top. Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!
emJanuary 29, 2013 at 7:22 am
I LOVE this soup!!!!!! I will be making it again and again. I see that it makes 8 servings and so was wondering how much a serving was- since we had some it is hard to figure it from our leftovers. I was not sure if it was a cup or 2 or somewhere in between. Thanks for answering that question- it is just that I am back to tracking my food a bit to see where I am at.
JoeApril 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm
a fat free vegan here, and I’ve recently discovered your blog in the past month or so. Great recipes, this weekend I made your roasted asparagus,chickpeas and potato salad to go with two other bean salads . It was tasty, easy to make and my wife and I enjoyed it. Thanks, I’ve muddled through many blogs and sites that purport to be both vegan and fat free. You get it.
KarenOctober 2, 2013 at 10:03 am
Last night I was tired, hungry, and the meal I had planned was going to take more energy than I could harness. So did a search for vegan one pot meals. This soup was on the top of the list and we had most of the ingredients on hand. Only had green cabbage not red and no spinach or lettuce. Added a chopped zucchini. My husband and I each had big bowl for supper and he took some for his lunch. Quick, easy, tasty, and will be added to my growing collection of your wonderful recipes for future soup nights. thank-you
debOctober 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm
This is great soup–filling and nutritious. Enjoy.
GerdaJanuary 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm
This is now my go-to site when I have any problems with a dish. We’ve only been fat-free vegans for about 9 month, mostly for my husband to help reverse his heart disease and it has made a ton of difference. No more chest pains for him at all and he lost 55 lbs., while I only lost 23 lbs. That’s mainly because I cheat, I have a hard time giving up my butter. Any good advice would be appreciated.
A few days ago I made an absolutely easy and delicious split pea soup. Definitely a keeper. Here it is:
Split Pea soup Makes about 2 quarts. very good!!!
2 c. dry split peas 2 qts. vegetable broth
1 c. chopped celery ¼ c. + chopped onions
½ c. diced carrots 1 bay leaf
¼ t. thyme salt and pepper to taste
Wash and sort peas carefully. Add broth. Bring to boiling, simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Add vegetables, bay leaf and thyme; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 2 ½ to 3 hours or until peas are soft. If desired, put soup through food mill, blender or sieve. I did not!
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Hope you like it as much as we did.
IndigoJune 9, 2014 at 10:12 pm
I haven’t even finished the recipe, and my boyfriend loves it! Thank you for this amazing recipe!
Kathryn MarmionNovember 2, 2014 at 3:18 pm
Hi there – and thanks for all the great FB postings. I love your recipes. I also love the way you adapt your recipes for slow cooker as well as oven/stove top methods. As a newby to fat-free cooking/eating (heart event in June was a game-changer) I am anxious to expand my repertoire with some holiday fare. I have never had to do Thanksgiving or Christmas with no added fat/oil so hope that you might point me in the right direction for finding recipes to make. Maybe you’ve posted some over the years? Thanks for all you do.
Kathryn MarmionNovember 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm
Ignore my previous question as I just found your recipe index so I’m sure holidays will not be a challenge now. Thanks!
NicoleJanuary 11, 2015 at 1:13 pm
Is a serving one cup?
CheryJanuary 18, 2015 at 3:55 pm
Usually 2, unless ur doing a huge pot luck
CheryJanuary 18, 2015 at 3:54 pm
In one of the chemistry labs we used cooked red cabbage juice in place of litmus paper to determine whether sth was acidic or basic, and the juice smelled AWFUL! Personally I believe red cabbage should be eaten raw. I would add it last along with the lettuce.
Wendy WismerOctober 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm
I think a vegan 101 is a great idea. I am vegetarian with leaning towards veganism and would love some basics!
SarahOctober 26, 2016 at 11:11 am
I follow your blog and love your recipes so much. When I first went WFPB, they were my port in the storm of the new cooking learning curve.
I recently stumbled on a new obstacle, perhaps you have a thought? I spent days sprouting black beans, then popped them into the instant pot with a bunch of other ingredients for a chili. They got horribly mushy and deformed. How can I get them into a iPot recipe without destroying them? Do I have to cook them separately then add?
Thanks in advance. Keep on cooking girl!
Susan VoisinOctober 26, 2016 at 11:21 am
Thanks for the kind words, Sarah! This is just a guess because I haven’t sprouted black beans, but I think you’re right that you’ll probably need to cook them separately or only cook them with very fast-cooking foods. Somewhere on the internet you may be able to find the optimal cooking times for sprouted beans; if you know that, you could probably reduce the time to half or less for use in the IP.
SarahOctober 29, 2016 at 12:08 pm
Thanks Susan 🙂 I’m gonna give it a go with this recipe next week and I’ll let you know how it went. Cheers!
LorettaOctober 31, 2016 at 9:41 pm
Just finishing a 10 day cleansing fast(lemon, maple syrup& cayenne) Surprised that I haven’t felt physically hungry, but psychologically been craving solid food for a couple days. Leaning heavily toward a vegetarian diet–not willing to give up fresh salmon or eggs, but time will tell.- Can’t wait to try your soup recipe. What’s your take on sprouting beans before cooking them?
DharmaJanuary 1, 2017 at 9:07 am
Can I freeze this soup?
Susan VoisinJanuary 1, 2017 at 9:27 am
Yes, it should be ok to freeze it.
Linda O'DellJanuary 14, 2017 at 1:29 pm
What do you mean by the term “lettuce”. Are you referring to the spinach? or the cabbage?
Susan VoisinJanuary 14, 2017 at 1:43 pm
I gave a choice of lettuce or spinach. The lettuce can be any type you like. I used romaine. The cabbage is a separate ingredient.
Julie BoyerFebruary 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm
I am trying to loose weight from some Steroids I had to take for a skin condition. I gained 40 lbs and now can’t seem to loose it… and beans are so gassy what can a person do to remove the gas from eating healthy… But if I had someone help me by providing good healthy meals that don’t leave you hungry 1 hr after eating, It would sure would be most helpful…
LeslieApril 1, 2017 at 7:27 pm
Fabulous! We need to watch sodium, and this was perfect! I crumbled on some toasted corn tortillas, and added chopped cilantro and green onions and some balsamic vinegar to each bow. Delicious! Thank you!
ReggieJune 29, 2017 at 11:08 pm
Parents in omnivore families love vegetarian and vegan blogs because they often appreciate the creativity of the bloggers that make veggie sides and veggie main dishes more palatable to children. I love that you embrace the diversity of your readership. I also love that you followed up with the post on nutritional yeast, because that Google keyword search led me to that post, and then to this appetizing recipe.
My son is allergic to shellfish and some, but not all, regular fish. I have developed a sensitivity to beef and pork (my symptoms are gastro-intestinal, and unpleasant enough to be a deterrent). The only meat that leaves for our household is poultry, and nobody wants to eat the same ingredient every day, so I’ve been looking for tasty and filling meatless recipes to help keep our family meals diverse in variety and flavors.
NoreenOctober 31, 2017 at 8:28 am
I made this soup this morning and it’s absolutely divine!! Thank you Susan for inventing and sharing it 🙂 Only changes I made were I added some celery and threw in some corn. No lettuce or cabbage, but added some Kale that I needed to use up. So delicious! So healthy! 🙂