I had a craving for black bean soup but didn’t feel like cooking. I wanted to keep the chopping and measuring to a minimum, so I tried to narrow down black bean soup to its most essential flavors. I came up with a soup that took just a few minutes to throw together and then I could let the Instant Pot do its thing while I took care of other pressing matters. Like walking our new dog…
This is Bandit and he’s a total sweetheart. We adopted him after Herman died suddenly of pneumonia at the end of January. Herman’s death hit me hard, and I’m still not really ready to write about it. It came suddenly and without a chance to say goodbye, and for a couple of weeks, I ran myself ragged working in the house and yard to avoid thinking about how empty the house felt without him.
But one morning, I just decided to look for a new dog, not one to replace him (Herman was a sunbeam–no one could replace him) but to create a new chance to love. I found a Pomeranian rescue organization in Dallas, and after some correspondence, my husband and I drove there to meet some dogs. Three-year old Bandit, who was suffering his own kind of grief since his owner died, seemed like a perfect fit for our cat-filled home, and he became a family member right away. I’m sorry I took so long to introduce him to you!
The Blog’s New Look
I spent all of March working on FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s new look, and I hope you like it. It’s less cluttered, I think, and the Recipe Index is more visual and less list-y. A new feature that is rolling out slowly is the ability for readers to give a star rating to recipes when they leave a comment. I have to add this to each recipe manually, so if you see one that you would like to rate, please leave a comment with the number of stars you’d like to give it (scale of 1 to 5), and I will update that recipe and put the stars in for you. It’s a tedious process that will take a while, and I want to be sure to start with the recipes my readers like the most.
Get Out Your Instant Pots…or Not
As you can see by the title, I used the Instant Pot to make this soup, but it’s definitely not required. You’d follow the same instructions to cook it in a stovetop pressure cooker in about the same amount of time. But if you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can certainly make it on the stove. I added some very general instructions in the notes on the recipe.
I can’t believe how good this soup is for having so few ingredients. Of the optional ingredients, the one I really recommend is the lime juice—it adds a vibrant zing.
I served the soup with tortilla chips that I made in the air fryer. They’re so simple—just preheat the air fryer to 360F, cut up corn tortillas, and toss them in. I set a timer for 2 minutes, shake them and separate any that are sticking together, and then shake them again after another minute. They cook quickly and go from yellow to brown in seconds, so just keep checking and shaking. It usually takes mine 4 minutes.
A Word About Pressure Cooking Beans
It’s almost impossible to give a pressure cooking time that works for everyone because there are so many variables that affect beans: your altitude, the hardness of your water, and the age of the beans themselves (you never know how long they’ve been sitting on the grocer’s shelf). The times below are what worked for me with freshly bought beans, neutral city water, at 328 feet elevation. My beans came out perfectly, but if you are at a higher altitude, you may need to add extra time. Consult this chart for more info.
Simple Instant Pot Black Bean Soup
The beauty of the Instant Pot and other electric pressure cookers is that you can cook dried beans without soaking them first and you don't have to hover over the pot making sure that they don't dry out. In this 6-ingredient recipe, I use boiling water to decrease the amount of time it takes the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 1 large onion diced
- 6 cups boiling water
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 12 ounces frozen corn kernels
- 1 cup salsa
- additional seasonings to taste
- avocado, soy yogurt, salsa, squeeze of lime
- baked tortilla chips
Check over the beans for small stones, misshapen beans, or other debris. Rinse well. Start boiling 6 cups of water while you chop the onion.
Turn your Instant Pot on Sauté (other electric pressure cookers may call this "Brown"), add the onion, and cook until it's softened and beginning to brown, stirring often.
Add the beans, boiling water, cumin, salt, and chipotle chili powder to the pot. Turn off the Sauté function and lock the lid in place, making sure the pressure release valve is set to Pressure. Press Manual to select high pressure. Adjust the time to 30 minutes. Pot will begin coming to pressure and will count down to zero once pressure is reached.
When the pot is finished cooking at pressure, allow the pressure to come down naturally for 20 minutes. (You can either turn it off or leave it on warm.) Turn the pressure release knob to Steam to release the pressure.
Open the lid carefully, angling it away from you so you won't get steamed. Check the beans for doneness. If they are still hard, replace the lid and give them an extra 2 minutes at high pressure. (Check the liquid level first--if it seems dry, add more water.)
Once the beans are cooked, you may blend part of the soup or leave it as-is. (I removed 3-4 cups of the beans with a slotted spoon and used a hand blender to blend the soup in the pot. Then I returned the beans to the pot.) Add the corn and salsa. Add water if it seems dry. Taste the soup. Add extra salt, cumin, and chipotle powder as needed. Set the pot on Sauté and adjust the heat to low. Cook, stirring often, scraping up from the bottom, until it's hot throughout. Serve with garnishes of your choice.
You can easily make this in a stovetop pressure cooker without many changes.
To make without a pressure cooker, I suggest starting with beans that have been soaked overnight. Cook the beans on low until soft, stirring often and adding more water as needed--about 60-90 minutes.
For those of you following Weight Watchers Freestyle, this has zero Smart Points. Check out more of my zero point recipes.
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Thanks for reading, and remember, I have a ton of other pressure cooker recipes that also work in the IP. Enjoy!