Black Bean Soup (Vegan)


Servings: 6 to 8

  • 16 ounces (1 lb.) black beans
  • 10 cups filtered water (plus water for soaking)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced (optional)
  • Soak beans overnight (I prefer the hot soak).
  • Add rinsed beans to a large pot with 10 cups of filtered water, bring to boil.
  • Reduce temperature to low, cover, and cook for 45 – 60 minutes or until tender, stir occasionally.
  • In a separate pan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the diced onion, bell pepper, and 2 cloves of minced garlic.
  • When beans are approximately 75% cooked, add bay leaf, cilantro, oregano, cumin, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), red wine vinegar, salt, and the sautéed ingredients (i.e., sautéed onion, bell pepper, and garlic), and stir.
  • Remove from heat and remove the bay leaf.
  • Serve with chopped cilantro and fresh avocado (optional).
  • Store in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days (or freeze for up to 3 months).
  • Alternatively, you can add your bean soup to your blender to create “refried beans.” If making refried beans, be sure to let most of the water evaporate while cooking as too much liquid will not result in the desired consistency.

Tips for Cooking Beans

  • Soak beans overnight prior to cooking them using one of the soak methods below.
  • Soaking overnight significantly reduces cooking time.
  • Do not add salt to the soaking water.
  • Prior to soaking, examine the beans and throw away any foreign particles or beans that are discolored or shriveled.
  • Rinse the beans with water to remove any debris and then add the beans to a large pot with 10 cups of fresh water.
  • Bring the beans and water to a boil, then turn the heat to LOW and cover the pot.
  • Since beans soak up water, you may need to add more water during cooking.
  • It is important to add salt and acids such as lemon juice or vinegar after cooking; if not, cooking time may have to be extended due to hardening of the beans.
  • Add tender herbs and spices near the end of the cooking process because their flavors tend to diminish the longer they’re cooked.
  • Do not add baking soda to beans at any time. Baking soda robs the beans of vitamin B1 (thiamin) and may affect the flavor of the cooked beans.
  • The exact cooking time depends upon soaking method, altitude, bean variety, water hardness, and the age of the beans.
  • Generally, most soaked beans will cook to the desired firmness within 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Test bean tenderness by frequently sampling the beans or mashing a bean against the side of the pot with a fork.
  • During the cooking process you may notice a brownish foam developing along the surface and edges of the pan. This is some of the bean protein coagulating and nothing to be concerned about. Simply skim it off or ignore it.
  • When the beans are tender but firm, they’re ready to eat!

Soaking Methods

Hot Soak
  • Reduces cooking time, phytic acid, and produces tender beans (I use this method).
  • Place beans in a pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
  • Heat to boiling and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 8 to 12 hours.
  • Drain beans, discard soak water and rinse with fresh, cool water.
Traditional Soak
  • Pour cold water over the beans to cover.
  • Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight.
  • Drain beans, discard soak water and rinse with fresh, cool water.
  • Cold water starts the rehydration process slowly so beans will appear wrinkled after soaking.
Quick Soak
  • Place beans in a large pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans.
  • Bring to boil and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Drain beans, discard soak water and rinse with fresh, cool water.

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