Recipe: Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

When held up against the fresh, mouth-watering produce at farmers markets, canned foods can definitely pale in comparison (to say the least). But they have their time and place too!

This soup recipe makes use of a few of our canned pantry staples: black beans, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth. A single piece of bacon adds a subtle smoky flavor and silky texture. And sure, feel free to throw in a few seasonal ingredients to round things out!

Serve this soup over polenta or pasta with sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled over the top. It keeps for about a week and leftovers freeze beautifully for (even quicker) weeknight meals.

Note to Vegetarians: This recipe can easily be made vegetarian by substituting the bacon with a tablespoon of olive oil and the chicken broth with vegetable broth or beer.

Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

Serves 4

1 strip of bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans black beans (4 to 5 cups)
2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar, to taste

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook bacon until all the fat is rendered and bacon is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Add the onion and sauté in the bacon fat until translucent — about 5 minutes. Add the pepper and sauté until sweated — another 5 minutes. Add the garlic and spices, and sauté until fragrant — about 30 seconds.

Pour in the diced tomatoes, their juices, and the chicken broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan to release any caramelized bits. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer over medium-low heat.

Simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer for another 10 minutes. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the cider vinegar, check seasonings, and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar as desired.

Serve in individual bowls and enjoy!

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)