This black bean soup recipe is like stone soup — you’ll wonder how it got so good.
Less than two weeks ago, on December 24, it reached 70 degrees in New Jersey. Back then my biggest problem was being too neurotic to really enjoy the unseasonable heat. Instead of, “Oh! Nice day!” my brain trends more toward Global Warming Trigger Warning territory. Just don’t ask me to say that five times fast. Or really explain what it means.
This morning on the way to school drop-off, the car thermostat topped out at 16 degrees. Fahrenheit. Suddenly every interaction is a static shock waiting to happen and there isn’t enough moisturizer in the world. Suddenly the recessed lights in our kitchen have revealed themselves to be nothing more than fronts for tiny, evil wind tunnels from the sky. Suddenly all I can think about is soup.
Of course, it’s also early January. And although I’m a grownup and often quite reasonable, I’m not immune to the January Reset mentality. (More on that soon — I’m so not immune there’s a guide coming your way.) This hearty, warming soup just happens to be naturally vegan and free of added fats, so it’s a perfect way to ease into the new year on your best behavior without having to try too hard or feel deprived.
Ever since we went to Nicaragua last year, I’ve been wanting to post a simple black beans recipe. We were lucky enough to have someone cooking for us there, and the rich, thickly sauced black beans she made us daily were so flavorful that for a while I wondered whether our crappy Spanish had obscured the fact that we don’t eat meat, or that maybe she thought a little bacon fat slipped in with the onions was vegetarian enough. Back home, I’ve realized that black beans boiled from dry with just an onion, a few garlic cloves and some sea salt — and maybe a green pepper if you’re feeling crazy — simply make their own magic. For this soup, I’ve resisted adding any other seasonings save a little pinch of chili flakes for the tiniest touch of heat. The beans really speak for themselves. I hope you’ll have a listen. See you soon.
Simple Vegan Black Bean Soup Recipe
This recipe is practically Stone Soup. With just a few ingredients and the barest of attention, a hearty, nourishing meal comes together almost like magic. Don't be tempted to soak the beans first or to add any embellishments before trying this soup in its purest form. It may take a little trust, but I assure you it's worth it.
- 1 pound black turtle beans
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 8 cups good vegetable stock (such as Imagine No Chicken) or water
- Pinch of red chili flakes
Give the beans a quick rinse in a sieve.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 90 minutes.
Puree the soup about halfway with an immersion blender, or transfer half the soup to a regular blender and carefully puree it. Stir together the whole and pureed portions and ladle into bowls to serve.