{Vegan} Black Bean Soup

[I wrote this post a week and a half ago when the internet was out…and am just now posting it. Bad blogger! Nonetheless, read on for fall’s first soup recipe!…]
It’s a risky, suspenseful night to be cooking.  As anyone east of the Rockies knows, summer means epic lightning storms once or twice (or six times) a week.  The power will naturally only go out if you have two pots on the stove and a loaf of bread in the oven. Nevertheless, I tempted fate tonight and churned out a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread, this vegan black bean soup, and some peanutty world peace cookies.
 This soup was a bit of a strike of lightning in its own way.  Our most recent shopping adventure included a trip to Savannah’s new Whole Foods, with its 20 varieties of dried beans (which made my day so thoroughly, one might have thought I’d won the lottery), and a stop at Sam’s Club to pick up supplies for J’s coffee shop.  I scooped up a #10 can of diced tomatoes, because I can’t resist something that’s one-fifth the price of the smaller grocery store cans. 

 So, beans and tomatoes? Sounds like a dead-end if your husband rejects chili or tortilla soup outright, and I spent a good ten minutes searching all my favorite blogs for a solution.  (Black bean & butternut soup, I’ll come back to you later this fall.)  Fortunately, inspiration struck and we had bowls of this quick and tasty soup in no time.
As I was typing this up, I thought about soaking one of those big dried ancho chilies in boiling water, and pureeing it to add in place of the chipotle and chili powders.  That would be great, if you have one on hand.  
And what is smoky tea powder, anyways?  Only my favorite secret ingredient ever!  All gushing aside, it’s a brilliant solution from Sally Schneider’s A New Way to Cook that’s nothing more than smoky lapsang souchong tea ground very finely.  Use it in place of liquid smoke in soups, rubs, and marinades.
Finally, play around with your toppings—anything that you’d eat on chili would be good here: sour cream, cilantro, lime wedges, shredded cheese, crispy tortilla strips, Fritos, etc.
{Vegan} Black Bean Soup
Serves 4
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  2. 2 teaspoons chili powder
  3. 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  4. ¼ teaspoon smoky tea powder
  5. 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  6. 1 tsp. oil
  7. 1 onion, diced
  8. 1 bell pepper, diced
  9. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  10. 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  11. 2 cans black beans (4 cups, including liquid)
  12. 1 can diced tomatoes in juice (2 cups, including liquid)
  13. Cilantro and lime wedges, to garnish
  1. Mix spices (chipotle through cumin) together in a small frying pan. Turn it on to medium heat and stir gently with a spatula for a few minutes, until spices release their aromas. (I know they’re done when I start sneezing.) Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a 6-qt. soup pot over medium heat. When hot, add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until onions become translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add salt, toasted spice mixture, beans, and tomatoes.
  3. 3. Cover pot with lid and simmer 20-30 minutes until beans are tender and flavors have mingled. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  4. Scoop out approximately two cups of the soup and set aside in a bowl. In batches, blend remaining soup in a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender if you have one). Add unblended soup back in, stir, and serve with garnishes of your choosing.
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