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Healthy soup for any time of year

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Brooke Reale

This black bean soup recipe has been in rotation on our dinner menu for many years. The last time or two I’ve made it, I started using a Dutch oven instead of my regular stockpot. I didn’t think anything could make it taste better, but that does! 

I add about a tablespoon of chopped ancho chilis and substitute cayenne pepper for black pepper to give it a tad more spice. The lime juice adds the perfect flavor punch! 

This recipe could easily be vegan, if preferred, by leaving out the bacon and substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth.

HEARTY CLASSIC Black Bean Soup can be served in a variety of ways by alternating toppings like sliced avocado, diced tomato, chopped cilantro, shredded cheese or tortilla chips.

Classy Black Bean Soup

  • 4 (14.5 ounce) cans of black beans, divided
  • 6 slices (8 ounces) bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 ¾ cups)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper or 1 large poblano pepper, seeded, stemmed, and diced small
  • 4 tsp. minced garlic (about four cloves)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans low sodium chicken broth, divided 
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (regular or ancho)
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

Toppings (optional) when serving: shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese, diced avocado, diced Roma tomatoes, chopped cilantro, tortilla chips. 


Place one and a half cans of black beans in a food processor, along with one-half cup of chicken broth. Pulse until well pureed. Rinse remaining two and a half cans of beans in colander. Set all black beans aside. 

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, tossing occasionally. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving rendered bacon fat in the pot. Add onions and bell or poblano pepper in the pot and sauté for three minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, and cumin and sauté for another minute. Stir in remaining three cups of chicken broth.

Add black beans and tomatoes and season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cooked bacon, lime juice, and cilantro, and serve with desired optional toppings.

Brooke Reale and her husband, Rob, own and operate Kitchen Sink on Main Street in Franklin.