For several years my husband and I followed a vegetarian diet. Although we currently do eat meat and seafood, I learned a lot during my time as a vegetarian. I learned to experiment more in the kitchen; you have to step outside of your comfort zone when you don’t cook with animal products and try something new! I learned that there are many different cultures that have great spices and flavors to offer. I learned that vegetables and whole grains are both filling and satisfying. One of the biggest things I learned was that I love beans. All types, colors, and sizes of beans. I could eat beans every single day and be happy. Black bean soup seems like a natural choice.
I created this black bean soup six years ago when my husband and I started dating. He had recently returned from the trip of a lifetime in Alaska. He had the opportunity to visit some beautiful places and caught a gigantic (276 lbs!) halibut; he was lucky enough to have some shipped home. He told me about a little cafe that he visited and remembered the black bean soup he ordered there. It inspired me to re-create the soup at home so he could remember the great time he had on his trip. It worked; I have been making it ever since…
Note: This version is not vegetarian, but removing the extremely optional slice of bacon does make it vegetarian!
- 1 thick slice hickory smoked bacon (optional)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, small diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp mexican oregano
- 1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 (15 oz) cans black beans, lightly drained
- 2 c. low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp ground chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- salt and pepper, to taste
Heat a soup pot over medium heat.
Dice the bacon into small pieces and add to soup pot. Cook until bacon renders some of its fat and it is crispy. Add olive oil, onion, and green bell pepper; saute 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and mexican oregano and cook for additional 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add fire roasted tomatoes with their juice and stir to combine. Lightly drain cans of black beans and add to pot; you want some of the juices from the black beans, but not all of it. Next, stir in vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Add enough vegetable broth to cover the beans. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine, then serve.
I like to serve this soup with grilled cheese for dipping. If the melty cheese happens to get into the soup it will only make it more delicious. The soup has great textures and a slightly smoky, spicy flavor…simply perfect for a chilly fall evening with your loved ones. Enjoy!