Healthy & Delicious: Black Bean Soup Recipe

Healthy and Delicious

Healthy and delicious recipes from Serious Eats

Healthy & Delicious: Black Bean Soup Recipe

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson Sturt of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

[Photograph: Kristen Swensson Sturt]

Maintaining a healthy diet is difficult under any circumstances. When you're moving, it's nearly impossible. Your home is a mess, your cooking gear is packed, and takeout is just so much easier.

And you know what? That's OK. During major upheavals, it's okay to deviate from the normal scheme of things, and your eating patterns are no exception. Go ahead and order that pizza. Get the General Tso's combo platter. Indulge in an extra California roll. You'll need the energy, anyway.

However, if you'd like to maintain some semblance of health during a move, this black bean soup is a stellar option. Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, it's excellent under any circumstances, but particularly good for movers. Here's why:

  • It's made almost entirely from pantry ingredients.
  • It's quick, high in fiber, and requires just a few pieces of kitchen equipment.
  • It gets rid of several cans of food, which you then don't have to move.

That last one sounds minor, but trust me; after hauling 90 packed-to-capacity boxes up three flights of stairs, any relief is welcome relief.

Having made some version of this particular soup multiple times, I find I like it better with less broth, fewer onions, an added shallot, and more beans. Those changes are reflected below, as is the inclusion of pink beans, which were added for variety (and, honestly, because I only had one can of black beans). For added fun, top it with a fried egg, cilantro, sour cream, or any food you need to use up before Operation Packing Tape.

  • Yield:3 to 4
  • Active time: 5 to 10 minutes
  • Total time:30 to 35 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 cup pink beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • A few ounces 2% cheddar cheese, grated (optional, but preferred)


  1. 1.

    In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and shallot. Sauté until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add black beans, pink beans, and broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

  2. 2.

    In a blender or with an immersion blender, carefully puree about half of soup until smooth. Return to pot and stir to combine. Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, with cheese sprinkled over top.