What We’re Eating Right Now: Beryl Bender Birch’s Vegan Black Bean Soup

Spice up your fall with this flavorful recipe.

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Beryl Bender Birch’s Vegan Black Bean Soup

Serves 6

This soup is great in the fall and winter. I love the spicy, smoky flavor from the chili peppers—and the sweetness from the tomatoes. Plus, it delivers a huge hit of protein. Savor it on its own, or serve it with a salad, guacamole, corn tortillas, or rice with steamed greens.


1½ cups dried black beans (or 3 cans, 15 oz each)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 quart vegetable broth
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted, diced tomatoes with green chilies (I like Muir Glen.)
1 dried chipotle pepper (or 1 tsp chipotle powder)
1 dried guajillo pepper
1 dried pasilla pepper (If your local grocer doesn’t carry pasillas or guajillos, order them online at
1 avocado
6 cilantro sprigs


In a bowl, submerge dry beans in water, and soak overnight. Drain, and rinse thoroughly. (If using canned beans, drain and rinse before cooking.) Add beans and 6 cups water to a large pot (beans should be covered by a couple inches of water). Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat until beans are soft, about 1 hour. (Keep an eye on it to make sure there is a soupy layer of water in the pot at all times. Add more if necessary to ensure beans don’t burn.)

Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeño, and cook until onions are soft and transparent, about 5 minutes. Turn heat to low, and add oregano and cumin (and chipotle powder, if using), stirring constantly until you smell the cumin toasting, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, add garlic, and stir for 1 minute. Add mixture to beans.

Combine broth, tomatoes, chipotle pepper, guajillo pepper, and pasilla pepper in the pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover, and simmer over low heat, 1 hour. (If you prefer a thinner soup, add additional water.) Carefully scoop out the chilies, and discard them. Transfer mixture in batches into a blender, and pulse to a slightly chunky consistency. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve garnished with avocado slices and a sprig of cilantro.

NUTRITIONAL INFO 241 calories per serving, 6 g fat (1 g saturated), 38 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 9 g protein, 761 mg sodium

See also 8 Light + Delicious Detoxifying Soup Recipes

About the Author 
Beryl Bender Birch, founder of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute and cofounder and board chair of the Give Back Yoga Foundation (GBYF), has been studying and teaching yoga and meditation for over 40 years.