Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

by Sally on October 16, 2012 · 21 comments

in Beans, Legumes & Grains, Soups, Stews and Chiles, The Daniel Plan, Vegan Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes

In this busy season when days zoom by and temperatures drop, it’s comforting to have an easy, hearty soup recipe in your back pocket. This satisfying soup is two soups in one; black bean soup and pumpkin soup. It can be made quickly from things you probably have in your pantry – canned black beans, canned pumpkin, canned tomatoes, onions and chicken broth. Another benefit – the ingredients are nutritional powerhouses called “superfoods“, so this soup is not just easy and fast, but super healthy.

Easy, Healthy, Fast

Start by pureeing the black beans, tomatoes and half of the broth in a blender. About the broth – you can use either chicken, turkey or vegetable. Links to homemade broth recipes are at the end of this post. To puree soup, I use a Vitamix for it’s power and capacity.  Cook onions and garlic slowly to release their sweetness and flavor. Add spices. Stir in the bean and tomato puree, pumpkin, the rest of the broth, then a little dry sherry (optional) and finish with a little Balsamic vinegar. Heat it up and enjoy!  This soup keeps well in the fridge for a 4 days.

Smoked Spices for a Flavor Twist

For a flavor twist, I use smoked spices – smoked paprika, smoked black pepper and smoked salt. If you can’t find them in your area, you can order them from Chef’s Warehouse at this link. If you don’t have smoked spices, make the soup with the regular paprika, black pepper and salt. If you like smoky flavors, try the smoked spices. They work great in chili and to create your own dry rubs too.

Put out small bowls of grated low fat Jack or Cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, crushed tortilla chips, low fat sour cream, diced avocado, chopped cilantro and allow everyone to customize their soup with garnishes of choice.

As it’s a hearty soup, you can enjoy a big bowl on it’s own or  a smaller bowl with a grilled cheese sandwich, chicken quesadilla or a tossed green salad for a bigger meal.

To Make The Web Design

To make the fun web design, here’s what to do. Use a thinned combination of low fat sour cream, yogurt, or as I did, a combination of yogurt and a little pumpkin puree thinned with water. It needs to be liquid enough to squeeze out and hold shape, but not too thin so it disappears in the soup.

Use a funnel to pour the “cream” into a small squeeze bottle or plastic zip bag with a tiny corner snipped off. Start in the center and swirl circles outward. Next take a chopstick or something similar and pull streams out from the center to create a web.

Practice on a small plate if you need to. This also works with many other sauces, especially dessert sauces for painting a pretty plate.

Note – this recipe has been updated and re-posted from the original post in December 2010. 

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

Smoky flavor plus nutritional powerhouse ingredients of black beans, pumpkin and tomatoes, this hearty soup can be made with things you probably have in your pantry. Better yet, it goes together in just a few minutes. For a vegetarian or vegan version, use homemade vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  If you don’t have smoked spices, use regular black pepper and paprika. Optional garnishes make it fun and customizable for everyone. For an extra-smooth soup, puree it again at the end.

Serves 4-6 (makes 2 quarts)


  • 2 15-ounce (425 grams) cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-ounce (411 grams) can diced organic tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cups (710) ml) low sodium, organic broth of choice (chicken, turkey, vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika (or regular)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked black pepper (or regular)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, or more for more heat
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 15-ounce (425 grams) can organic pure pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
  • 2 -3 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar

Optional garnishes: grated low fat Jack or Cheddar cheese, crumbled queso fresco, diced fresh tomato, sliced green onions or chives, crushed tortilla chips, low fat sour cream, diced avocado, and chopped cilantro.


  1. Puree beans and tomatoes with half of the chicken broth in a large capacity blender, like a Vitamix. If you have a smaller capacity blender you may need to do it in two batches.
  2. In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add spices, stir and cook for a minute or two.
  4. Stir in black bean-tomato puree, pumpkin, the rest of the broth and sherry (if using). Simmer uncovered until blended and thickened, about 15-2- minutes. Add vinegar and serve. Top with garnishes of choice, as noted above. For an extra smooth soup-, give it one more whirl in the blender.

Helpful links on related recipes, tools and information:

For a real kitchen “power tool” I use a Vita-Mix blender. Mine has been going strong for more than 12 years. With a 2 quart container and a 1380 watt motor, it powers through soups and smoothies like a pro. Order here and get free shipping

Another great power tool is the Breville Sous Chef Food Processor. Again, great for it’s 16 cup capacity and powerful motor. You can also puree your beans, tomatoes and broth in a food processor if preferred.

How to cook your own pumpkin, from Sally Vargas at Cooking Lessons

More about “superfoods, links to The Daniel PlanWebMD, and SuperfoodsRX 

Homemade rich turkey broth, vegetable broth, or chicken broth recipes

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This post contains links to Affiliate Programs, where I may receive a small commission for any purchases.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 marla October 17, 2012 at 5:34 am

Such a pretty fall soup Sally!


2 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious October 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

What a gorgeous soup! Will definitely have to try this!


3 Kate October 17, 2012 at 10:52 am

Really unique. I like the sounds of black bean and pumpkin together! :)


4 Katie October 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

What a beautiful photograph!


5 Alexa October 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

This looks so good! I am definitely planning on making this with the fresh pumpkin I bought this weekend! I love your site- I’ll be subscribing!


6 Mary@SiftingFocus October 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Sally, this recipe is my idea of a perfect soup. I’m visiting with my mom for a few days and I know she would love it too. I’m going to make it for her while I’m with her so we both can enjoy it.


7 sally October 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Thanks Mary! Please let me know how you and she like it. It’s one of my favorites, plus so easy and healthy!


8 Carys October 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm

This soup was a hit in our house! I saw your post on the Vita-mix facebook page and once I checked out the recipe I couldn’t get it out of my head so I whipped some up today and it did not disappoint! I added a bit of turmeric and omitted the onion because I don’t eat it. I served it up with left over rice mixed in, sliced avocado, a bit of sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese. We both loved it! Thanks for the recipe! I’ll have to check out your others!


9 Ryan in Colorado October 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Fantastic soup… the only thing I added (beyond the avocado and the chipotle pepper cheddar) is about a cup or so of almond milk. I tend to like creamier soups and in an effort to stay away from dairy whenever possible, I went with a nut milk. I used my Vitamix and it turned out wonderfully– its a definite keeper!!! The wife loved it too and she is picky about soups!


10 Cathy Lawdanski October 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Made this for lunch on this cold day. Topped with a 100 calorie pack of Wholly Guacamole. Delicious! I have been trying to incorporate more meatless dishes into our diet. I also do not like plain beans or their texture, so having a bean soup with pureed beans is wonderful!


11 Betsy @ Anna Nimmity October 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

This looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks!


12 Michelle October 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm

This soup looks amazing and delicious! I would love for you to share this at my Creative Thursday link party. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Have a great weekend.


13 Carol | a cup of mascarpone October 22, 2012 at 2:46 am

I adore black bean soup and pumpkin based soups, but have never had the two together! Why not? This sounds fabulous! I can’t wait to try it!


14 Kay Miller October 22, 2012 at 11:39 am

Love this recipe! And how fun to add the “spider web” design for a festive meal. Need to make a trip to the grocery store today and have added these ingredients to the list. Can’t wait to try the finished product!


15 Jill November 15, 2012 at 6:43 am

I came across this recipe on foodgawker and I have to say that I absolutely love it. I put extra chipotle pepper in there and it was just a tad too spicy but it is SO good. Thanks!


16 Jen January 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Great soup, made today. I used whole chipotles blended with the beans and tomatoes. Wonderful recipe. Thank you!


17 maureen January 15, 2013 at 8:52 am

Could you substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin?


18 Sally January 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

Hi Maureen. I’ve not tried that yet. It will take a bit more time if you want to use fresh squash as it will have to be cooked then pureed. I use organic canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix). I saw organic pureed canned squash at Whole Foods just yesterday and thought about it! Try it and please comment back on how it came out. It should be good as both have a natural sweetness to them.


19 Maureen April 25, 2013 at 6:52 am

Hi Sally….I finally made this soup with squash. Thanks for the tip about Whole Foods carrying the organic pureed can of squash. You are right about the natural sweetness. It was delish! Thanks for the recipe and the help tweaking it!


20 Sonja Reynolds September 30, 2014 at 10:17 am

Great recipe – my entire family loved it (including my 7 month old!)

Two notes:
I sautéed the spices, then just added the rest of the ingredients.
I used an immersion blender after it was all cooked.

I used fresh (whole) tomatoes, and increased the pumpkin and decreased the beans.
(Doubled the recipe, used 3 cans each of pumpkin and beans).


21 Anna Lee September 30, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Just made this and LOVE it! It has a really great taste to it. I couldn’t really taste the pumpkin, which is good for me because I’m not a huge fan. I bet some corn would be a great addition to it!


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