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 black bean pumpkin soup can be made quickly from things you probably have in your pantry: canned black beans, canned pumpkin, canned tomatoes, onions and chicken or vegetable broth.
Black Bean Pumpkin Soup
Puree the rinsed black beans with the tomatoes and half of the broth in a blender. Use either chicken, turkey or vegetable broth. Homemade is best, as you control what goes into it, like sodium and unnecessary additives. And the taste is the far better than anything store-bought. Make a big batch and freeze it in smaller containers for soups. Its really is worth the effort.
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). Finish with a little Balsamic vinegar. Heat it up and enjoy.
This soup keeps well in the fridge for a 4 days so you can even make it ahead on the weekend and enjoy during the busy week. Make an extra batch. This soup freezes beautifully.
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 Savory Spice Shop online or at a local store. Check their website for locations.
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 Jack or Cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, crushed tortilla chips, low fat sour cream, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, chopped fresh tomatoes and allow everyone to customize their soup with garnishes of choice.
How 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.
How to cook your own pumpkin, from Sally Vargas at Cooking Lessons
Smoky flavors 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. 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.
- 2 15-ounce (425 grams) cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce (411 grams) can diced organic tomatoes
- 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 -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.
- 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.
- In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium low heat. Add onion and cook until soft, and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and 1 minute more.
- Add spices, stir and cook for a minute or two, until they bloom and you can smell them.
- Stir in black bean-tomato puree, pumpkin, the rest of the broth. Simmer uncovered until blended and thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in vinegar and serve. Top with garnishes of choice, as noted above. For an extra smooth soup, give it one more whirl in the blender.