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This 5-Ingredient Soup Shows What Canned Beans Are Capable Of

You’re 30 minutes or less away from a smooth, hearty bean soup.
By Published Oct. 19, 2022

Hearty, filling bean soups–they’re perfect for a cozy weeknight meal, especially with a drizzle of crema or a sprinkle of your favorite shredded cheese

We already know dried beans make the ultimate soups, but they take forever to cook without a pressure cooker, multicooker, or advanced soaking. However, you can emulate the luscious texture and layers of flavor from a traditional bean soup with canned beans. 

And it takes less than 30 minutes. 

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How is this possible? These two tips make all the difference: 

1. Use the canning liquid. When you’re making that soup, don’t drain and rinse your beans! Save the liquid and add it to the soup—it adds body and flavor, reducing the need for a host of aromatics. 

2. Process half of the soup in the blender. The beans will only break down so much with a 5 minute simmer. Processing helps them release their starch to further thicken the soup.

Here’s how to do it.

Easy Canned Black Bean Soup

Serves 4

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans
  • 2½ cups vegetable or chicken broth, plus extra as needed
  • 1–3 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Lime wedges (optional)


Instructions:

  1.  Bring beans and their liquid, broth, and chipotle to simmer in large saucepan over medium-low heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans begin to break down, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2.  Process half of soup in blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Return processed soup to saucepan and bring to brief simmer. Off heat, stir in yogurt and adjust consistency with extra hot broth as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges, if using.

But the flavor doesn't stop there. Our new cookbook release The Complete Modern Pantry, shows you how to take this delicious soup base and level it up.

Add frozen vegetables, amp up the protein by stirring in shredded chicken, or garnish with whatever you have on hand to take it over the top—sprinkle on fresh herbs, crushed tortilla chips, or diced avocado.

How to Adapt the Recipe to Use What You Have

No black beans on hand? No problem. Here are three variations using other readily available canned beans, including canned chickpeas, canned white beans, and even canned lentils. Each soup uses five or fewer ingredients. 

3 variations on bean soups
  • Easy Canned Chickpea and Garlic Soup: Toast 6 garlic cloves in a large saucepan over medium heat until the skins are just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly, then discard skins. Substitute canned chickpeas for black beans, garlic for chipotle, and lemon wedges for lime wedges. Add 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest to blender with soup.
  • Easy Canned White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Soup: Substitute canned white beans for black beans, ⅓ cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes for chipotle, and lemon wedges for lime wedges. Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese to blender with soup.
  • Easy Canned Lentil and Chorizo Soup: Omit yogurt and chipotle. Cook 8 ounces chopped Spanish-style chorizo sausage in large saucepan over medium heat until rendered, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer sausage to bowl; do not clean saucepan. Substitute canned brown lentils for black beans. Add 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar to blender with soup. Sprinkle with sausage before serving.