Black Bean Chili: Easy Vegetarian Soup

Make extra of this to store in the freezer for quick last-minute meals; healthy, nourishing, economical, and tasty. Freeze portions in plastic wrap, and microwave later for soup or burritos. Add tortillas, perhaps avocados, cheese, and tomato, for a simple dinner.

(See notes below for a variation, using Pinto beans.)

Grateful-Table-Black-Bean-ChiliMany recipes call for canned black beans, but it’s easy to start them from scratch. Dry beans are most economical too, and organic beans are often available at health food stores. This recipe starts out thick; just add water when heating up, to desired thickness. Leave off any dairy products to make it vegan, or top with grated cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped tomatoes as desired. This mix is versatile; use for burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas. Serves 7-8.


  • 1 lb. black beans
  • 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions
  • 2 TBS. minced garlic
  • Olive oil for sautéing onions
  • 1/4 c. dry basil
  • 1/4 c. dry oregano
  • 2 TBS. cumin seed
  • 1/2 c. tomato paste
  • 1 TBS. salt
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • Optional: Grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and cilantro


1. Bring to a boil, then simmer 1-2 hours, until tender: > 1 lb. black beans > approx. 2 qt. boiling water

2. Strain cooked beans, return to pot and mash, leaving some beans whole. A potato masher or immersion blender works, or put on an oven mitt, cover that with a clean plastic bag, and mash the drained beans by hand. Set aside. In iron skillet, saute’ the following on medium heat until tender (an hour or so): > 3-4 c. chopped yellow onions > 2 TBS. minced garlic > olive oil (about 3 TBS.)

3. Meanwhile, in a hot, dry skillet, stir the following until toasted, setting aside when done: > 1/4 c. each, dry basil > 1/4 c. each, dry oregano > 2 TBS. whole cumin seed

4. Finally, mix the following all together: > Cooked, mashed beans > Sauteed onions and garlic > Toasted herb mix > 1/2 c. tomato paste > 1 TBS. each, salt and paprika > 1/4 tsp. cayenne

5. For Chili, add water to achieve desired thickness, sprinkling w/ grated cheddar cheese and sour cream, or use as is in burritos, etc.


For variety, substitute pinto beans (or other favorite) for black beans. Substitute 2 TBS. chili powder for the oregano, basil, cumin seed, cayenne and paprika. A delicious side dish (like healthy-style refried beans), or a comforting, nourishing soup (just add water).

2 Responses to “Black Bean Chili: Easy Vegetarian Soup”

Leave a Comment