Black Bean Vegetable Soup

Now that it is October, my mind has focused on fall recipes.  My husband has already made the first crock pot roast of the season, and I bought a beautiful organic chicken to make French Chicken in a Pot this weekend.

For my demo this Friday, I knew that it would be an overcast day, so I couldn’t resist putting together a pot of soup.  I wanted to find a recipe that would be easy, yet still use some of the local produce that we have coming in (the carrots, garlic, and onion were all local).  I found a good base recipe on and went from there.  While I was preparing it I made a few tweaks to the recipe and voilà, I had a delicious black bean soup all ready for sampling!

This recipe uses canned beans, corn and tomatoes.  You could absolutely soak some dry beans overnight and use those instead, but part of the beauty of this recipe is that you can make the whole thing in an hour and it tastes like it took all day.  I used Field Day Organic Black Beans, Westbrae Organic Yellow Corn, and Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes (who has a pretty fantastic website).  I also used Imagine Organic Vegetable Stock, but be aware that if you are gluten-intolerant, you may want to use another brand – although there are no gluten containing ingredients in this stock, it is not certified gluten-free like their broths are.

I feel stock tends to be richer in flavor because the ingredients are concentrated.  Stock vs. broth seems to be debatable however, as I found out when I went online to see if there was a definable difference – some cooks/cookbooks feel there is no difference, and some feel that vegetable stock doesn’t exist because a stock is historically meat based and made with the bones (see video for difference as defined by Rouxbe cooking school).  You know your own palette, so make the best decision for your personal tastes!

This was one of my most popular demos – I gave out the most recipes of any demo, and the giant pot I made was gone before the customers were.  I guess shoppers really were ready for some soup!  Get creative with veggie substitutions – I’m always a big proponent of using what you have on hand!

Black Bean Vegetable Soup Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Black Bean Vegetable Soup


1 T olive oil (or other healthy fat)

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 carrots, chopped thinly

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 t chili powder (or more, to taste)

1 t ground cumin

2 1/2—4 c vegetable (or chicken) stock (not broth)

3 15 oz. cans of black beans, drained

1 can of whole kernel corn, drained

1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes

Black pepper to taste


1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.

2. Cook onion, garlic, carrots, bell pepper, and celery, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is just softened.

3. Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, for about a minute—until mixture is fragrant.

4. Add stock (start with 2 1/2—3 cups), one and a half cans of beans, corn, and black pepper.

5. Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Let simmer while you complete the following step.

6. In food processor or blender, combine tomatoes and remaining beans.  (This is also a good time to clean your cutting board and knife).  Add to the pot.  If necessary add (up to) the remaining broth until desired consistency is reached.

7. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 15 minutes (or until carrots are tender).  For best results, simmer for up to an hour.

8. Remove from heat, add pepper to taste, and enjoy!


  • For a thinner soup, add up to 4 cups stock.  You can also decrease the beans to 2 cans.
  • You can use broth in this recipe, but the soup will not be as rich.  If you choose to use broth, increase the spices to compensate, and simmer for at least half an hour.
  • Rice is a nice addition to the soup.  If you choose to add a cup of rice (after step 7), then be aware that you may need to increase the amount of liquid in the soup or it will be very thick.
  • If you rough chop your veggies, you will need to increase the cooking time.
  • You shouldn’t need to add any salt to the recipe, as stock tends to have more salt already in it (compared to broth).
  • This can easily be made on a weeknight—chop your veggies thinly so they cook quickly—if you would like a heartier version, chop your veggies coarsely and cook longer.

Black Bean Vegetable Soup PDF

September Meal of the Month – Low-fat Lentil and Rice Soup

A new month means a new Meal of the Month recipe from our Member Affairs Committee (MAC)!  This month the recipe was contributed by Co-op member Nancy Steele – a tasty, naturally low-fat soup with fresh shiitakes, onions, lentils, and long-grain brown rice.

Tis the season – I was able to use local shiitakes, local criminis, local basil, WA yellow onions, and local garlic in my soup.  This recipe also has some pasta sauce in it, which I thought was an inventive use.  Nancy recommends using Classico Tomato and Pesto sauce, but I think if you already have some in your fridge, whatever you have will work.  I used Rising Moon Tomato/Basil pasta sauce (because we don’t carry the Classico brand at our stores anymore) and it turned out real nice, and was vegan to boot!

Soups are great because you can always add to them over the week (especially with a recipe this large).  Everyone who tried the soup really liked it, and some additions were suggested by customers, including adding lamb meatballs, sausage, vegetarian sausage, tofu, and  hot peppers.  Any of these would be great, and would change the flavor profile enough so you wouldn’t get tired of the leftovers!


Low-fat Lentil and Rice Soup Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

September Meal of the Month

Low-Fat Lentil & Rice Soup


1 –2 T Extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

Salt and pepper

3 –4 large garlic cloves, minced or chopped

1/2 lb shiitake (or crimini) mushrooms, sliced

Large handful of fresh basil, chopped

1 t dried oregano

1/4 t hot red chili flakes (or more to taste)

1 T ground cumin

2 t curry powder

1 1/2 c organic lentils

1 c long grain brown rice, rinsed

10 c water

1/2—1 c Pasta Sauce (Tomato Pesto/Basil)

1/3 c red wine

2 t sugar

2 T brown rice syrup

1 T brown rice vinegar

1 bay leaf


1. In large stockpot, sauté chopped onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until the onion becomes opaque.

2. Add  garlic, shiitakes, and basil.

3. Sauté for several minutes, then add oregano, salt/pepper (to taste), chili flakes, cumin, and curry powder.  Stir well.

4. Turn heat up to medium and stir in lentils.  Continue stirring for 5 minutes, making sure lentils are well coated with the oil/herb/spice mixture.

5. Carefully add (uncooked) brown rice and stir until combined.

6. Stir in water, pasta sauce, red wine, sugar, brown rice syrup, rice vinegar and the bay leaf.

7. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover, simmering for at least 40 minutes, or until rice and lentils are tender.

8. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Note:  The longer this soup cooks, the better it will taste!

LF Lentil and Rice Soup PDF

Soups that have spices in them will be even further enhanced if made the day before and reheated, although you may need to add more water if the rice and lentils have absorbed  most of the water.

Serve with Rosemary bread, naan bread, or the Swan Bakery’s GF Herb Rolls

Nancy Steele © 1996

One note – this may be our last Meal of the Month recipe.  The program has run for a year now, and is currently being reassessed by the MAC.  It may return in November as a slightly different, or possibly a completely different program.  If you have feedback you would like the MAC to have on the program, please forward it to Jean Rogers, the Co-op’s Board Administrator at  She can tell you when the next meeting is, or forward your comments/suggestion to the MAC!