Black Bean Soup that is pretty darn close to the Panera Bread Version, except for its better.


There isn’t much to say except . . .this is really good.

Like so good, that I’m not even afraid to tell you, I must be a pretty amazing cook.

I told my friend I was making this soup last night, and she said, ” Oh hey! How did the Black Bean Soup come out?”

and I said, “Oh. My. Gawd. Fabulous. It was the best black bean soup ever. Dare I say even better than Panera Bread’s? Yes, I do.  It was awesome. I am awesome for making it.”

Now, I know.

You’re thinking, Damn your cocky.

And I am, but only in things I know what the hell I’m talking about.

My kids.

My husband.

Flat Feet.

Halloween Decor.

The idiosyncrasies of being a lazy gardener and lazy in general.

Thrift Shops

Jellyfish stings (that’S a funny story)

And. . .



So, meekness be damned.

You better make this soup, if you too want to be the most loved individual in your household. Unless you already are, then there are plenty of other reasons to make it.

Like. . .

It’s the Best Darn Black Bean Soup in the Universe.

No lie.


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The pictures could be better. . .

But! In a testament to how good the soup was. . . .

I quickly took pictures with my iPhone while I was making the soup, at like 6 o’ clock at night. KNOWING that in the morning I would reheat it and stage the most lovely of shots with black bean soup ladled into a pristine white cup with crusty bread or tortilla chips along side. Maybe a sprig of cilantro or jalapeno thrown in.

Tho. . .

It was not meant to be.

This is what happens when you cook something so darrn good, your family eats it all up without  ever giving a second thought to saving some for TOMORROW.. There are no leftovers. A WHOLE POUND OF BEANS. . .eaten along side a spinach, zucchini, and ground turkey quiche. All gone.

Thanks goodness I wrote it down, so I can do it all over again today.


BLACK BEAN SOUP pretty darn similar to Panera Bread’s Version, except. . .It’s better.

Panera’s was darker black, I’m sure. But I always throw out the water after soaking the beans (the key to NOT having a family of pooters), which lends to a lighter colored black bean. Also the soup at Panera was thinner. I don’t think they mash their beans to make the soup thicker. But I do. I’m all about the texture, and I like a thicker soup. Just my preference. You totally could skip that step. Otherwise. I think this soup is pretty identical to Panera version, except better, cuz I made it.

And one more thing. Even the baby (Phoebe -5) ate all her dinner. HAPPILY. . And she only eats Skittles. So I think you know where I’m going with this.

  • 1 Pound Dried black beans, soaked overnight*
    1 1/2 Onion, diced
    1 tsp Garlic powder
    1/4 small Bell pepper, diced
    1 rounded Tablespoon Small red banana pepper** (if you like spicier try jalapeño)
    1 tsp Cumin
    Chicken broth
  • 2-3 chicken flavored bouillon cubes
  • Salt, to taste

*No time to soak your beans overnight? No worries! Just throw them in a  pot (covering with water), bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and cover for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, pour out the water and the beans are ready to cook!

Also! You certainly could use drained and rinsed canned black beans. Tho’ they will contain more salt, so add additional salt sparingly.

**A  red banana pepper is just a regular old banana paper that has been left on the plant FOREVER and is no longer yellow, it is red. They come out quite sweet this way, and my kiddos prefer them that way. You can use any pepper you have handy or your very favorite spicy version. Jalapenos work marvelously.

1. Cover beans with water by 2 inches. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Add onion, garlic powder, bell pepper, spicy pepper and cumin. Cook 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender, adding additional water as needed. (I’M WRITING THIS IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT. . .SO I’M YELLING/TYPING IT.  DO NOT ADD ANY SALT OF ANY KIND AT THIS POINT OR YOUR BEANS WILL BE HARD. WAIT UNTIL THEY TURN SOFT IN STEP TWO, THEN YOU CAN ADD THE SALT, THAT INCLUDES CHICKEN STOCK, BECAUSE IT INCLUDES SODIUM EVEN IF YOU BUY THE LOW SODIUM VERSION.)

2. After 1 hour test to see if the beans have begun to soften. Once the have reached the desired level of tenderness, add chicken broth to maintain the liquid level about 2 inches above the beans. Add 2 bouillon cubes (see picture for my FAVORITE brand) and chicken broth to cover.


Continue to cook 30 minutes longer.  Taste for seasong. At this point, I added a 3rd Buillon Cube. But be sure to check first, because you may not require another. If you like a thicker soup, use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon and smash about 1/3 of the beans.



Allow to cook another 15 minutes longer. Test for seasoning. Add salt if desired.  Serve warm.


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