I love the black bean soup at Panera, but I can’t always get to one. I decided to look online for a knock-off recipe and found a decent one on RecipeZaar. It’s not quite the same as the soup at Panera; Panera’s version is vegetarian and the one on RecipeZaar uses chicken bullion. I went one better and used beef stock. I also sautéed the veggies before adding the rest of the ingredients and spiced it all up with some cayenne pepper. Yum! It must have been good because, by the time I ladled out a bowl for myself and came downstairs with it, my husband was ready for a second bowl.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1/4 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cup low sodium beef broth or stock
- 2 (15 ounce) cans low sodium black beans, with liquid
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Sautée onions and celery about 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic and sautée 1 minute more.
- Add beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3 minutes.
- Return heat to medium-high. Add half a can of beans, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Purée soup in blender, or use an immersion blender to purée right in the pot.
- Add the rest of the beans to the soup and return to heat.
- Combine the cornstarch with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water. Add the lemon juice and the cornstarch to the soup. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes longer.
This soup is hearty enough to serve as a main dish, or use smaller servings for a starter dish.