Black Bean and Grilled Vegetable Soup

Now that we're in the depths of winter, Dave and I are pretty much subsisting on soup. I need to be warmed from within! This Black Bean and Grilled Vegetable Soup is just the thing for long, cold, dark winter nights.

This is a soup that I make again and again throughout the winter. It's just so wonderfully warming, delicately spicy, and hearty. Each time I make it, it ends up a little bit different based on what veggies I have around and what sort of spices I'm in the mood for, so I'd suggest looking at this recipe as a guideline and interpreting it in whatever way works for you.

The magic of this soup is the grilled vegetables. They provide so much more flavor than if the veggies just cooked in the soup directly. Yes, it's a bit of a pain, and yes it takes more time. But I promise it's 100% worth it. Please have faith in the grill and give it a try! If you're really intrepid, you can grill outside, but I do it all on a grill pan and recommend that for ease (and for not dying of hypothermia).

Here's the most important tip. You're going to be standing over the stove for a while, grilling all these veggies while the soup simmers away. Embrace it! Put on some music and make yourself a ginger margarita. This is what winter evenings are made for! If you grill the veggies in order of hardest to softest, you can just drop them right into the soup as you go and won't need to dirty a bunch of different prep bowls.

I think my love of black bean soup actually originated at Panera, long ago when Panera first came on the scene. I grew up in rural Vermont and had never seen anything like a Panera; the huge selection blew my mind. While I haven't been to one in years, I definitely credit them with the inspiration behind this soup.

But ssshhh, don't tell Panera, I think mine is way better. It's loaded with colorful, grilled and fire-roasted veggies, yielding a huge diversity of textures and flavors. Plus I like to keep some of the beans whole while pureeing others, providing even more texture and diversity. So I guess this is like a Panera black bean soup that went on an awesome Mexican vacation and came back home all inspired and exciting.

Don't forget all the fun toppings! I like to serve this with some combination of fresh toppings (cilantro, tomato slices) and crunchy toppings (pepitas, tortilla chips), and creamy toppings (avocado, greek yogurt). Cornbread is lovely with it too.

One other tip. If you really want to take this soup over the top, serve it in a roasted kabocha squash bowl. It's like soup in a bread bowl but a million times better, and the spicy black bean soup is the perfect complement to the sweet, roasty squash. This would be a stunner at a dinner party, maybe with a toppings bar??

Hope this one keeps you warm and cozy all winter long!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Looking for another super comforting, subtly spicy meal for the coldest winter evenings? I love this Butternut Squash, Black Bean, and Wheatberry Chili.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • Two medium-sized red onions
  • Oil of choice for sauteeing and grilling
  • Cumin seed (start with a tbsp). Powder is okay too, but I love the whole seeds. If you decide to use powder, add it in at the same time as the other powdered spices.
  • Chili powder (start with a couple tsp)
  • Coriander (start with a tsp)
  • Paprika (start with a tsp)
  • Ancho chili powder (start with half a tsp) 
  • Cayenne pepper (start with a dash)
  • Pour of tequila for deglazing. Optional but awesome.
  • 4-5 c vegetable broth. This soup is so flavorful that water works totally fine too. 
  • Two 15-oz cans of black beans, divided
  • Generous sea salt and pepper
  • Mexican oregano (start with a tbsp)
  • Zest of a lime
  • Sweet potato
  • Cup or two of corn. Either full cobs or frozen kernels is fine.
  • Couple colored bell peppers
  • Juice of a lime
  • Handful of fresh cilantro
  • Garnishes of choice. I like to use chopped fresh cilantro and roasted/salted pepitas. Maybe a few tomato slices? Avocado? A spoonful of sour cream or unflavored/unsweetened yogurt?
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Take ONE of the red onions, dice it up, and caramelize it in a large soup pot. I like to use coconut oil or olive oil. Salt and pepper it liberally.
  2. When the onion is caramelized, add the cumin seeds and toast for a minute, stirring frequently.
  3. Add all the powdered spices and toast for another minute, again stirring frequently.
  4. Bonus points if you deglaze the pan with a few shots of tequila!
  5. Add vegetable stock or water (maybe 4 cups to start) and start bringing everything to a boil.
  6. As the soup is heating, add in about two thirds of the beans, more salt and pepper, oregano, and the zest of a lime.
  7. Let it all come to a boil, reduce it to a simmer, and cook for 10-15 minutes to let everything soften.
  8. Using an immersion blender (easy!) or a regular blender (you'll probably need to work in batches), puree the soup base until you have a smooth consistency. Return it to a simmer and allow it to keep cooking as you work on the remaining components.
  9. Add the remaining black beans AFTER pureeing. This will allow you to have some whole beans in the final product.
  10. Taste and adjust! Do you want more heat? Then add more cayenne and/or chili powder. Do you want more flavor depth without adding heat? Add cumin or paprika. Feel like you need more zing in general? Add salt or lime zest (but save the lime juice for the end).
  11. Cut the sweet potato into disks and grill until charred on both sides. Don't worry too much about cooking it all the way through, since it will have some additional time to keep cooking in the soup. Dice it up and add it to the soup.
  12. Cut the second red onion into rounds and grill until charred on both sides. Dice it and add it to the soup.
  13. Grill the corn, cut if off the cob if necessary, and add it to the soup.
  14. Fire roast or grill the bell peppers. Dice them up and add them to the soup only shortly before serving so that they don't get too soft.
  15. Just before serving, add some finely chopped cilantro and the juice of a lime.
  16. Serve it up with whatever garnishes you like!


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