As Easy as Canned Soup

One of the only downsides of being a food writer is always having to live a few months ahead of schedule. It’s roast duck in August, asparagus in November, butternut squash in June. Just last week I was working on my AARP post for January, encouraging people to stop the annual knee-jerk diets and take some of that energy to work on life-style change.

For inspiration I was looking through The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great, and I rediscovered a little jewel of a soup I had totally forgotten about–Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Salsa Verde. When I say easy, I really mean it. Puree black beans, broth, salsa, cilantro, and cumin in a blender, heat, ladle, eat.  Done.

And then I realized why wait until January to offer this soup when most of us need a quick nourishing, healthy satisfying soup more than ever during the holiday frenzy. Most of us are so busy to cooking the big meals we don’t have the energy to take care of the little ones.

So next time you go to the grocery store to stock up for the holidays, remember to pick up a few cans of black beans, a few jars of salsa, and a couple of cartons of broth, so that next time you don’t think you have time to eat well, you realize it’s just a matter of opening a can, a jar, and a carton!

And what better time of year to practice changing your life than the busiest month of the year?

Easy Black Bean Soup
Serves: 4
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, drained
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup prepared salsa verde
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves, plus extra sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Garnish: ¼ cup light sour cream, cilantro sprigs
  1. Puree all ingredients except garnish in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered and stirring frequently, to blend flavors, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve, garnishing with sour cream and optional cilantro sprigs.


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  1. Mary says

    not much more involved and even more beloved in our house is your Italian Turkey Meatball Soup from the same book. I made it for my mom last fall and it seems like every time I talk to her she is making another batch at her house. Super satisfying! It’s rainy & COLD here and soup hits the spot!

  2. Cathy in Orlando, FL says

    We love this soup and make it often summer (with salad) and winter (with grilled cheese)! It’s good with vegetable broth, too, when I’m feel like going meatless. The only thing I sometimes change is that I just use the entire can of broth (if not using the carton style) and it works out fine – and leaves no leftover bit of broth. Thanks for sharing such an easy recipe. Made the creamy tomato soup from your new cookbook yesterday – yum!

  3. Karen says

    I forgot about it too!! That was such an awesome book, I need to revisit it. Just saw your new book, and it looks fabulous. I love that the pictures are you in action!

  4. Bizzle says

    I made this yesterday but I used Trader Joes Refried Black Beans with Jalapeno that I had on hand from my twice yearly jaunt to Tader Joes. So GOOD, so easy with no blender necessary!

    I’m going to stock up with tons of cans when I’m close to one next week. Thanks much. Great recipe, lots of flavor for being so quick and easy.

  5. abost says

    I am not a bean fan but I just tried this soup and I love it! I love spice so I added a little Mrs. Renfro’s jalapeño green salsa. Perfect for a subzero winter day.

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