A hearty, healthy slow cooker black bean soup that’s packed with vegetables, and only takes a few minutes to prepare!
If you want a hearty, healthy dinner, but you don’t want to actually have to spend more than 5 minutes making it (I feel you), this slow cooker black bean soup is the answer to your prayers. It’s packed with veggies, and practically cooks itself. Just chuck everything in the slow cooker, and a few hours later, it’s ready to eat. Hallelujah!
Summer slow cooking
I don’t often think to use my slow cooker at this time of year. Slow cookers are obviously great for cooking wintery stews and casseroles – but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy slow cooked food in the warmer months too.
This black bean soup is great year-round. In the winter, you can make it extra hearty with some melted cheese and crusty bread and butter. Or, in the summer, keep things light by topping it with some extra veggies and a dollop of sour cream.
Slow cooker black bean soup
Black bean soup is one of my favourite soups of all time, and this slow cooker version checks every single box.
- It’s full of healthy, whole ingredients like fresh vegetables and beans.
- It’s completely delicious, with heaps of flavour.
- It can easily be adapted to use up whatever veg you have lingering in the fridge.
- It’s very low effort, and cooks itself in the slow cooker.
- It reheats beautifully, if you have any leftovers.
- It can be personalised with your own choice of toppings.
I’ve never had a more perfect soup.
The soup begins with the vegetables.
I like to chop the veg fairly small (I even grate the carrots), and they cook down so much that they become almost invisible in the finished soup. If you’re trying to hide the vegetables – either from picky kids, or just from yourself – it’s perfect. And if you’d prefer a chunkier soup with bigger pieces of veg, just don’t cut them as finely.
Hiding in this black bean soup, there are two big carrots, a huge handful of spinach, and a whole red pepper. They bring extra flavour and goodness to the soup, without putting off any veggie-haters.
Refried bean soup
Next up, add the black beans, and a tin of chopped tomatoes. I also love to add a tin of refried beans. I’m obsessed with these things – they may look like cat food when you first open the tin, but they’re unbelievably tasty, and they help to make the soup extra thick and creamy.
Make sure your refried beans are vegetarian, if necessary. In the UK, I’ve never seen non-veggie ones, but I’ve heard that elsewhere, they can contain lard, so just make sure you check before you buy. The Old El Paso refried beans* are my favourite ones on the planet. I could eat them straight from the tin (in fact, I regularly do…).
When you’ve added all the ingredients to your slow cooker, just give it a good mix, and it’s ready to go.
Slow cooker soup
This slow cooker black bean soup is pretty forgiving. It doesn’t really matter how long you cook it for – anything from 5 to 7 hours will be totally fine (or even a little longer), so just serve it up whenever is convenient for you.
Obviously the longer you cook it, the richer it will be, and the more the vegetables will have cooked down – so I’d err on the side of slightly longer, if you have the time.
When it’s ready, it should look a little bit like this.
Chunky vs smooth soup
I left my black bean soup chunky, because that’s how I like it, and seeing little flecks of green and red vegetables in my soup doesn’t put me off (considering I put the vegetables in myself, it would be a bit odd if it did).
However if you really want to deny the vegetables’ very existence (or you just like a smooth and creamy soup), you could always blend your soup before serving so that nobody suspects a thing.
I actually blended up my kids’ portions, and it worked really well as a smooth soup, too. The beans make it nice and thick, so just add a splash more water if you prefer a thinner soup.
You know I love a good topping, especially with Tex-Mex style food. This black bean soup is absolutely perfect for topping!
The soup itself is vegan, but you can add whatever toppings you fancy. Here are a few ideas:
- melted grated cheese
- sour cream
- fresh coriander (cilantro)
- sliced spring onions
- crushed tortilla chips
- diced avocado
Can I reheat the leftovers?
Since it’s already been cooked to oblivion, this black bean soup is just as good reheated the next day. It’s the perfect thing to make in batches, to last you a few days for lunch.
If it were me, I’d pop some cheese on top before you reheat it, and it’ll get nice and melty. The perfect black bean soup.
Veggie-packed slow cooker black bean soup
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 large handful spinach, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 x 400g tins black beans, drained (480g, or ~ 2 1/2 cups, when drained)
- 400 g tin (~ 1 1/3 cups) chopped tomatoes
- 435 g tin (~ 1 1/3 cups) refried beans (spicy or mild)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp hot chilli powder optional
- 200 ml (~ 3/4 cup) water
- Optional toppings: chopped fresh coriander (cilantro), grated cheese, crumbled tortilla chips, sour cream, etc.
- Add all of the ingredients (apart from your toppings) into the slow cooker, and mix well. Cook for at least 5 hours on high (longer is also fine).
- You can blend the soup before serving (add a splash more water if it ends up too thick), or leave it chunky. Add your chosen toppings to serve.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe, not including toppings.