This easy and economical vegan pinto bean soup is packed with flavour and spice. This creamy soup uses canned beans for a quick meal that’s ready in 30 minutes.
Mexican bean soup
While this recipe is not authentically Mexican, you’ll be sure to enjoy its Mexican-inspired flavours.
With its combination of creamy pinto beans, smoky and spicy chipotle and earthy cumin, this soup is delicious, hearty and comforting.
Are pinto beans healthy?
Pinto beans are extremely healthy!
They’re a great source of protein and fibre. In one serving of this recipe you’ll find 14 grams of protein and 17 grams of fibre.
In addition, there are 48mg of vitamin C and just 368 calories per serving.
Canned pinto bean soup recipe
Beans are a staple in Hispanic cuisine. They’re super healthy, filling, and very economical - particularly when you cook them from dry.
The problem with dry beans, of course, is that they need to be soaked overnight and then simmered for hours.
Sometimes we don’t have time for that.
Canned beans aren’t as flavourful and their texture isn’t that great, but they’re still cheap and can make a great soup.
So in order to build a good flavour base for this pinto bean soup using canned beans, we start with a basic sort of sofrito.
A sofrito is a blend of vegetables and aromatics which is first fried in the pot or pan in order to create the flavour base on which to build your recipe.
There are so many different ways to make sofrito but because I’m Spanish, I usually use the same one we use to make paella and rices which consists of finely diced onion, garlic, green pepper and tomatoes.
You’ll see this same sofrito in my Spanish vegan lentil stew recipe.
This aromatic base adds extra flavour to the broth that’s very much needed when using canned pinto beans!
How to make pinto bean soup
As mentioned above, this recipe starts with a sofrito.
To make the sofrito, finely dice onion, garlic and green pepper, and roughly chop a couple of tomatoes.
The type of green pepper that I use to make my sofrito is called a cubanelle or an Italian frying pepper.
Its thin skin makes it ideal for sofrito but if you can’t find this type, a regular green bell pepper will also work.
These ingredients are fried together in olive oil.
Ideally, you fry them low and slow until the tomatoes break down into a sauce and the vegetables are super soft in order to meld into the broth.
Then add cumin and oregano and let it fry for a few minutes to bring out the flavour.
Now that you’ve developed the flavour base of your soup, add the canned pinto beans and vegetable stock.
Let everything simmer together for about 10 minutes and then it’s time to add the chipotle and thicken your soup.
How to thicken bean soup
The great thing about pinto beans is their natural creaminess.
This means they’re ideal to puree into a creamy paste that can be added back to the soup and thicken the broth without affecting the flavour of the soup at all.
My preferred way is to take 3 - 4 ladles of the bean soup and transfer it to a small food processor along with 1 - 2 chipotle peppers in adobo and blend before stirring it back into the pot.
You can also transfer some of the soup to a second pot and use an immersion blender.
If you use a food processor or stand blender, make sure that the lid is vented to prevent the steam from building up inside and exploding!
What to serve with pinto bean soup
This soup is hearty enough to stand alone as a meal but if you’re in need of toppings, sides or want to make this part of a Mexican-inspired meal, here are some suggestions:
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped green onion
- A slice of lime
- Diced tomato
- Sliced fresh jalapeños
- Vegan sour cream
- Vegan shredded cheese
- Diced avocado
- Crushed tortilla chips
Mains and sides
- Vegan cornbread
- Vegan grilled cheese sandwich
- Roasted vegetables
- Your favourite green salad
- Vegan enchiladas
- Vegan quesadillas
- Fajitas or tacos
- Garlic bread
- Spanish rice
- Avocado salad
How to store and freeze
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 - 5 days.
To freeze, allow the soup to cool then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to use, allow the soup to thaw in the fridge overnight.
Reheat the soup in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat or in the microwave in a microwave-safe container.
Pinto Bean Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely diced
- 1 medium green pepper ideally a cubanelle but a regular bell will work, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 (14-oz / 400 gram) can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 2 cups (240 ml) vegetable stock
- 1 - 2 chipotle peppers in adobo adjust to your spice tolerance
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion and green pepper. Fry, stirring occasionally, until very soft - about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and fry until tender - about a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry, stirring occasionally, until beginning to break down into a thick sauce - about 10 minutes.
- Add the cumin and oregano and fry for about a minute, stirring frequently, to bring out the flavour.
- Add the pinto beans and vegetable stock. Raise the heat to bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes to meld the flavours.
- Place the chipotle pepper in a food processor or blender add 3 ladles of the bean soup. Blend until you have a thick puree. You can also ladle the soup into a smaller pot and use an immersion blender to make the puree.
- Stir this puree back into the soup along with the salt. If you want the soup thicker, you can blend a few more ladlefuls until you reach your desired consistency.