This black bean and butternut squash soup recipe is easy to make and packed with flavor. It’s a nutritious meal that you can serve as a tasty lunch, appetizer or side dish.
Make it as-is or try one of the many variations I outline later in the post! It’s fun to keep this soup feeling new (but totally delicious) every time you make it, although I always crave the classic recipe too.
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Is Butternut Squash and Black Bean Soup Vegan?
This type of soup is often vegan-friendly since its main ingredients (beans and squash) are vegan.
However, non-vegan ingredients may be used including meat-based broth or dairy (either in the soup or as a topping). If you’re buying black bean butternut squash soup from a restaurant or grocery store, it’s best to check the ingredients.
If you’re making this soup at home, it’s easy to use vegetable broth and non-dairy alternatives! These, along with other flavorful and nutritious ingredients, create a great vegan recipe you’ll want to make regularly.
Squash and Black Bean Soup Ingredients
This recipe uses simple ingredients and spices to create a delicious soup. You should find everything at a typical grocery store, but if you can’t then there’s a few substitutions that you might want to make.
- Butternut squash: While butternut squash is delicious, any squash or pumpkin can work in this recipe. You may even use frozen squash for an even quicker and easier soup.
- Avocado oil: Use any type of cooking oil for this recipe. It’s essential to build the flavors of the soup.
- Garlic and onion: You’ll cook these tasty ingredients in oil to create an aromatic base layer of flavor in the soup.
- Red bell pepper: Bell pepper adds a touch of sweetness to the recipe. While I use red pepper, any color can work. Orange and yellow peppers offer similar sweetness to red, whereas green peppers are slightly more bitter but still work well.
- Corn: This tasty vegetable works well with other flavors in the soup. It also provides sweetness and texture.
- Smoked paprika, ground cumin: These smoky spices offer a ton of flavor to the soup. If you don’t like smoked paprika, regular, sweet or spicy paprika also work!
- Herbamare: This is a specialty seasoning that blends sea salt, vegetables and herbs. It adds a delicious, savory flavor to the soup. Alternatively, you can use ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon herb blend of your choice. I don’t include additional salt in the recipe but you can certainly add some to taste.
- Dry oregano: For even more flavor, I like to add dry oregano to the soup. You could use fresh oregano if you have some on hand. Basil or thyme are good alternatives but create a different flavor in the soup.
- Black pepper: Added to taste, this is an essential spice in most of my cooking!
- Cooking sherry or wine: I love the flavor this ingredient adds to soup. If you don’t have cooking sherry on hand, white (or even red) wine can work. If you don’t drink/ use alcohol, mix in extra vegetable broth with about ½ teaspoon vinegar and ½ teaspoon sugar. Any type of vinegar and sugar could work (adding sweetness and tang). The measurement for this ingredient is a range of ¼ C – ½ C. If using sherry, go for a lower amount; with wine go up to ½ C.
- Vegetable broth: Soups need liquid, and vegetable broth is a great way to build even more flavor. I typically use no-salt-added broth so I can add salt to taste.
- Black beans: Considering the name of this soup, you’ll clearly need black beans. I use canned beans for convenience, and they save a ton of time. Drain and rinse the beans before using.
- Lime juice: Some citrus brightens the heavier spices in this soup and balances the flavors!
How to Make Black Bean and Squash Soup
Black bean butternut squash soup is very easy to make and comes together in a few simple steps. Read the detailed directions below to learn how to make it!
Step 1: Prep Vegetables
Before you start cooking, prep the vegetables.
Scoop the seeds from your squash and remove its peel. Chop into small pieces; this helps the squash cook evenly even though you’ll eventually (partially or fully) blend it.
Finely chop the onion and bell pepper. Mince your garlic.
Then the last ingredient you’ll need to prep is the black beans. Open, drain and rinse a can (unless you’ll cook some yourself).
Step 2: Cook Soup
Warm some avocado oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add garlic and bell pepper and cook the veggies for another 2-3 minutes.
Next, add the spices, including smoked paprika, cumin, Herbamare, dry oregano and black pepper. Toss to coat these spices evenly around your vegetables.
Then add the cooking sherry or wine. It should sizzle when you pour it and lift anything that was sticking to the pot. Scrape around the bottom of your pot to help lift all that flavor!
Continue cooking until the sherry or wine has reduced by at least half. This takes 4-5 minutes, maybe longer if you use larger amounts.
After you reduce the sherry/wine, add the remaining butternut squash, corn, vegetable broth, black beans and lime juice.
Cook until the squash softens, about 20 minutes over medium heat. You can speed the cooking process by turning up the heat and/or adding a lid to your pot. I typically add a lid for the first 10 minutes of cooking, then take it off for the last 10 minutes.
Step 3: Blend and Serve
Once your squash is soft, decide if you’ll partially or fully blend the soup (or not blend at all).
I like to partially blend and keep some texture, but it’s also tasty (and very thick) when fully blended.
There are a few options for blending this soup:
- Immersion blender: This is best if you want a partially blended soup. Simply work the immersion blender around your pot until you reach the right consistency. This tool is great to save dishes!
- Regular blender: To partially blend, simply scoop anywhere from ¼ - ¾ of the soup into the blender. Blend to smooth then return to the pot and mix everything together. To fully blended soup, scoop all of the soup in and blend until you’re happy with the consistency.
- Food processor: If you don’t have an immersion or regular blender, a food processor can also work. This is best for a partially blended soup.
How to Serve as a Balanced Vegan Meal
The butternut squash, onion, garlic and bell pepper make for a veggie-loaded soup while black beans offer some protein.
Squash and beans both provide nutritious carbohydrates as well!
There’s some fat in the soup, but if you’re looking to make this a satiating meal, you may want to add some extra fats on top. Avocado or vegan sour cream are perfect choices.
Vegan Soup Variations
Get creative with this soup! One way is to use different herbs or spices to make a truly unique and delicious meal. You can also use any type of squash or pumpkin, or even any type of bean you like!
Soups are great for playing with, getting creative and using what you have on hand.
While this soup is tasty on its own, I highly recommend topping it with flavorful extras! My favorite toppings for this soup include:
- Avocado or guacamole
- Vegan sour cream
- Extra lime juice
- Smoked paprika
- Tortilla chips (use the soup like a dip!)
- Baked tortilla strips
- Chopped tomato or tomato salsa
- Chopped jalapeno peppers (or pickled jalapenos)
- Pepitas/ pumpkin seeds
Get creative and let me know what ingredients you top your soup with!
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Leftover Soup
Let leftover soup cool to about room temperature before transferring to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Reheat the soup by microwave or stovetop until warmed through. You can also freeze this soup. Use any freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 4 months. When ready to use, let the soup thaw in your fridge overnight and reheat as above.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Black Bean Butternut Squash Soup
- 4 cups butternut squash , cubed (550g)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or oil of choice)
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- ¾ cup red onion , finely diced (90g)
- ¾ cup red bell pepper , finely diced (100g)
- ½ cup corn (I use frozen)
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Herbamare seasoning *
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼-½ cup cooking sherry (or dry white wine)
- 3 cups vegetable broth (low or no sodium)
- 2 ¼ cups black beans , drained and rinsed (19 oz/ 540 mL can)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
Step 1: Prep Vegetables
- Remove the seeds from your squash, cut off the peel, then cut into small cubes.4 cups butternut squash
- Finely chop the onion and bell pepper.¾ cup red onion, ¾ cup red bell pepper
- Mince your garlic.3 cloves garlic
- Drain and rinse a can of black beans (or cook from dry).2 ¼ cups black beans
Step 2: Cook Soup
- Warm avocado oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.2 tablespoons avocado oil, ¾ cup red onion
- Then add chopped bell pepper and minced garlic. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.¾ cup red bell pepper, 3 cloves garlic
- Next, add the spices.1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon Herbamare seasoning, ½ teaspoon dry oregano, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Toss to coat the spices evenly around your vegetables.
- Add the cooking sherry/ wine and cook until it’s reduced by (at least) half. This takes about 3-4 minutes, or longer if you use more. Scrape around the bottom of your pot to lift any spices/ flavor that may have stuck.¼-½ cup cooking sherry
- Add the remaining ingredients.4 cups butternut squash, ½ cup corn, 3 cups vegetable broth, 2 ¼ cups black beans, 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Cook until the squash is soft, about 10 minutes. I recommend adding a lid to the pot for the first 10 minutes, then removing it for the last 10 minutes (keep lid on if you like a thinner soup).
- You can speed the cooking process by turning up the heat to medium-high. I prefer a slightly longer cooking time to give the flavors time to meld together.
Step 3: Blend and Serve
- Decide if you want to serve the soup as-is, partially blended or fully blended (it’s a very thick soup when fully blended).
- Use an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor to blend the soup.
- For a partially blended soup, blend anywhere from ¼ to ¾ of the soup (recipe photos show about ½ the soup blended).
- Serve the soup hot and garnish with any of your favorite toppings like cilantro, vegan sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips, pepitas, sprinkle of smoked paprika, etc.
More Vegan Soup Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.