Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

This black bean pumpkin soup is a perfect hearty soup for fall.  A big thank you to member Clara who sent along the recipe with the recommendation “it was fantastic, easy to make and easily customizable for vegans or vegetarians.”  I couldn’t agree more!  Clara found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen, who found it in Gourmet magazine circa 1996.

If you happen to have some Locavorious frozen pumpkin puree this recipe comes together very quickly, but this time of year you can also roast up some pumpkins.  Here are the “secret” Locavorious steps for perfect roasted pumpkin puree.  Scrub your pie pumpkin clean, then whack off the stem with a hammer or meat tenderizer.  Slice in half and scoop out the seeds, setting them aside if you’d like to toast them for the  garnish and snacking.  Alternatively, you can leave the seeds in while roasting, and remove them later.  Place pumpkin halves face down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Roast at 350 F for at least 45 minutes, or until pumpkin is meltingly soft.   After removing baking sheet from the oven, flip pumpkin halves over to allow them to cool faster.  When the pumpkin halves are cool enough to handle, scoop out the pumpkin meat and puree it in a food processor or blender until creamy.  Since my pie pumpkin was pretty large, I ended up using almost double the amount of pumpkin puree called for in the original recipe.

For dedicated locavores, this recipe is easy to make with mostly local ingredients!  If you’d like to use MI-grown dried black beans, there’s Hampshire Farms, and for organic canned beans there’s Eden Foods.   Tomatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, shitake mushrooms, ham steaks and pumpkin are all available at the farmers markets right now.  I’d like to thank Tantre Farm, Dick’s Pretty Good Garlic, Goetz Farm and Steinhauser Farm for making this locavore soup possible!  And now for the recipe – omnivore and vegan versions below.




Three 15 ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained, or the equivalent amount (4-5 cups) of cooked dried black beans

1 cup fresh, frozen, or drained canned tomatoes, chopped

1 1/4 cups chopped onion

1/2 cup minced shallot

4 garlic cloves minced

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter – for vegan version, use 4 T of oil, such as walnut or pumpkin oil

4 cups beef or vegetable broth

16-ounce pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups) *or* more; I used ~ 4 cups

1/2 cup dry Sherry

1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/8-inch dice – for a vegan version use 1 cup chopped shitake mushrooms

2 to 4 tablespoons Sherry vinegar

Garnish: lightly toasted pumpkin seeds


Set aside about a ½ cup of black beans.  In a food processor coarsely puree the rest of the beans and the tomatoes.

In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, (mushrooms if using), garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter (or oil) over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and just beginning to brown. Stir in bean puree. Stir in broth, pumpkin, remaining whole black beans, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick.

Just before serving, add ham (if using) and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve soup garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds and sour cream.

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