Craving soup from Panera Bread, but you don't live near one? We've got you covered with our Panera black bean soup copycat recipe. It's a delicious restaurant quality recipe that you can recreate anytime of the year in the comfort of your own home. Make this vegan and gluten free favorite with pantry staples and save some money.
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One of the lovely things about this recipe is it takes pantry staples that are available at any grocery store. This recipe tastes wonderful whether you use canned or dried black beans.
- Fresh Vegetables: We used diced carrot, celery, and red bell pepper.
- Aromatics: We used yellow onion and freshly minced garlic.
- Fat: We used olive oil to sauté the vegetables and aromatics.
- Dried Spices: We used cumin and Mexican oregano for a Tex Mex flavor, and red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. The addition of onion and garlic powder enhances the fresh aromatics, and the right amount of salt balances the flavors.
- Thickener: Adding tomato paste and pureeing half the soup thickens it. Panera Bread also uses a cornstarch slurry, but this soup didn't need it.
- Broth: To keep this soup vegan, we used vegetable broth, but if that isn't a concern, you can use chicken broth.
- Black Beans: We used canned beans for the photo shoot for a shorter cooking time, but we also have made this using dried beans for lower sodium.
- Acid: We used freshly squeezed lemon juice at the end of the cooking time to help finish the soup.
What is in Panera's black bean soup?
They describe it best when they say, "a bakery-cafe inspired favorite made with plump black beans simmered in a spicy vegetable broth with onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and cumin."
Did Panera Bread get rid of black bean soup?
The black bean soup at Panera bread is a seasonal item, so it's not always available. Use our copycat recipe and you can recreate this amazing soup anytime you want.
Is their black bean soup vegan?
Yes, it is, and so is our copycat version. It's made with vegetable broth and has no dairy in it.
What sides go with black bean soup?
Panera Bread serves this soup with your choice of a kettle chips, a piece of French baguette, or an apple.
We recommend you serve this copycat version with a side of rice, cornbread, salad, crusty bread, or quesadillas.
What is the healthiest Panera soup?
The black bean soup and 10 vegetable soup are both low in fat, but the 10 vegetable soup has the lowest calories.
Panera's black bean soup has 200 calories for one cup, 40 g carbs, 2g sugar, 14g of fiber, and 7g of protein.
Our copycat recipe has 334 calories for a little more than one cup, along with 6.4 g fat, 56.6g carbs, 9.2g sugar, 13.1g of fiber, and 16.1g of protein. For more nutrition facts, please scroll to the end of the recipe card.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients. Chop the fresh vegetables and aromatics. Measure out the spices, and squeeze the juice from one lemon.
Heat up the oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, then sauté the onion, celery, carrot, and red bell pepper for 5 minutes. Make sure to sprinkle a bit of salt on top.
Add the freshly minced garlic and saute until fragrant, roughly 30 seconds.
Bloom the dried spices to bloom them by cooking for 30 seconds while constantly stirring.
Lower the heat to medium low and add the tomato paste. Stir it constantly for 4 minutes to let it caramelize.
Increase the heat to medium high and pour in 1 cup of vegetable broth. Use a wooden turner to scrape off the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the other 5 cups of vegetable broth, reserving ½ cup for later.
Add the rinsed canned black beans and stir until well mixed.
Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 30 minutes if you're using canned beans, or for 2 ½ hours if you're using dried. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, add the reserved ½ cup of vegetable broth.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. If you like your soup more brothy, add more vegetable broth or filtered water, but be sure to compensate by adding more spices.
Puree half of the soup in a blender in small batches. Make sure to add a bit of water to each batch being blended. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and stir.
Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.
Serve hot with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro or make it more Tex Mex by adding red onion, lime wedge, tortilla chips, and homemade guacamole.
- Don't need this vegan? Swap the vegetable broth for chicken broth.
- Don't have a yellow onion? Swap it out with white or sweet.
- Like this spicier? Increase the red pepper flakes to 1 teaspoon.
- Need to lower the sodium? Use 2 cups of dried black beans instead of canned.
- Craving Tex Mex? Serve with red onion, cilantro, lime wedge, red bell pepper, guacamole, and tortilla chips.
- Need guac? Mash 2 ripe avocados and mix with red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
- Like to stretch it? Put freshly cooked rice in the bottom of each bowl and top it off with soup.
- Soup too thick? During the last 15 minutes, add 2 more cups of vegetable broth and additional spices to taste.
- Using dried beans? Use 2 cups rinsed, dried beans and cook for 2 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Add more broth when necessary.
Looking for more Panera Bread copycat recipes?
Looking for other vegan or vegetarian soup recipes?
- Bistro French Onion Soup
- Creamy Tomato Soup
- 10 Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Turkey Chili
- Summer Corn Chowder
- Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
- Autumn Squash
- Broccoli Cheddar
- Baked Potato Soup
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Our Panera black bean soup copycat recipe tastes like theirs, only better. It's an easy and healthy soup you can make for dinner with pantry staples. This soup is vegan and gluten free, and is so delicious, you'll want a second bowl!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
- 2 cups onion, chopped (260g)
- 1 cup carrots, chopped (132g)
- 1 cup celery, chopped (120g)
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped (160g)
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste (50g)
- 6 ½ cups vegetable broth, reserve ½ cup (1.537 L)
- 4 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed or 2 cups dried black beans, rinsed (4 425g tins)
- ¾ cup filtered water, for pureeing (177 ml)
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (60 ml)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Saute Vegetables and Aromatics: Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the onions, celery, carrots and red bell pepper, sprinkle with salt, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring with a large wooden spoon. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Bloom the Spices: Mix all the spices in a bowl and add them to the pot, stirring constantly for 30 seconds to bloom the spices.
- Caramelize Tomato Paste: Lower the heat to medium low and add the tomato paste to the veggies. Allow it to caramelize by stirring it for 4 minutes.
- Deglaze: Increase the heat to medium high. Deglaze the pan by pouring in 1 cup of vegetable broth and using a wooden turner to scrape off all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add Broth and Beans: Pour in 5 cups of vegetable broth, reserving ½ cup for later, then add the rinsed canned black beans (or 2 cups of rinsed dried beans).
- Simmer: Stir, then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes if using canned beans, or 2 ½ hours if using dried beans. (If you're using dried beans, you'll have to stir and check the liquid level as it cooks, roughly once every 30 minutes. During the last 30 minutes, add the reserved ½ cup of vegetable broth or more to get the consistency you desire. Taste and adjust spices if necessary.)
- Add Lemon Juice: Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Puree: Use a blender to puree half of the soup in three batches, adding a ¼ cup of water to each batch. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and stir until well combined.
- Finish: Serve hot. Panera Bread serves their soup plain, but feel free to serve with chopped cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, extra red pepper, red onion, or tortilla chips for added color and flavor.
- Like Tex Mex? Serve with these additional toppings: red onion, cilantro, lime wedge, red bell pepper, guacamole, and tortilla chips.
- Make your own guac with 2 ripe, mashed avocados, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
- Need to stretch the soup? Fill each bowl ⅓ with freshly cooked rice and top it off with soup.
- Like the soup more brothy? Add 2 more cups of vegetable broth and additional spices to taste.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 47 minutes
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Panera Black Bean Soup vegan, discontinued, from scratch