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bowl of black bean soup with a black spoon and bowls of toppings

Panera Black Bean Soup Copycat

  • Author: Brooke
  • Total Time: 1 hour 12 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1/2 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


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
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (50g)
  • 6 1/2 cups vegetable broth, reserve 1/2 cup (1.537 L)
  • 4 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed or 2 cups dried black beans, rinsed (4 425g tins)
  • 3/4 cup filtered water, for pureeing (177 ml)
  • 1/4 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 1/2 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 1/2 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 1/2 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 1/4 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 1/3 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


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