I’m a soup all-year-round type of gal and when that soup is made with just a few inexpensive ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to make you know it’s going in my regular rotation. This super simple Pinto Bean Soup is a southwest version of our viral Rosemary Garlic White Bean Soup, and it’s every bit as easy and delicious. Plus, you can go wild with the toppings to make it more fun!
What’s in Pinto Bean Soup?
This incredibly simple soup only needs eight simple ingredients, most of which are pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need to make pinto bean soup:
- Garlic and Olive Oil: The soup starts by sautéing minced garlic in oil to create a deep savory base flavor.
- Canned Pinto Beans: The bulk of the pinto bean soup is, surprise-surprise, pinto beans! We use a combination of whole beans and puréed beans to create both a creamy texture and something to sink your teeth into.
- Spices: We used a simple mix of chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to season this soup, but you could get creative and use your own seasoning blend if you prefer!
- Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth adds volume, flavor, and salt to this soup. We use Better Than Bouillon to make our vegetable broth, which is very flavorful and contains a decent amount of salt. If you’re using a less flavorful broth your soup won’t be quite as scrumptious. If you’re using a low-sodium broth you may find that you need to add a little salt to your soup at the end to help make the flavors pop.
Is This Soup Spicy?
This soup can be made spicy OR mild. If the chili powder you use is spicy, your soup will be spicy. I used McCormmick’s chili powder, which is very mild, so I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper to the soup. It’s not enough cayenne to really make it hot, it just adds a little dimension. If you prefer a spicy soup you can use a spicy chili powder or add more cayenne.
What Else Can I add?
Soups like this are fun because they’re a blank slate for making your own creation. Here are some other fun ingredients that you could add to your soup:
- Jalapeños (dice and sauté with garlic)
- Canned diced green chiles (either leave diced or purée with the beans)
- Fire roasted diced tomatoes (either leave diced or purée with the beans)
- Onion (sauté with the garlic)
- Corn kernels
- Sliced or diced carrots
Toppings for Pinto Bean Soup
Much like chili, this soup is great with all sorts of fun toppings! So scan your fridge and pantry and add some more flavor, color, and texture to your bowl. Here are some topping ideas for this pinto bean soup:
- Tortilla chips
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- Fresh jalapeños
- Green onion
Pinto Bean Soup
- 3 15oz. cans pinto beans, divided $2.37
- 4 cloves garlic $0.35
- 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
- 1/2 tsp chili powder $0.05
- 1/4 tsp cumin $0.02
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano $0.02
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.01
- 2 cups vegetable broth* $0.37
- Pour 1 can of the pinto beans (with the liquid from the can) into a blender and purée until smooth. Set the puréed beans aside.
- Mince the garlic and add it to a soup pot with the olive oil. Sauté over medium heat for about one minute.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper to the pot and continue to sauté with the garlic for one minute more.
- Drain the remaining 2 cans of pinto beans, then add them to the pot, along with the puréed beans and vegetable broth. Stir to combine.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat slightly and let the soup simmer (without a lid) for 15 minutes. The soup will thicken slightly and the flavors will deepen as it simmers.
- After simmering for 15 minutes, the beans should be extra soft. Use the back of a large cooking spoon to smash more of the beans and thicken the soup further.
- Taste the soup and adjust the salt or seasonings to your liking. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Pinto Bean Soup – Step by Step Photos
Pour one 15oz. can of pinto beans (with the liquid from the can) into a blender and purée until smooth (you may still see some small pieces of skin, that’s okay).
Mince four cloves of garlic and add them to a soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute or just until the garlic becomes really fragrant (don’t let it burn).
Add ½ tsp chili powder, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp oregano, and ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper to the pot. Sauté with the garlic for about one minute more.
Drain the remaining two 15oz. cans of pinto beans. Add the drained whole beans and the puréed beans to the soup pot.
Add two cups of vegetable broth to the pot and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium-high to bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down slightly and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes (no lid). The soup will thicken slightly as it simmers and the flavors will deepen.
After simmering for 15 minutes, the beans should be quite a bit softer. Use the back of a cooking spoon to smash a few more of the beans to thicken the soup even more. Give the soup a taste and adjust the salt or any other seasoning to your liking.
Serve the soup hot with your favorite toppings!
I particularly like sour cream because it makes the soup extra creamy and adds a light, bright flavor! What is your favorite topping?
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