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Black bean butternut squash soup

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Black bean butternut squash soup

I didn’t want to make another sweet butternut squash (or pumpkin) soup, so I was in a search of a recipe where I could combine butternut squash with a second major ingredient that would neutralize the sweetness of butternut squash, without suppressing its flavor, something similar to what I did with carrot soup by adding lentils to it. I wanted a soup that was very savory and very different from what is usually expected from a butternut squash (sweetness) and that would appeal to those who dislike pumpkin or butternut squash soups for their sweetness.

I found a recipe on Epicurious for a black bean pumpkin soup that seemed to offer exactly what I was looking for. Because I wanted to use up butternut squash that I just roasted for a soup, I substituted pumpkin with butternut squash. I also significantly changed the proportions of black beans to butternut squash, because the comments on the recipe indicated that with the given amount of black beans, the soup becomes too much of a black bean soup, losing the butternut squash (pumpkin) flavor. The comments also talked that the soup was losing its pretty pumpkin color with so many black beans. That convinced me to reduce the amount of black beans, which resulted in one of the best butternut squash soups I ever head. The sweetness of butternut squash is beautifully compensated by the black beans, and the soup is neither overwhelmed by black beans nor dominated by sweet taste of squash.

I also did not think that adding 1/2 cup Sherry in the end impacted the flavor in any way, so I might omit it next time.

Black bean butternut squash soup


By the way, I love roasting butternut squash. I can literally do it for fun: it’s easy (put it in the oven, wait about an hour, cool, peel), and your house fills with warm smells so welcome during short winter days. I actually posted a very detailed tutorial on how to roast a butternut squash here. So many things you can do with roasted butternut squash.

Black bean butternut squash soup, pumpkin soup, Christmas

Black bean butternut squash soup

Adapted from Epicurious.

Prep time: 60 min


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or drained canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained
  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry Sherry
  • more salt to taste

1) In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add chopped onion, minced shallots, minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped fresh tomatoes (or canned tomatoes), and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.

2) Add black beans, butternut squash and 1 cup chicken broth to food processor. Process until finely pureed. Add onion mixture from the saucepan to the food processor and process everything (pureed beans and butternut squash plus onion mixture) together until smooth.

3) Place the pureed mixture back in the saucepan, add 1 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup dry sherry, stir until well combined, and simmer, covered, on low heat for 20 minutes. Season with more salt and cumin if necessary.

4) To my taste I use 1 teaspoon salt total (but I notated 1/2 teaspoon because you might find 1 teaspoon too salty – judge for yourself). I also season with 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons cumin total – to your taste 1 tablespoon total from step 1 might be enough.

5) To serve, sprinkle with heavy cream swirls, salt and pepper on top.

chopped onions, shallots, garlic

Chopped onions, shallots, garlic

cooking chopped onions, shallots, garlic

Cooking chopped onions, shallots, garlic with cumin

adding tomatoes

adding tomatoes and continuing to cook with tomatoes

canned black beans

Adding 1 cup canned black beans to the food processor

cooked butternut squash

Adding 2 cups butternut squash to the food processor

adding butternut squash and black beans to food processor

adding butternut squash and black beans to food processor

processing butternut squash and black beans in food processor

processing butternut squash, black beans and chicken broth in food processor

adding cooked onions, shallots to the puree

Adding onion-tomato mixture to the food processor to puree with butternut squash and black beans

finished puree

This is how pureed mixture looks like, transferred to the sauce pan

Black bean butternut squash soup

Serve soup in small soup bowls, plain, just like this, or …

Black bean butternut squash soup

Pour a touch of heavy cream in decorative swirls on top of each soup bowl

Black bean butternut squash soup

For a final touch, add some whole black beans on top to decorate

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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Aunt Clara December 28, 2012, 11:06 pm

    Lovely pictures, and this is just up my alley. I love any kind of pumpkins/squashes and love beans even more. I guess I’ll try it (sans sherry).

  • [email protected] December 30, 2012, 7:44 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious. Love butternut squash and black beans! And I have a half empty bottle of sherry in the fridge that I need to use up because it is taking up too much room. Happy New Year!

  • Laura Dembowski December 31, 2012, 1:41 pm

    This looks and sounds very interesting and comforting for a winter day. I love roasting pumpkins. I roast them all fall, which I then freeze to use the rest of the year. I bet roasting butternut squash is equally as enjoyable.

  • Noel Lizotte December 31, 2012, 6:16 pm

    Happy New Year Julia!

    Loving this recipe! … and greedy me, it’s everything I love and my husband won’t eat!!

    You’ve done an outstanding job on the photos for this post also! (as usual, but still, I’m always so impressed!)

  • Hannah December 31, 2012, 9:13 pm

    Thank goodness, a non-sweet pumpkin soup! I’m also turned off by that approach, since the squash itself brings a pleasantly subtle sweetness as it is, in my opinion. Love your hearty, heartwarming rendition. 🙂

    Happy New Year!

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef December 31, 2012, 10:52 pm

    What a clever soup. You took everyone’s favorite soup and made it even more special.

    Happy New Year! I hope 2013 is incredibly kind to you and your famiy.

  • The Café Sucré Farine January 2, 2013, 10:20 am

    This sounds wonderful, I would not have thought to combine black beans with butternut but I love it!

  • [email protected] January 2, 2013, 12:49 pm

    I love roasted veggies, and I like them even better when I make them into soup. This is one terrific soup! Super flavors, and it looks terrific. Good stuff – thanks.

  • Jacqueline January 6, 2013, 11:16 am

    That looks droolworthy! I’ve never paired butternut squash with beans before. I wonder why not. This is one for my to try list, definitely!

  • Cheryl in NC January 11, 2013, 5:09 am

    I saw a comment you left on SmittenKitchen re an apple tart & popped over to see if you have any tart recipes of your own to share (love them). What a lovely surprise! You have a great-looking, very enticing blog, Julia, that I am eager to explore. But first I will try this delicious-sounding soup! Thank you so much for sharing; I will be back!

    • Julia January 11, 2013, 10:56 am

      Thank you so much for such a sweet comment!

  • Cheryl in NC January 11, 2013, 6:07 am

    BTW, do you know why everyone peels their butternut squash after baking? I find the skin is usually very tender, or even crunchy, and am inclined to eat it. Do you know of any reason why I shouldn’t (if I’ve washed it well, of course :)?

    • Julia January 11, 2013, 11:30 am

      I do like to roast the butternut squash with skin on because it enhances the flavor but tend to peel butternuts when I make something creamy and soft like this soup or these butternut squash turnovers.

      However, I do hear that people use unpeeled chunks of squash in soups of a rougher texture or just eat them as chunks in a side dish or salads. Here is an interview with Nigella Lawson where she says that she leaves the skin on squash.

      You know, to think about it, I do leave the peel on most vegetables I cook with yet it never occurred to me to do the same with squash. I should try it next time!

  • Cheryl in NC January 11, 2013, 12:48 pm

    Thank’s so much, Julia, for the links! Yes, I also tend to leave the skin on most vegetables; don’t think I’ve ever peeled a carrot, for instance. I just use a natural brush scrubber to clean them well. And the first time I overcooked a butternut squash, I found the skin nice and crispy, so I just ate it, lol, and it was good! But then I noticed that every blog I read said to peel it, so worried it might be toxic or something. You have been most reassuring! Can’t wait to try your turnover recipe, btw, and highly recommend Deb’s galette, if you haven’t tried it. We love butternut squash around here. Thanks again. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂

    • Julia January 11, 2013, 1:47 pm

      Oh yes, Deb’s butternut squash galette has been on my to-do list for a long time! It’s in her cookbook, too, I don’t know if it’s any different from the blog version. I was lucky to win her cookbook in a SeriousEats giveaway, but with holidays did not get a chance to cook anything from it yet.

  • Christine @ Cooking Crusade January 23, 2013, 3:14 am

    Such a hearty looking soup. I love all pumpkin soups and this looks like a great addition!

  • The Junk Drunk January 30, 2013, 6:39 pm

    Your soup looks delicious! I recently made this great pumpkin black bean soup over at The Junk Drunk that you may like too. Please let me know what you think!

  • TKaa March 7, 2013, 8:08 pm

    Made tonight for my Son and he LOVED it! It was Yuuuuuumy! Thank you sooooo MUCH!

    • Julia March 8, 2013, 12:45 am

      So glad to hear that!

  • Katy October 12, 2013, 6:58 pm

    Made this tonight.. I bought a butternut squash and was looking for something to do with it. It was really good!! I did not have any shallots on hand so those got left out. It was a bit too “cuminy” for me so I will cut back just a bit next time.. but the boyfriend really like it! I topped w some avocado! Thanks for a great recipe.. loved that it is a bit different than the traditional sweet soup 🙂 I just used the whole squash and doubled the recipe.. yay for leftovers!

  • Wilma January 6, 2014, 6:01 pm

    Making this for the second time tonight. I just love this soup and my 2 young children enjoy it just as much. So glad to have found your recipe! Thanks!

    • Julia January 7, 2014, 3:24 pm

      Wilma, thank you for such a sweet comment! So glad you and your family are enjoying the soup! 🙂

  • Kaye Duerksen March 2, 2014, 12:34 pm

    Wow, fabulous soup. I probably tripled all the spices. A keeper!!!!

    • Julia March 3, 2014, 2:53 pm

      Kaye, so glad you liked the soup! I love it too! And yes, sometimes I increase the amount of spices too!

  • JenB June 3, 2014, 5:46 pm

    Hi, I have made this a few times now and it is one of my favorite soups! So thank you for posting the recipe, and for including such helpful photos as well. Currently, I am on a restricted diet that excluded tomatoes. Any idea how I can tweak the recipe so it will taste just as good? Thanks!

    • Julia July 8, 2014, 3:00 pm

      Hi Jen, I am glad you liked this recipe! If you can’t eat tomatoes, you can safely exclude them – I don’t think the soup will lose that much flavor from it. You might have to add more water as it will probably be denser without tomatoes, but other than that, the soup should still be pretty delicious! After all, the “stars” of the soup are butternut squash and black beans, not the tomatoes! Tomatoes are only playing the modest “supporting” role.

  • Gisele October 9, 2016, 6:46 pm

    I love buttternut squash and the changes to neutralize it’s sweetness has me excited to make this soup. Julia, I am going to follow you too because the way you described and gave good information with the changes you made shows your passion for doing it right.
    Thanks, will make this week!

  • Jennifer October 14, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Made this for lunch today and it was yummy! I made some modifications. I only used 2 large shallots(3/4 cup). I thought 8 was too much. I made this vegan by using Vegetable broth instead of chicken. I also didn’t have dry sherry so I used pinot. This is a keeper.

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