Best Pinto Bean Soup (Vegan)

This Pinto Bean Soup recipe transforms your kitchen with the delicious aromas of a simmering, easy, tasty soup. It’s simple to make and full of all the smoky, savory flavors you’ve grown to love in traditional soups. Serve this homemade vegetarian soup with cornbread or dinner rolls and with a dollop of creamy vegan sour cream and hot sauce.

Two bowls of vegan pinto bean soup sit one in front of the other. The bowls are full of carrots, potatoes, green onions, and pinto beans. On the side are slices of cornbread.

I’m celebrating national soup month, so be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post (past the recipe) for links to some more awesome soup recipes.

Making Pinto Bean Soup Vegan

I made this pinto bean soup vegan with a Southern flair, by adding smoke sauce to the recipe and, of course, leaving out the meat. It was an easy recipe to veganize.

If you’re looking for nutritious dinner ideas, pinto beans boast a lot of protein (and fiber), meaning this healthy recipe is easily converted to vegetarian. My mom grew up in the Missouri Ozarks and she tells me that they ate a lot of beans when she was young. It was all they could afford! And, in fact, they very seldom had meat like ham and bacon, because they couldn’t afford that either.

Two bowls of pinto bean soup are shown on a table, one is in the center and the other is only partially visible in the top left hand corner. There re slices of cornbread sitting around the bowls.

Why This Recipe Works

The first time I made this pinto bean soup, I started from scratch, with pinto beans from a bag. It was great and we loved it, but I think for day-to-day meals that are both delicious and easy, making this using canned beans works just fine.

Also, adding the smoke sauce and cooking it all together with a bay leaf, really adds all the right flavors. It reminds me of the bean soup my mom used to make when we were kids, and I’m about 90 percent certain the version she made for us was not vegetarian.

I also added sliced carrots, celery, and potatoes for a variety of flavors in every bite. We loved it so much, I’ll definitely be making this pinto bean soup a repeat performance on our meal routines.

How to Make Pinto Bean Soup

Make this simple soup by cooking onions, celery, carrots and potatoes in a saucepan with oil. Once those are tender, add the beans, spices, bouillon, water and a bay leaf.

Cook that for 30 – 40 minutes, and then the soup is ready. I like to mix about half of the beans in a food processor or blender and return it back to the rest of the pot to create a very thick soup broth.

Alternatively, you can cook this recipe in a crockpot by following the first step above, and then transferring everything to a crockpot and cooking on low for about 4 hours.

Expert Tips

Follow these tips for making this recipe perfect every time:

  • To make this soup super fast, cook the carrots and potatoes in a microwave for one to two minutes until just tender. Then transfer them (including the liquid) to the pot with the onions and celery
  • Be sure and add a bay leaf as the recipe simmers — it makes a difference
  • Use the seasoning ideas I’ve provided below or transform this into a more Mexican dish, by adding a tablespoon of taco seasoning
  • Try adding half black and pinto beans for a more colorful soup
  • Make this even heartier by adding sliced vegan sausage (I buy vegan sausages Sprouts, Natural Grocers, or the health food section of my local grocery store)
  • Alternatively, you can add vegan chicken pieces to add a meatier texture. Using the Gardein chicken strips (just don’t add the teriyaki packet…save that for later) should work perfectly
  • Serve this over brown rice for an entirely plant-based wholesome dish
  • This recipe will taste good as is, but to make it even better, serve it with Vegan Cornbread or Sweet Potato Rolls!

Best Vegan Soup Recipes

Do you love vegan soups? Here’s some more tasty soup recipes you’ll love:

A bowl of pinto bean soup is front in center in this photo. The light is shining on all the ingredients in the bowl, including the slices of carrots, potatoes, and beans. There is a stack of cornbread behind the soup, and a bowl of dried pinto beans behind that.

We hope you love this recipe for pinto bean soup as much as we do! If you decide to make it, be sure to take a photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!

A bowl of pinto bean soup is front in center in this photo. The light is shining on all the ingredients in the bowl, including the slices of carrots, potatoes, and beans. There is a stack of cornbread behind the soup, and a bowl of dried pinto beans behind that.

Vegan Pinto Bean Soup

Hearty, nourishing and easy-to-make, this vegan pinto bean soup boasts rich flavors and vibrant colors. You’ll love the 10 simple ingredients that makes this soup so easy to make and yet remains a satisfying comfort food too. Serve with Vegan Cornbread for the win!
4.8 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Vegan Pinto Bean Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 238kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 2 large carrots , chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes , chopped
  • 3 15 oz pinto beans , canned (with liquid)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon smoke sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Better than Bouillon Vegetarian
  • 4 cups water (see notes)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Place a skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and then the chopped onions, chopped celery, carrots and potatoes. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. 
  • When the onions and potatoes are tender, add the beans (plus liquid), spices, and smoke sauce. Stir to combine. 
  • Add the Bouillon and water. Stir to combine. Place the bay leaf on top of the broth and then cover and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. 
  • When the soup is ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and then spoon roughly half into a blender or food processor and pulse. Return this back to the rest of the soup to make a thick soup. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
  • Serve with cornbread or bread. This soup will last in the fridge in a sealed container for 4-5 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 – 3 months.

Notes

If you don’t have any Better than Bouillon around, then feel free to sub vegetable broth.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Pinto Bean Soup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 238 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Sodium 190mg8%
Potassium 885mg25%
Carbohydrates 45g15%
Fiber 13g52%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 2590IU52%
Vitamin C 7.8mg9%
Calcium 78mg8%
Iron 3.2mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Enjoy!

A collage of different soup recipes are displayed with a text box in the middle that says "23 comforting soup recipes."

National Soup Month

It’s national soup month so I’m celebrating with some of my favorite food blogging friends!  What does that mean for you? You’ll get 23 awesome soup recipes to choose from! Now, not all of these recipes are vegan (and some are not even vegetarian), but just check with me if you’re interested, and I’ll see if I can create a vegan recipe for you.

So, without further ado, here are 23 tantalizing soup recipes to get your national soup month on the right track!

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23 Responses to Best Pinto Bean Soup (Vegan)

  1. what is the “smoke sauce”?? Is it liquid smoke? Also, the cornbread in the photo looks delicious…any recommendations for a good cornbread recipe? thanks

  2. this soup sounds so good, filling and full of flavor. I love using smoke sauce and love starting with the dried beans – seriously I have as much pinto bean food storage as I do flour and sugar! can’t wait to give it a try

    • HI Amanda! I would just add a cup of vegetable broth to replace the liquid from the can of beans. Hope you love this as much as we do!

    • Hi Robert. Well, basically it breaks down like this:
      1) Cook the celery, onions, carrots, and potatoes in the oil until tender
      2) Add the beans (plus the liquid from the beans), spices, and smoke sauce. Stir this.
      3) Add the bouillon and water. Stir to combine. (Or you can use vegetable broth)
      4) Place a bay leaf on top.
      5) Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
      6) Transfer about half of the bean mixture to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add this back with the beans to create a thick, creamy soup.
      7) Serve with cornbread.

      I hope this was helpful!

  3. What do you mean by “smoke sauce”? 2 Tbsp seems like a lot for liquid smoke but then again I’ve never used it. I thought it was the sort of thing one used in drops, not tablespoons.

    • Hi Amy. The small town girl comes out in me in the weirdest of times. I also call pasta sauce “red sauce,” and cardinals “red birds.” I blame it on my mom who is from the Ozarks! So, you are correct. Smoke sauce should be liquid smoke. I will change that in this recipe. If you think 2 tablespoons is too much, start with one and add the second if you think you need it. I made this recipe to taste like the kind my mom used to make and she always cooked it with a ham bone. That just sounds so gross to me now! Anyway, this pinto bean soup is so good with that smoky flavor. We love it!

  4. Good recipe. Used minced real garlic instead of powder. I think next time I’ll double the salt, halve the dried herbs (I’m assuming the recipe means dried), and halve the liquid smoke. The liquid smoke does an excellent job of approximating ham/bacon flavor, but I thought even 1 tablespoon overwhelmed the other flavors in the dish.

    Also, there’s an error in step 2, it says, “When the beans are tender, add the beans”.

    • Glad you liked this recipe Jason. Your changes sound good. I love that smoky flavor but I know it’s not the same for everyone. I love it when someone owns a recipe and makes changes to meet their own tastes!

  5. Thanks for this recipe, I have made it several times and it’s always satisfying and delicious. I use the smoked paprika instead of liquid smoke and skip the potatoes.

  6. I’m going to try this Crockpot Style. With two babies and two older girls, This is most of the time the way to go for us.
    I will just add more cook time. Maybe 3-4 hours.

    • Hi Ronda! Yes, I have made this in the crockpot and having it simmer on low for 3 – 4 hours is great. And it smells fabulous too! And, OMG, you have a house full of girls! Love it! ❤️

  7. This was a wonderful soup. I add spinach, dash of cumin, and purée lentils to mine. I ate it with rice instead of cornbread. Thanks

    • Hi Sarita. Thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you liked this soup and I love your variations!

  8. Delicious! The potato was a great addition. Served this to group of non-veg teenage boys, with toppings (cilantro, onion, salsa, cheese, sour cream) and chips available. Big hit. Thank you for the recipe.

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