Black Bean-Butternut Soup

Black Bean-Butternut Soup NeuroReserve Brain Table

Making soup is one of my favorite ways to prepare for a busy week. Having a batch in the fridge means I’ve got a healthy meal that I can reheat in a few minutes. But soup recipes are often loaded with sodium. Or the opposite, they lack flavor because the salt has been completely cut out. Striking a balance between the two is tricky, but important, since excessive sodium intake contributes to low-grade inflammation, an underlying risk factor for chronic conditions like heart disease, as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

This black bean soup strikes the perfect balance between health value and taste though! Onions, garlic, cumin, fire-roasted tomatoes, and cilantro compliment the legume’s earthy flavor creating a thick, filling soup that provide 11g fiber per serving. And there’s a secret ingredient — butternut squash — that boosts nutrition even more by adding a healthy dose of vitamin C and beta-carotene, two antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative damage.

Black Bean-Butternut Soup

Created by Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD
Makes 10 cups


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 cans (15-oz) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5-oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3-4 cups less-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 pkg (10-oz) frozen mashed butternut or winter squash, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Plain 2% Greek yogurt (optional)
  • Pepitas (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and saute 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic and cumin; saute 1 minute or until fragrant.  Add the beans, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Add thawed squash, cilantro, and salt, stirring to combine. Transfer half of the soup to a blender. Remove the center piece to let steam escape, and secure lid. Place a clean dish towel over opening, and process until smooth. Return pureed bean mixture to saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat until hot throughout. Ladle into bowls. If desired, top with a dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle with cilantro and/or pepitas.

Nutrition information

NUTRITION FACTS (serving size: about 1 2/3 cups): Calories 250; Fat 4g (sat 0g); Protein 14g; Carb 39g; Fiber 11g; Sugars 4g (added sugars 0g); Sodium 480g

An evidence-based approach to phytochemicals and other dietary factors, 2d ed. (2013, August 1). The Free Library. (2013). Retrieved September 15, 2020 from evidence-based approach to phytochemicals and other dietary…-a0338399832