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Copycat Panera Bread Black Bean Soup Recipe

Panera bread black bean soup in a blue bowl, topped with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips.


Panera Bread Black Bean Soup is a comforting and delicious soup you can make using pantry staples! It’s perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner and is naturally vegan and gluten-free!

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 50 minutes

Total Time 1 hour

Panera bread black bean soup in a blue bowl, topped with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips.

Craving Panera Bread black bean soup? Try this delicious copycat version! It’s smoky, hearty, and packed with plenty of vegetables.

This recipe is a true meal prep star. It makes a total of 8 servings and keeps for one week in the fridge. On busy weeknights, all you have to do is reheat it and add serve it with fun toppings like avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Made with wholesome ingredients, our Panera copycat recipe is of delicious restaurant quality. Once you try it, you’ll find yourself making this recipe time and time again!

Panera bread black bean soup in a blue bowl, topped with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips.
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Why You’ll Love It

  • Easy to make. There is truly nothing complicated about this dish. Even if you’re a beginner at cooking, you can make this recipe!
  • Budget-friendly. As I’ve mentioned above, you’ll need only pantry ingredients to make this soup, most of which you probably already have at home.
  • Packed with layers of flavor. This recipe is healthy, but it doesn’t compromise on taste. We’ll go through a few techniques I use to build flavor even in a simple dish like this one.
  • High in protein and fiber. One serving provides 15g of protein and 18g of fiber, which can help you feel more satisfied after a meal.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Get all the details on these simple ingredients in the recipe card found at the bottom of the post.

  • Black beans: Canned beans work great in this recipe and make the cooking time shorter.
  • Veggies: Onion, carrot, celery ribs, and red bell pepper are the veggies that are in this Panera bread black bean soup. However, you can use any vegetables that you like!
  • Spices: You’ll need smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  • Oil: I use olive oil, but any vegetable oil will work.
  • Tomato paste: It naturally thickens the soup without the need for cornstarch or other thickeners. It also adds a complex umami flavor when it gets cooked down.
  • Onion and garlic: You’ll need 1 onion, alongside 3-4 garlic cloves.
  • Vegetable broth: If you don’t have it on hand you can use a vegetable cube diluted in water. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian you can also use chicken broth.
  • Lime juice: A bit of acidity brings all the flavors together. Lemon juice also works.
Gathered ingredients for making Panera bread black bean soup.

How to Make Panera Bread Black Bean Soup Recipe

  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and red bell pepper. Season with a pinch of salt and saute for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
Sauteing vegetables in a white Dutch oven.

2. Add the tomato paste and minced garlic and saute for 1 minute, until the tomato paste has darkened in color. If it starts to stick to the bottom add a drizzle of olive oil or a few tablespoons of water. Then, add the spices and saute for 30 more seconds.

Sauteed vegetables with tomato paste and spices in a white Dutch oven. A wooden spoon placed on the right side of the pot.

3. Pour 1 cup of vegetable broth and scrape down the bottom to get any of the browned bits off. Pour the rest of the broth, and add the rinsed black beans, alongside salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil.

Stirring black bean soup with a wooden spoon from a Dutch oven.

4. Simmer with the lid on over medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes. Then, pure half of the soup using an immersion blender or a regular blender. If you have neither of those, use a potato masher to mash some of the beans.

Finally, stir in the lime juice and serve!

Panera bread black bean soup in a white Dutch oven with a large wooden spoon in it.

Top Tips

  • Take your time when sauteeing the veggies. Panera’s black bean soup relies on simple ingredients so it’s important to build flavor in any way we can. By sauteing the vegetables for 10 minutes or longer they start to release their natural sugars and begin to caramelize.
  • Adjust the spices to your liking. I love how versatile this recipe is. You can add more or less of the spices, or even add some extra like onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, etc.
  • Adjust the thickness as desired. Use vegetable stock to thin out the soup as needed. I’ve found that 6 cups make for a thicker soup and 8 cups make for a soup that’s on the thinner side.
  • Use a standard blender for a smoother consistency. For safety reasons let the soup cool for at least 15-20 minutes before transferring it to a blender. Don’t fill the jar more than halfway and make sure to leave the hole in the lid open so that heat can escape. Always be careful when handling hot liquids!

Frequently Asked Questions

Did Panera get rid of black bean soup?

Panera Bread still serves their black bean soup, but it’s a seasonal item, so it’s not always available.

Is the black bean soup at Panera vegan?

Yes! This soup is naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.

Can I make this recipe in the Instant pot?

Yes! I suggest you follow the first two steps of the recipe where I explain how to saute the veggies alongside the tomato paste and the spices. You can do that using the pressure cooker’s saute function.

Then, add the rinsed black beans, vegetable broth, salt, and black pepper. Put the lid on and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and serve!

Can I use dry beans?

Yes. The night before, soak 2 cups of dried black beans. The next day, drain and rinse them. Add soaked beans to a pot filled with water and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour, until soft. Use in the recipe as written.

Can I freeze Panera bread black bean soup?

Yes! Let the soup cool to room temperature then transfer to an airtight container and freeze. It keeps well for a long time, around 6 months or so.

A close-up shot of black bean soup served in a blue bowl and topped with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips.

Serving

Panera bread black bean soup is best served when you add your favorite toppings! I love topping mine with sour cream, cubed avocado, and fresh cilantro, and serving it alongside red onion, tortilla chips, and lime wedges.

For a heartier meal, serve it with a bowl of rice or some garlic bread on the side.

Storing

Let the soup cool to room temperature then transfer to an airtight container. Save in the fridge for up to a week.

A blue bowl filled with Panera bread black bean soup topped with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips.

More Vegan Soup Recipes

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup

Creamy White Bean Soup

Quinoa Soup with Mini Vegan Meatballs

One-Pot Chickpea Noodle Soup

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

And for other Panera Bread recipes, check out my Copycat Panera Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich.

Recipe

Panera bread black bean soup in a blue bowl, topped with sour cream, avocado, cilantro and tortilla chips.

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Panera Bread Black Bean Soup Recipe

Panera Bread Black Bean Soup is a comforting and delicious soup you can make using pantry staples! It’s perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner and is naturally vegan and gluten-free!

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Vegan, vegetarian
Keyword beans, black beans, copycat recipe, fall, soup, winter

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 medium ribs celery, diced
  • 1 medium-small red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon pink salt, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 15-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lime, juiced

Instructions

  • Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and red bell pepper. Season with a pinch of salt and saute for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are golden and begin to caramelize.

  • Add the tomato paste and minced garlic and saute for 1 minute, until the tomato paste has darkened in color. If it starts to burn add a drizzle of olive oil or a splash of water.

  • Add the spices- smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Toast the spices for 30 seconds.

  • Pour 1 cup of vegetable broth and scrape down the bottom to get any of the browned bits off. Pour the rest of the broth, and add the rinsed black beans, alongside salt, and black pepper.

  • Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium-low heat for 35-40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Then, pure half of the soup using an immersion blender or a regular blender. Stir in the lime juice.

  • Taste and adjust the flavor as needed, adding more salt, lime juice, or black pepper to taste. Serve!

(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs and other helpful information for this recipe)

Suggested Equipment/Tools

Notes

  • Take your time when sauteeing the veggies. Panera’s black bean soup relies on simple ingredients so it’s important to build flavor in any way we can. By sauteing the vegetables for 10 minutes or longer they start to release their natural sugars and begin to caramelize.
  • Adjust the spices to your liking. I love how versatile this recipe is. You can add more or less of the spices, or even add some extra like onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, etc.
  • Adjust the thickness as desired. Use vegetable stock to thin out the soup as needed. I’ve found that 6 cups make for a thicker soup and 8 cups make for a soup that’s on the thinner side.
  • Use a standard blender for a smoother consistency. For safety, it’s important to let the soup cool a bit before transferring half of it to the blender. Don’t fill the jar more than halfway and make sure that you leave the hole in the lid open so that heat can escape. Always be careful when handling hot liquids!

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

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Fiber: 18g

Post photography by: Petranka Atanasova.

©Watch Learn Eat. All content and images are copyright protected. Recipes and images are not to be used or republished without prior permission. If you adapt this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, and link back to this post for the original recipe.



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