According to my calendar, it’s officially winter!
Here in Ohio, winter typically means freezing temperatures and lots of cold, wet snow. So when winter hits, I crave big pots of hearty soups to keep me warm.
While I have lots of favorites, black bean soup is the one that I make most often. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something so comforting about plump black beans swimming in a rich, slightly spicy broth.
Plus, it’s my wife’s favorite soup. She was the one who first introduced me to black bean soup way before we were vegan. So, since we both love it, it was one of the first soups that I veganized.
What I came up with is this Vegan Black Bean & Jackfruit Soup.
The Secret Ingredient is Jackfruit
My vegan black bean soup is different than the traditional black bean soup; it features jackfruit.
You know jackfruit. It’s the fruit with the consistency of pulled meat that took the world by storm. Have you tried it yet?
Because of its ability to mimic pulled meat, jackfruit makes the perfect vegan swap. It adds the right amount of toothy, chewy heartiness that goes so well in black bean soup.
Left: Ripe Jackfruit in syrup. Right: Green Young Jackfruit in brine. / Source
Brine or Syrup? Which Jackfruit Do You Use?
If you’ve never worked with jackfruit before, there are a few things you should know.
First, there are two types of jackfruit: Green young jackfruit in brine and ripe jackfruit in syrup. Both are commonly sold at Asian markets. To achieve the shredded texture that jackfruit is famous for, you’ll need to buy green young jackfruit in brine.
Secondly, you always want to make sure to drain the brine and rinse the heck out of the jackfruit before using it.
[Are there no Asian or specialty markets near you? You can buy jackfruit here.]
One final note about jackfruit: The longer you cook it, the more it breaks down into shreds. Check out more in this article, Jackfruit 101, which has a few helpful photos and a recipe for BBQ Jackfruit.
A Quick Note About Vegan Chicken Stock
People are often surprised when I talk about using vegan chicken stock, thinking that I mean vegetable stock instead.
While vegetable stock is delicious, some soups benefit from a rich stock full of flavor that is reminiscent of chicken.
Now, I can hear some of you right now saying, “But you’re vegan! So why would you want to eat something that is chicken-flavored?” And it’s a good question.
The answer is simple. I didn’t go vegan because I didn’t like the taste of animal products. Instead, I went vegan because I didn’t want to harm animals. Eating vegan versions allows me to enjoy flavors I like without the added harm I don’t.
You’ll find vegan chicken stock at most well-stocked grocery stores. My favorite brand is Better than Bouillon’s Vegan No Chicken Bouillon and Not-Chick’n Edward & Sons bouillon cubes.
- 1 pound dried black beans
- Two 20oz cans of young ripe jackfruit in brine
- 8 cups vegan "chicken" stock
- 2 small onions, minced
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit and place it into a large soup pot.
- Rinse the dried black beans until the water runs clear. Add them to the same soup pot as the jackfruit.
- Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the black beans are tender and the jackfruit is broken down into shreds.
- My favorite vegan "chicken" stock is the Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base.
- The cooking time of this soup can be greatly reduced by using canned beans rather than dried. In this recipe, use four (4) 16-oz cans of black beans in place of the dried beans. Rinse the beans well before adding them to the soup pot.
If you make this vegan black bean & jackfruit soup, let me know how you like it. I like to top mine with a few sliced peppers because it’s pretty, but you don’t have to. It’s also really good topped with a bit of vegan sour cream or fresh jalapenos, but again, it’s up to you.
Plain or pretty, I think you’ll enjoy this soup a lot.