Black Bean and Tomato Soup with Toasted Fennel Seed

The combination of browned onion, fragrant fennel, tangy tomatoes, and hearty black beans is a match made in heaven

Serves 4


  • 2-3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil,
    plus more for serving
  • 1 ½ tsp. fennel seeds 
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28 oz.) can tomatoes— crushed, diced, or whole peeled (squished) (see Note)
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, including their cooking liquid (or sub ⅔ cup water or stock)
  • 1 ½-2 cups water or stock
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the oil and fennel seeds. Sauté until the seeds turn brown.
  2. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, stirring constantly until the onion comes up to temperature, to prevent them from sticking to the pan. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the garlic, oregano, and bay leaves, and sauté until toasty and fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, and 1 ½ cups water or stock. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cook partially covered for at least 10 minutes to combine and deepen flavours. Add an additional ½ cup water or stock if the soup seems too thick for your liking.
  6. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like.
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.


Any type of canned tomato works here, and I use whatever I have. Crushed tomatoes make a smoother soup. Diced tomatoes add a little more texture. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be whole peeled: add them to the pot one by one, squishing them up in your clean hand as you do, before pouring in any remaining juice from the can. This creates a varied, slurpable texture, one I find absolutely delicious. Plus, squishing tomatoes in your hand is just fun.

I take a page from Indian cooking techniques and toast whole fennel seeds in a little oil before adding the onion to sauté. This simple step adds a world of flavour.

Nutrition facts per serving
Calories 212; fat 4 g; protein 9 g; carbs 35 g.

Courtesy of The Vegan Family Cookbook by Anna Pippus / Penguin Random House © 2021 / Republished with permission.

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Photography by Anna Pippus

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