Pinto Bean Soup with Cornmeal White Cheddar Dumplings

This vegetarian Mexican-inspired Pinto Bean Soup with Cornmeal White Cheddar Dumplings is for anyone who loves dumplings in their soup but wishes there were other options besides the traditional chicken and dumplings.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bob’s Red Mill. The opinions and text are all mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that make VV possible.

I’ve always been obsessed with dumplings in soup. When I was a kid, I always loved the idea of chicken and dumplings but would only eat the dumplings and leave everything else. I obviously no longer eat chicken and dumplings (since I’m a vegetarian) but sometimes make a veg version with vegetables and dumplings. When the weather started to get chilly here, I started to crave a big bowl of soup and dumplings but wanted to try something that would have a more filling base which is what led me to trying out a bean soup! The results? A creamy and filling vegetarian soup with endless possibilities for toppings (think anything you’d put on tacos) and big pillow-y cheesy dumplings.

I use Bob’s Red Mill All-purpose flour and cornmeal to create the base for the dumplings so that they taste like cornbread but don’t become too dense (which could have happened with I didn’t use any flour). Think of these as little cornbread dumplings that allows you to skip making a pan of cornbread on the side to serve with soup. Also, if you wanted to make these vegan, you could omit the cheese and swap in a dairy-free milk.

As for the soup, I recommend having an immersion blender so you can easily blend everything together. If you don’t, you can use a regular blender but just be very careful to blend it in batches and crack the lid slightly so the steam can escape. You’ll also want a lid to cover the soup while the dumplings are cooking and steaming or else you may end up with soup splattering all over your stove (and potentially on you which will be very bad because it’ll be very hot!). I’d say this is the trickiest part as you’ll want to make sure your soup is thin enough that it doesn’t splatter too much while cooking the dumplings but not so thin that it’s not an appealing consistency to eat.

4.67 from 3 votes
Pinto Bean Soup with Cornmeal and White Cheddar Dumplings

This vegetarian Mexican-inspired Pinto Bean Soup with Cornmeal White Cheddar Dumplings is for anyone who loves dumplings in their soup but wishes there were other options besides the traditional chicken and dumplings.

For the soup:
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground smoked paprika
  • 1 4 oz can of diced green chilis
  • 1 15 oz can of diced fired roasted tomatoes
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 15 oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
For the dumplings:
  • 2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (+ more for topping)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
Topping options:
  • sour cream
  • lime wedges
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • chopped cilantro leaves
  • tortilla chips
  • halved cherry tomatoes
For the soup:
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Then add the ground cumin and smoked paprika and sauté for an additional 30 seconds.

  2. Set aside 1/2 cup of the pinto beans. Pour the whole can of chilis (including all the juices in the can) into the pan to deglaze it and then add the fire roasted tomatoes, 2 cups vegetable broth, the remaining pinto beans, and 1 tsp salt. Turn heat to high to bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, make the dumplings by whisk toghether the flour, cornmeal, cheddar cheese, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add in the milk and 1 Tbsp olive oil and whisk until a thick dough has formed and no dry ingredients remain. Set aside.

  4. Remove the soup from heat and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Alternatively, blend the soup in batches in a blender (being careful to leave the lid slightly open so the steam can escape) and return the soup to the stockpot.

  5. Add the remaining 1 cup of vegetable broth and reserved 1/2 cup pinto beans, cover, and bring back to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking often.

  6. Uncover, spoon 1 Tbsp each of the dumpling batter into the soup, and then re-cover. Let the dumplings steam in the soup for 7-10 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked all the way through. If the soup is spitting too much to safely add the dumplings, add a bit more vegetable broth to thin it out.

  7. Remove from heat and season with more salt and pepper, as needed. Serve warm with toppings of choice.

Make sure to tag Vegetarian ‘Ventures on Instagram and use #vegetarianventures when trying this dish out!



  • Jessica
    October 17, 2020

    Forgive me if I missed it somewhere in the recipe, but how many servings will this make approximately? Looks delicious!!!

    • Shellywest
      October 17, 2020

      Should make 4 servings!

  • Bev
    November 9, 2020

    Absolutely delicious and easy to make! The whole family loved it.

  • Jessica
    January 1, 2021

    This was delicious! We thoroughly enjoyed this, and will definitely make it again. Thank you for continuing to share your recipes 🙂

    • Shellywest
      January 2, 2021

      So glad to hear this! Thanks for following along and making these recipes!

  • Lizzie
    January 2, 2021

    This looks so tasty! I’m vegan – do you know if you can substitute oat milk and vegan cheese for the dumplings with similar results? Can’t wait to try it!

  • Rebecca
    January 18, 2021

    Yum! This was tasty and easy! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    I would recommend smaller dollops of the biscuit dough, I thought 1 Tbsp of dough yielded too large dumplings. I would also reserve more pinto beans than 1/2 cup…maybe 2/3 cup or 3/4 cup?

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