Warm a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add in the vegan butter, onion and optional garlic. Stir and saute for one to two minutes to brown onions.
Add in the beans, bay leaf, a handful of the potato, broth, water, liquid smoke or paprika, salt and pepper.
Bring this mixture to a low boil and simmer for about two minutes.
Scoop about 3 cups of the soup into a blender container - especially the beans and potato parts. Blend until thick and creamy. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to blend. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot and continue simmering over medium heat.
If you want a chunkier soup, you can leave things as they are. If you want a more mashed and creamy soup, you can use a fork or potato masher to mash the remaining beans and potato in the pot. Or for a really creamy texture, process even more of the soup in the blender to make creamy and smooth. This is up to you.
Fold in the chopped parsley and allow the soup to cook down to a thick and creamy texture. Usually simmering a few more minutes on low-medium.
When desired consistency is reached, serve soup. Garnish with chopped parsley and black pepper.