Mexican Black Bean Soup

Eating a good black bean soup is like having a flavor party in your mouth. The warmth and creaminess make it a comfort-food favorite. I am sure there are as many versions of black bean soup as there are cooks. Here is mine… Before I came to the United States I had never had black bean soup. Even though Mexican food is known in Switzerland, it is by no means popular. I have always loved Mexican flavors and I promise this will not be the last Mexican recipe you will find on this blog!

The challenge

I was first inspired to come up with a recipe for black bean soup after listening to friends and family. While they all love black bean soup, they told me that every time they try to cook it themselves it turns out terrible. Sometimes it was too watery, while other times the flavors were just off. Since I had never made black bean soup, I could not give them any advice. I am not someone to turn down a good challenge, so off to the kitchen I went.

Health Tip

Using canned beans is very convenient for this recipe. One of the problems with most cans is a compound called BPA (Bisphenol A) that leeches into the food. BPA has been found in increasing levels in human fat tissue and even new born babies. BPA has been associated with health risks in certain studies. It is therefore a good idea to limit BPA consumption as much as possible, especially when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Luckily, there are some BPA-free canned products. For beans I always use Eden organics beans. They are also salt-free!

Black bean soup magic

This is where it gets interesting. Within the past couple of weeks I have made this soup about eight times in order to perfect it. Luckily, Mark likes it so much that he is not sick off it yet. But my point is that every single time it is different. Even if the spices I throw in there are identical! Ok, once I forgot the bay leaves and another time the tomato paste… But I know that at least twice the ingredients were identical. I think.

Another interesting thing about it is that every time I make it I say: “Oh, but it was better last time”. It’s the black bean soup magic, the memory of the soup just keeps on getting better.

Cooking Tip

There are huge differences in flavor intensity between different spices. It depends on the quality and freshness of the spices. You might want to adjust the seasoning. This is one of these recipes where you can’t get out of tasting your food as you cook if you want optimal results. Throw in more bay leaves if you can’t taste them or use more chipotle powder.

Mexican Black Bean Soup

Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1
  • 4 cups
  • 4
  • 45 oz.
  • 6 Tbsp
  • 2
  • 2 tsp
  • ¼ tsp
  • ¼ tsp
  • ¼ tsp
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 1 cup
  • ½ Tbsp
  • Onion, large, chopped
  • Chicken broth, strong
  • Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Black beans, cooked (3 cans)
  • Tomato paste
  • Bay leaves, strong
  • Coriander, ground
  • Cumin, ground
  • Chipotle powder
  • Chili powder
  • Epazote (optional)
  • Sherry, dry
  • Corn, frozen (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. 1. Chop the onion, crush the garlic, rinse the beans and prepare the spice mix.
  2. 2. Over medium heat saute the onion with some of the broth and the bay leaves until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  3. 3. Add all of the broth. Take out a cup of the beans and save (if you want some whole beans in there). Puree the rest with some of the broth until smooth. Add the beans to the soup. Bring to a boil.
  4. 4. Add all the spices, the tomato paste and stir well.
  5. 5. Let the soup cook uncovered until it reaches the desired thickness. Even though it might look very liquid at this time it will thicken over time. Stir occasionally and make sure the bottom does not burn. You may want to adjust the heat.
  6. 6. Add sherry and adjust the seasoning if necessary (more salt?, more spices? more heat?)
  7. 7. Add the frozen corn (if using) and heat for a couple of minutes.
  8. 8. Stir in ½ Tbsp into each serving of soup. Add toppings and serve!

What is chipotle powder?

A Chipotle pepper is a dry, smoked chili pepper. It is very spicy and has a distinct flavor. While I am sure you can buy it in powdered form in some places, it is widely available as whole peppers. You can grind it up yourself (take seeds out first, if you want a milder powder) and store it in a little jar. Alternatively you can just put a whole chili in your food. Much like bay leaves, it will flavor the soup and give it additional depth and smokiness.

Toppings

I like to serve the black bean soup with some finely diced bell peppers. Fresh cilantro would also be a nice addition.

Enjoy this soup as long as it is still a little chilly outside! Soon the last thing we want is a nice bowl of hot soup… – Christina
5 stars

Mark says:

Seeing this recipe posted is bittersweet… of course I am happy that you will be able to eat such delicious soup, but it also means Christina will stop trying to perfect the recipe. She’s made this many times over the past month, and it’s been delicious every time. The soup is extremely satisfying with or without goodies (corn, peppers, etc.). This is definitely one of my favorite soups and I really hope it becomes one of our regulars!

nutrition facts

per serving with corn

Calories: 310, Fat: 9g, GL: 9.5, Fiber: 13g, Protein: 15g, Carbohydrates: 33g

nutrition facts

per serving without corn

Calories: 285, Fat: 9g, GL: 6.8, Fiber: 12g, Protein: 14g, Carbohydrates: 27g

Tags: , , , ,

29 comments

  1. Looks very colorful and pretty. I need to keep this recipe – my bf loves beans. Thanks for the nice idea :-)

  2. Jill says:

    Wow–what a pretty bowl of soup. I love all the depth of flava you added with the spices. I love black bean soup. I like to use my immersion blender on it a wee bit to make it creamy. You have inspired me to step it up a notch!

    • Thank you Jill! Love love love spices, I am such a spice whore (excuse the word). haha

      A lot of Mexican dished are heavy on the cumin, but sometimes it’s all I taste in chilis etc. In this soup the coriander really stands out, which is a good thing if you like that spice. Also, if the bay leaves are good ones (I have had some that have no flavor :( ) it really adds another level to the soup. I hope you will try this! Let me know what you thought/changed!

  3. The soup looks & sounds delicious! And thanks for the BPA in many canned food items reminder…

  4. That has got to be the most beautiful bowl of black bean soup I’ve ever seen! Love the flavourings you’ve used. Thanks for the tip on BPA!

  5. Jessica says:

    Soup sounds great. The toppings really set it off from other bbsoups I’ve seen. Good job!

    • Thanks Jessica! To be honest, I have not had that many black bean soups before I made this, so I did not really know what people expect from it, flavor-wise… All I can say is that I like it and it is tasty! haha

  6. Laura Tucker says:

    Christina – where do you buy Epazote? This is the second recipe I’ve read in two days calling for it. I’m unfamiliar with it…can you describe the flavor?

    • I bought mine from Penzeys Spices online. I have not seen it in any stores before. The flavor is mild and sweet but can’t be compared to any other herb. To me it has almost a floral note to it. Some people dislike it and say that it smells like skunk or gasoline… It has a reputation for helping with intestinal gas (even though there are no studies to back this up). It is therefore commonly added to bean dishes.

  7. You are so right! A good meal like this is a flavor party in your mouth! Love this recipe- I’ll have to give it a try, it looks delicious!

  8. This looks really good. I love black bean soup but am always leery of making it because of the gas factor…lol. Maybe the epazote would help…I’ve never used that. And thanks for the BPA info. I didn’t realize it was in cans, had only heard of it in water bottles.

    • Haha I was already planning on writing a post about beans and gas. ;) Would you be interested in that? While I definitely have problems with gas at times (I have IBS) beans are no problem for me.

      Yes, the BPA in cans sucks. :( I am just so glad to be able to use canned beans (Thank you Eden foods!). Luckily, I never used canned vegetables anyway, except for tomatoes. As far as I know there are no BPA-free canned tomatoes available so far. And tomatoes are one of the worst canned foods in terms of BPA (it’s very acidic). But I found great tomatoes in jars or other containers. Maybe you already know this, but there is also BPA in canned baby foods, formulas, baby bottles etc. They don’t stop anywhere! :(

  9. Yikes! BPA in baby food! Good info to know. Thanks for the tip on tomatoes…I’ll look for them in jars. Yes, I’d be very interested in a beans/gas post! Thanks!

  10. Oh, you definitely look like you have a winner here! Holy yumtastic!!

  11. cara says:

    I have been looking for a great recipe for black bean soup. This sounds perfect!!

  12. Karin says:

    Black beans are fantastic but I’ve never had them in soup before. Got to try that! :)

  13. Leah says:

    Yay! I’ve heard wonderful things about your black bean soup and now I’m so excited to make it! I’m catching up on health-foodie after being on an internet hiatus for several days (or computer crashed), but I just wanted to let you know I made healh-foodie recipes for my siblings while they were visiting and everytime your recipes got rave, rave reviews!

    Also, thanks for the info on BPA in cans! I thought that was a plastics issue so this is good to know!

    • Sorry about your computer! Luckily, there is not too much to catch up on! Glad you are back though.

      Thank you so much for letting me know about the recipes! So glad they turned out well. I hope you are going to love this soup as well. It is one of Mark’s favorites!

      Yes, BPA in cans is pretty sad. :( But I am so glad there are Eden beans! haha

  14. Delicious recipe. Thank you for takign the time to develop it and share with us all! I served it with Sweet Potato Corn Bread (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3161/Vegan-Sweet-Potato-Cornbread.html). Great combo!

leave a comment