Latin American Black Bean Soup

Nourishing and delicious, this recipe is perfect for the cooler months of the year!

2 cups dried black beans (or 3 cans of black beans) rinsed and drained (see notes)
3 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 – 2 teaspoons cumin
1 – 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 cups vegetable broth/stock
Juice of one orange + orange halves
Salt and pepper to taste

Diced tomatoes
Sour cream
Lime wedges
Fresh coriander
Spring onions



Soak: Soaking beans overnight helps them activate, making them more nutritious and easier to cook. Rinse beans in a colander with cold running water. Pick through and remove any broken or shrivelled beans. Place in large pot with 5 or 6 cups water and cover, leave overnight.

Pre-Cook Beans: Next day, drain beans and rinse again. Place back in pot, add enough water to cover beans plus 2 extra cups of water. Add bay leaves, 1 Tbsp of oil and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 1 hour or until beans are tender. Once beans are cooked turn heat off and set beans aside (don’t discard the water from the cooked the beans, it may be used when cooking the soup). Alternatively, use a pressure cooker or instant pot to cook beans (using pressure cooker is my preferred option as it cooks beans in about 20 minutes and enhances the nutritional value).

Orange: Juice the orange and set aside. Reserve the orange halves for the soup.

Cook Soup: In a saucepan on medium heat, add remaining oil and sauté garlic and onion until slightly brown, then add cumin, paprika, celery, carrots, bell pepper and sauté for a few seconds. Add vegetable broth, cooked beans, orange halves, salt and pepper, reserving the orange juice for later. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add extra water as necessary (I use the water from the cooked beans).

Puree: Once vegetables are tender, remove the orange halves and bay leaves. Use a stick blender to blend soup to desired consistency. I blended about 3/4, leaving some texture. You could also use a food processor/blender (this method may take two batches to complete). Blending is optional, you may like it as is. Add the orange juice to the pureed soup and cook another 5-10 minutes.

To Serve: Serve alone or over a bed of cooked buckwheat, farro or brown rice. Top soup with a dollop of sour cream. You may also like to top it with diced onion, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocado, jalapenos, a squeeze of lime and/or cilantro. For vegan option use vegan sour cream 🙂

Notes: Canned beans: If using canned beans, be sure to drain and rinse them well. Put beans in pot as in the instructions for ‘Cook Soup’.



Recipe by Debora Galvin