Now what day is it? I’ve lost track of space and time in the holiday-birthday vortex that sucks me up at the end of every year. Over the past week, I turned twenty-eight, ate lots of cake, and let my friends buy me birthday drinks. It’s been lovely.
I’m easing back into blogging and balanced meals with this healthy black bean soup recipe. It comes together pretty quickly thanks to canned beans, but the soup tastes remarkably fresh and delicious with the addition of carrots, celery and garlic. Cumin and a little bit of red wine vinegar add a Cuban flair that takes it over the top!
I learned a lesson from this recipe, which is that a soup doesn’t need a long list of spices for a complex final flavor. Aromatics make all the difference. This soup is a million times better than the store-bought variety. Actually, it’s the best black bean soup I’ve ever tasted!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, chopped fine
- 1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 4½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon+ red pepper flakes
- 4 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, to taste, or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Optional garnishes: diced avocado, extra cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, tortilla chips...
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, celery and carrot and a light sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beans and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the broth is flavorful and the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes.
- Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth (beware the steam that escapes from the top of the blender, it's very hot). Return the pureed soup to the pot, stir in the cilantro, vinegar/lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.
- Recipe adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
- Suggested sides: a little green salad, simplified quesadillas or a grilled cheese sandwich.
- More filling winter soups you might like: tortilla soup, butternut squash chipotle chili, West African peanut soup and curried sweet potato, kale and chickpea soup.