This spicy black bean soup is full of flavor and incredibly easy to make. With cumin, chili, and citrus — these flavors are spot on. There’s dynamic tension and nothing missing (ok, technically, you might want to dunk some cornbread in this soup). Point is: seasoned to perfection!
How to Make the Best Spicy Black Bean Soup
What I love about black bean soup is that the beans act as their own flavorful stock. Like most Latin inspired stews, this one starts with a trinity of bell pepper, celery, and onion. Then, you add a few spices to create that earthy, spicy, toasty flavor.
The beans simmer away and that’s when you tie a perfect bow on top:
You take an immersion blender (ideal for convenience) or you scoop a few cups of black beans out and blend them. Then, you have all that bean liquid flavor that disperses throughout the soup for even more flavor. Do not skip the blending step:)
So, what do you need to get started?
- You need a way to zest an orange. I like using a microplane for this, but you could also use the fine holes of a box grater. Tip: avoid the white pith. Tis bitter.
- You need a heavy duty medium size pot or Dutch oven.
- You need a blender or immersion blender.
Let’s Talk Chilies for a Sec
What’s really exciting from a flavor perspective is the combination of chili powder and citrus. As regular readers know all too well, I’m a sucker for a chamoy and mangonada combination and regularly douse my popcorn with tajin. So, this soup is a continuation of my obsession with chilies.
Today, I used chipotle powder, but if you can’t find it, you can use an entire dried chipotle chili (and then remove it after the simmer) or you can use canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce. You only need one chili though, as these can be really spicy.
If all else fails, and you want to use plane ol’ chili powder, that’s totally A-ok, and your soup will still be incredible because you achieve a toasty effect when you stir it into the vegetables (just follow the recipe and you’ll be fine).
Serving and Storing Black Bean Soup
For some reason, beans don’t store as well as some other soups. For that reason, I recommend refrigerating for only 2 days. This recipe only serves 4, which is a good size for 1-2 people. Feel free to double the recipe or use dried beans soaked overnight.
Dried Black Beans Conversion
To use dried beans, you would measure 1 1/2 cups and soak in water overnight (they will double in size). Drain and rinse the beans, then proceed with the recipe. You will need to add extra water and cooking time to give the beans room to simmer. I’ve made this recipe with soaked beans with success, but you really need to simmer for about 30 minutes and then use the immersion blender.
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Spicy Black Bean Soup with Sweet and Sour Citrus
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder or cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cans black beans (30 oz total)
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 orange
- 2 limes
- 1 oz Fresh cilantro, chopped
- Sauté the vegetables. Chop the onion, bell pepper, and celery (trinity). Warm a pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 7 minutes. Chop the garlic and add to the pot with the cumin, chipotle, and salt. Stir to coat the vegetables.
- Simmer and blend the beans. Drain and rinse the beans. Combine the beans and water with the vegetables and bring to a simmer, about 8 minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend the stew for about 30 seconds or transfer 2 cups to a blender and blend until smooth and add back to the pot.
- Season and serve with fresh citrus. Use a microplane to add fresh orange zest. Cut the orange in half and squeeze over the soup (use your fingers to catch any seeds). Add the juice of 1 lime. Taste the soup and add more salt if needed. Remove the peel and cut the remaining orange half and lime into segments and serve over top of the soup. Garnish with cilantro.
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