black bean soup

Black bean sopa Azteca – Mexican black bean soup

This Mexican soup is a regular dinner for us – the add-ins made it really filling and substantial. A few steps at the start of the recipe give the soup a wonderful smoky depth of flavour. And the end additions give it freshness and texture. This soup freezes beautifully, making it great for lunch or dinner on nights when you don’t have time to cook. Just let it cool before freezing it. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4 days.

Chipotle is a smoky chilli pepper. It is really common in the US but is getting easy to find in the UK. You can buy Chipotle paste or this Cholula sauce at most supermarkets.

Black beans are increasingly found with canned beans at the supermarket in the UK. Sometimes they’ll be in the international aisle.

black bean soup

Active prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35 mins
Serves 4-6 people

Black Bean Soup Ingredients:

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic (skin on)
  • 1 tablespoon olive or rapeseed/canola oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dried or 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1-2 teaspoons Chipotle sauce or paste (see note above)
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 cans of black beans – don’t drain them
  • 250ml (8 fl oz or around 1 cup) vegetable stock – either use a cube or paste to make it
  • 2 limes

To serve:

  • Around 4 handfuls of salted tortilla chips
  • around 200g (7 oz) Feta cheese
  • Around 300g (10 oz) baby tomatoes
  • 30-60g fresh coriander (1-2 ounces cilantro)
  • 2 avocados cut into cubes
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges


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  • heavy based saucepan. I use my Le Creuset
  • metal tongs
  • Chef knife and board
  • onion goggles
  • silicone spatula
  • Microplane zester
  • citrus juicer
  • immersion blender

How to make black bean soup:

  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pan over a high heat and put the whole tomatoes and unpeeled garlic in without any oil. Dry roast them, turning them every couple of minutes until they are blackened, blistered and soft. They will look burnt. The garlic takes around 5 minutes on a very high heat, longer if you’re not quite brave enough to have the heat so high. The tomato takes about 10 minutes in total. Don’t be tempted to skip this slightly odd stage – this is what gives the wonderful smokiness and depth to the soup
  2. While the garlic and tomato roasts, heat your stock and finely chop your onions.
  3. Remove the blackened garlic and tomato to a plate. Set aside.
  4. Turn the pan down to low and add the oil before adding the onion, a pinch of salt, oregano and bay leaf. Sweat the onion (slowly cook it on a medium heat until soft and golden).
  5. After around 5 minutes of cooking the onions, add the whole roasted tomato, whole garlic and chipotle sauce to the pan. Cook for around 3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add the beans and their liquid plus the stock.
  6. Turn the heat to high and cover the pan with a lid. Then when it is boiling, drop the heat to a simmer and remove the lid.
  7. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally then either purée with an immersion blender or mash with a potato masher, being sure to purée the garlic and skin into the soup. I like my soup to still have some chunks in it so I purée about half and leave the other half chunky.
  8. Add the lime juice and zest, taste and adjust the salt, chipotle, lime and pepper to suit.
  9. Divide between serving bowls and serve with your choice of toppings. This means everyone can have what they want and the green-averse can skip the coriander. I like to put a handful of slightly crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of my bowl then ladle the soup on top so they go a little soggy. Then I top the soup with avocado chunks, chopped coriander/cilantro, quartered baby tomatoes, crumbled feta and another squeeze of lime. I usually add extra hot sauce too.

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