Black Bean Soup


Black bean soup is an absolutely delicious recipe. Given that the black bean has such a rich flavour, and so much of that flavour ends up in the cooking water, it makes a lot of sense for it to be made into a soup.

If you make black beans for something other than a black bean soup, you can actually use the cooking water as a soup in its own right. It’s delicious with nothing but a bit of salt. You can also add tomatoes, onions, cumin, paprika, cilantro, and lime, for an intensely flavoured black bean broth.

However, I’m going to give you a more detailed recipe than that. Here is a black bean soup recipe that includes all the “bits”. The fresh flavours contrast with the depth and the earthiness of the black beans, and match them in intensity.

This black bean soup recipe is vegan. It is adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson.
150g firm tofu

Black Bean Soup2 spring onions

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/3 tsp paprika (smoked paprika or Pimentón de la Vera is best)

1/2 medium garlic clove, finely chopped


170g dry black beans

750ml filtered/mineral water

1 fresh tomato, roughly chopped

1 lime, juice only

2-4 tbsp chopped, fresh coriander (cilantro)

Salt to taste

1. Prepare the black beans overnight. You’ll want to cover them with quite a bit of water, and add a teaspoon of baking soda (baking soda is important, by the way, as without it the beans will take much longer to cook and the recipe would work very differently). Leave overnight to soak, or for 8 hours.

Resist the urge to use tinned black beans. It’s the rich flavour from the cooking water which really makes this soup.

2.Slice the tofu into rough 1cm cubes. Fry it for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

3. As you are frying the tofu, first drain the beans and then put them in a pot with the 750ml of water. Bring them to the boil, then turn down the heat so that it continues to simmer and cook. You can add a drop of olive oil if you like to prevent foaming. Keep the lid on to prevent evaporation (or else add a little more water after you finish cooking).
4. Cut off the white parts of the spring onions. Set the green parts aside. Chop the white parts finely and add them to the frying pan with the cumin and garlic. Fry for about 2 minutes on a gentle heat.

5. Add the tofu, onions, garlic and cumin to the pot where the beans are boiling, as well as the paprika. Simmer until the black beans are done; taste them to make sure. Just take one or two beans out with a fork, leave them for 30 seconds to cool, and try them. They should be tender to the bite. Once the black beans are done, add the tomato. Stir and add salt to taste. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

6. While you are waiting, chop the rest of the spring onions finely.

7. Serve the soup in bowls. Add lime juice to taste and top with the spring onions and cilantro.

8. The Spanish for “bon apetit” – “Que aproveche!” Be sure to use this phrase as you tuck into this zingy Mexican style black bean soup.