This is my favorite black bean soup recipe. It’s a truly nourishing delight. This recipe tastes best with home-cooked black beans, but you can also use canned black beans if you want. There are a few ingredients that are optional (corn and red bell pepper), but I love how they add color and texture to the soup.
Black Beans are Nutritious
Also known as black turtle beans, these little gems are nutritional powerhouses. Black beans are high in protein and fiber providing 15 grams of each per cup. That’s more than half of the daily requirement for fiber! Their protein offers some unique peptide components that help balance blood sugar and insulin levels. So there’s no need to be concerned about the carbohydrates in this black bean soup. More on that later.
Black beans are an excellent source of minerals such as iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum, manganese, copper, selenium, and zinc. So many beneficial nutrients! These minerals also help maintain healthy bones. Keep in mind that selenium is considered a powerful antioxidant that can help detoxify cancer-causing compounds in the body. It also helps support thyroid function.
Black beans also provide about 2 mg of zinc per serving, the same amount as in four ounces of shrimp or turkey. Zinc is essential for a healthy immune system, metabolism, wound healing, taste, and smell. Anthocyanins are the phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that give the beans their black color. These valuable antioxidants are the same as those typically associated with the purple and red fruits and vegetables that promote heart health.
Another mineral worth mentioning in this black bean soup is molybdenum, an important trace mineral. Molybdenum helps the body make substances that neutralize acetaldehyde (what results from alcohol consumption) and sulfites. Those with “wine headaches” or sulfite sensitivities may be experiencing a molybdenum deficiency. This black bean soup is loaded with molybdenum and provides double the daily recommended intake.
Black Beans are a Great Source of Resistant Starch
When popular diet trends steer people away from starch and carbohydrates, it can be detrimental to digestive health and overall health. Black beans are excellent for digestion, not only because of the fiber, but their starch contains a large portion of resistant starch. This is a type of starch that “resists” digestion and goes on to feed our gut bacteria. Resistant starch is beneficial for weight loss, improved blood sugar balance, and healthy digestion.
If you are making this black bean soup from whole beans, soak them for 8-10 hours. Then discard the water and rinse the beans before cooking. Don’t add any salt or seasonings until after the beans are cooked or it can make them tough and increase cooking time. Cook the beans for about 90 minutes. Soaking will reduce the phytates (also known as anti-nutrients) and some of the substances that can cause gas. Recent studies show black beans have strong bioavailability despite their phytate content, so even if you use canned beans, you’ll absorb their nutrients.
Enjoy this black bean soup and all of its health benefits!
Sweet and Spicy Black Bean Soup
- 2 1/2 cups of cooked black beans
- 3 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock chicken stock may as an option
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- 1 cup sweet onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 2 stalk celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 oranges peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup frozen organic corn (thawed)
- 1 tablespoon red wine or dry cooking sherry
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
STEP 1 - Prepare Beans
- If you are using whole dry beans, rinse them well then cover with fresh water and soak them overnight for 8-10 hours. In the morning, pour off the excess water, rinse the beans again and place them in a saucepan with 3 1/2 cups of water or stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 90 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the beans and set aside for later.
- If you are using canned beans, drain and rinse them well. Place in a saucepan with the water or stock and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer until you are prepared to add the Step 2 ingredients. Reserve 1/2 cup of beans and set aside for later.
STEP 2 - Prepare Soup
- Saute the onions and garlic with salt in olive oil starting with the onions first (add garlic after 3 minutes).
- Add the carrot, red bell pepper, celery, coriander, and cumin. If needed, add water to steam the vegetables a bit.
- Add this mixture to the beans in the saucepan. Let the soup continue to simmer.
- Add the oranges, orange juice, red wine, molasses, red and black pepper, and lime juice.
- Stir the soup, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- Puree the soup in a high-speed blender. If it's too thick, add more water and return to the saucepan.
- Add the reserved black beans and the corn.
- Serve topped with fresh cilantro leaves and corn chips (optional).