Posted by: 4whateveritsworth | October 15, 2011

Black Bean Soup

As soon as there’s a slight chill in the air, I start craving soups.

Today’s recipe is not only easy to prepare, but extremely nutritious. Like many soups, it freezes beautifully. Cut, chop and cook once, but by doubling the batch, and freezing it, you can later defrost and enjoy it on those evenings when your time is tight or you just don’t feel like cooking.

***Note my tips at the bottom of the recipe, before you shop for the ingredients and begin preparing.

Black Bean Soup

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable (I use two 14 1/2 ounce cans)
3 15 1/2 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice from 1 lime (we enjoy it with extra lime juice added to the soup and added as a condiment, and suggest purchasing extras)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt (optional)
condiments: sour cream (non or low-fat), salsa, cilantro, additional lime juice

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Stir in the cumin and cook 1 minute. Add the celery, carrot, stock and beans. Heat to boil. Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and tomato paste. To thicken soup, puree the beans in a blender/food processor and return to pot (I like to keep some of the beans whole and only puree part of the soup).  Be extra careful when transferring the hot soup to the blender and don’t fill the blender more than halfway. You can add it in small batches. If you don’t have a blender, you can use a potato masher or an immersion blender. Add salt (optional). Serve with sour cream, salsa, cilantro and lime juice.

*** Tips
All good chefs learn ways to cut back on ingredients and costs. Once you gain experience in the kitchen, you’ll easily learn to modify recipes.

First of all, follow the sales. When your time is limited it’s hard to spend time reading the ads. It’s challenging enough to get to the grocery store, much less plan and cook a meal. When you are at the store, keep your eyes out for sale signs on some of your preferred products.

Try different olive oils. They can vary in taste and price. I use extra virgin olive oil. If you have a Trader Joe’s nearby, they sell a nice, moderately priced olive oil.

While I prefer keeping a head of fresh garlic in the kitchen, it may save you time if you purchase a small jar of minced garlic and store it in your refrigerator. It’s a close second to fresh, though nothing beats fresh garlic.

Consider purchasing products (black beans) that are store brands. The least expensive brand of black beans will work fine for this recipe, and for most other recipes utilizing black beans.

Since I use black beans and low sodium chicken broth quite often, I keep my pantry well stocked with extra cans of each.

Often when you use tomato paste, you open a can and only need a tablespoon or two. Take the remaining tomato paste and spoon it out by tablespoons and freeze it on a tray or on waxed paper. Once frozen, remove the individual tablespoons of tomato paste and transfer them to a plastic container to be stored in your freezer for later use. Next time you need a tablespoon of tomato paste, you’ll be all set. You needn’t even defrost it, if you are adding it to a recipe on the stove.

Spices can be a huge drain on your budget. In recent years, I’ve read numerous articles suggesting the purchase of spices at the dollar store, odd lot, closeout stores, or similar places. It’s a huge savings and I’ve been equally satisfied with the taste. Otherwise, look for the generic brands and spices that are on sale, to replenish your supply. There’s no reason to pay $3 or more for spices when you can find them for $1.

The condiments for this recipe are optional, but are a great addition, and from my perspective they really enhance the flavors. Choose the ones that you are more apt to enjoy.

Until my next post, 4 whatever it’s worth…..



  1. Excellent recipe today thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading today’s post.

    Check out this healthy recipe – Cheese Topped Vegetables

    • Thanks for reading my blog and for your positive feedback.

  2. Yum! Black beans are so delicious and meaty – check out my black bean burger recipe!

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