Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup

This is not exactly the post I had in mind when I decided I had to share this soup with you. While living with my parents I was not cooking much at all,  and I was not cooking the type of food I crave daily. That food, after a few days of feasting on cheese, was essentially one: soup, loaded with vegetables, legumes, fibers, spices, herbs, chillies, hot, filling, easy to digest. I am addicted to that feeling of a warm and full, but not overloaded,  belly. I then decided that to celebrate the control I was going to regain in my kitchen and my life, I’d share a lot of soup recipes, whether from blogs, books, or my own fantasy. We all need more soup in our life.

So when I made this soup whose recipe I found in Smitten Kitchen, and it exactly what I had been craving for: hot, filling, spicy, comforting, great leftovers… I thought I finally was starting to get it. I had the first soup of a long series of soups to share.

Well, you can’t always choose in life, I guess. My knee decided to fall down again. I am again on crutches. I felt pretty low at the moment: I mean, that is not fair! I’ve just put my life on hold for months because of the move, and literally a week after finishing the bulk of it, here I was, confined again. Surely a childish reaction: it is nothing major. I have a guarantee that at some point, it is going to heal. It may even not take that long this time, possibly. So well, it is just funny that this space, where I hoped I would record my best recipes and amazing food I ate, is turning more and more into a personal journal. There is always space for food in my life. At the moment, it is not as exciting as I think it should be, that’s all: it does not take center stage as it usually does when I can choose (not sure what is taking its place, though).

I crave so much for a normal spell of time. If I did not get it, it is partly my fault – I made choices that are not the easiest options, and had to face the consequences; I was lucky because I actually had a choice at all. And then things happen that are outside our control, and we just have to accept them. I am not very wise, mind you: a part of me wants to scream and scream like a three-year old would and just cry and shout out loud: BUT I AM SO BORED!!!! But all in all, I am a lucky gal, and try never to forget it. Thank goodness my knee waited until I was home. I cannot even start thinking about the mess if it didn’t.  My family think I have bad luck: my partner’s father suggested I go and get some ritual against bad luck, il malocchio, the way they traditionally do in Calabria: get a blessing from le bagnarote, powerful women living in Bagnara Calabra, midway between healers and witches, whose rituals though are not particularly appealing (they involve wee, I won’t say anything else). I think I’d rather stick to my (relatively) good star and avoid involvement in any medieval rituals.

mlla41Anyway. If you can, while you can, make this soup. It is good. It is also dead easy. We are going to cook it again and again in the next month, together with this pumpkin soup and this lentil soup – favourites here. The active – read: standing – time is minimal, the calories are acceptable (yes, watching my weight again! What an irony for the girl who never dieted), and you can just make loads and eat over a few days. It is also a great way to use my latest love affair in the vast world of legumes: black turtle beans. They are pitch black, they keep their shape well when cooking, and they have a very intense sweet flavour.  I’m sending this recipe to My Legume Love Affair 41, the beloved event created by Susan at The Well Seasoned cook and hosted this month by my dear Simona at Briciole. The picture you see below is also going to participate to Black and White Wednesday, created and hosted again by Susan at The Well Seasoned Cook, an  event whose popularity is raising each week and which turns out more and more inspiring – I have already discovered so many blogs I love through it.

Black bean soup - b&w

Black Bean Soup with cumin yoghurt

(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)


300 g dried black turtle beans

2 medium red onions

1 red bell pepper

1 green bell pepper

1 fresh red hot chilli, or to taste

olive oil

2-3 cloves of garlic

4 teaspoons cumin seeds (it looks like a lot, but it’s not)



lime, to serve

Toasted cumin seed yogurt

100 ml greek yogurt (substitute creme fraiche, sour cream, or whatever you fancy)



1 /2 tablespoons  cumin seeds

For the soup: Soak the black beans overnight. Toast cumin seeds in a pan, when smelling good, and before they burn,  grind them in a mortar or spice grinder. Chop roughly onions, peppers and garlic.Heat a tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker or heavy bottom pan, add onion and peppers and cook stirring often, until they soften up a bit and begin to colour (5-6 minutes). Add ground cumin and garlic, then the soaked black beans (discard soaking water), together with enough fresh water to cover them generously. Close the pressure cooker and cook for about 40 minutes – they need time until they are very soft. Puree most of the soup using a hand blender, leaving a few black beans whole for texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a generous squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of cumin yogurt.
For the yogurt: toast cumin seeds, grind them (mortar of spice grinder) and add them to the yogurt, together with some salt and pepper. Good also on other things like roasted sweet potatoes, so you may want to double quantities.


9 Comments to “Black Bean Soup”

  1. All is definitely not lost. I love how you ARE still making soup despite your challenges.. what better way to recover than to eat soups filled to the brim with veggies? Eventually everything will fall into place, no worries about warding off the bad luck…

  2. A delicious soup! Very healthy and so comforting.



  3. I love the intense black of this soup. And with that dollop of yoghurt – beautiful! I hope you feel better soon.

  4. I’m glad you are still cooking and writing — keep on keeping on…this soup looks perfectly comforting — the color is fabulous and stunning!

  5. Sorry to hear about your knee. Sounds like the right time for a comforting soup. I personally can never get enough of soups so I am excited you will be posting recipes. Feel better!

  6. oh this is going to be my soup of the week! and it couldn’t have come at a better time, because suddenly my body seems to want nothing but soup lunches. and ouch, about that knee. hope it heals soon! my experience with a broken toe tells me it’s not a pretty time 😦

  7. First of all, I hope you get well soon. Knees are delicate and they really require a lot of care. They’ll make you remember the minimal injury for a long time. Rest is the way to go, so I hope you have some nice books to keep you company. I didn’t know about the bagnarote. This looks like a very nice soup. I love the blackness of the beans and the black bowl. After trying black lentils, I am partial to black legumes. Thank you so much for your kind word and for your contribution to MLLA.

  8. i like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out it’s for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

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