30 Minute Meals – Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Black bean soup. Today I celebrate another 30 minute meal as well as taking a look at the UN International Year of Pulses.

“Pork, beans, water, salt, life”. I think Rick Stein said it best in last years series, Venice to Istanbul when he had a bean soup in the Balkans. Perhaps it’s because these are such basic ingredients and such a simple combination that dishes like black bean soup don’t get the praise and attention they deserve. On paper black bean soup might not sound either exciting or enticing to those who haven’t had it before and experienced it’s deeply rich flavour.

Once you start adding in just a few simple flavours like a bit of pork, a good stock some fire roasted tomatoes and just a couple of simple spices, you’ll quickly find black bean soup is one of the richest and most flavourful dishes you’ll ever eat. Finish it off with fresh and uplifting notes of freshly squeezed lime juice, chopped coriander and cooling avocado and you can take what were basic store cupboard ingredients to a whole new level.

“Pork, beans, water, salt. Life”

Black Bean Soup Pintrest Graphic

Black Bean Soup Pintrest Graphic

Soup often doesn’t sound like it is a meal in itself. I tend to think of it not being filling enough to be a complete dinner in a bowl. But time and again (like this great spicy chorizo and red pepper soup ) I find a great soup recipe which is more than filling enough to be dinner in itself. Last month I cooked this easy chicken ramen noodle bowl from a recipe I found on Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube. Soups can be fantastic comfort food and when made in the right way they are more than hearty enough to be a main course on their own.

2016 International Year Of Pulses

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

2016 was declared by the UN as the International Year of Pulses which celebrates nutritious seeds for a sustainable future. Beans are a big part of the pulse family which includes yummy beans, protein packed lentils, beautifully fresh peas and the devil’s food, aka chickpeas. Pulses can be some of the most delicious and and versatile ingredients you will ever come across and use. They can count towards either the protein or vegetable part of your meal. And they are packed with a lot of energy too. Pulses form a hugely important part of the world’s shopping basket. They form a vital part of any plant based diet and are a great source of plant based protein, important for all of us to get more of.

Yep, it’s easy to see why beans should be celebrated. And a nice big bowl of black bean soup is the perfect way to celebrate the International Year of Pulses. This year I have taken the pulse pledge. You can sign up here and it is pretty simple to do.

All you have to do to take the Pulse Pledge is to commit to eating pulses once a week for 10 weeks. You can include peas, beans, lentils or chickpeas in a single meal each week. Eating dried pulses helps to reduce your carbon footprint and just half a cup of pulses gives you 9 grams of plant based protein.

So take the Pulse Pledge with me and enjoy a big warming bowl of black bean soup. Yum!

30 Minute Meals – Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 large cans of black beans, drained.
  • 100g diced cooking bacon.  
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped.
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, diced.
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
  • 700ml chicken or vegetable stock.
  • 1 can whole cherry tomatoes.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1 tbsp lime juice.
  • 1 bunch chopped coriander.

To serve

  • 1 avocado, sliced.
  • 2 tomatoes, diced.
  • Tortilla chips  


  • Drain then pop two of the cans of black bean in a food processor along with half of the chicken stock and pulse till you have a nice smooth, thin puree.
  • Rinse the other two cans of black beans then set aside.
  • In a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the chopped cooking bacon and cook till just crisp. Make sure you keep stirring it about so you don’t burn it on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add in the chopped onions and red pepper. Stir through with the bacon then saute these together for 3 minutes. Add the garlic then cook for a further minute.
  • Pour in the remaining chicken stock and stir through then add in the remaining whole black beans, pureed black beans, cherry tomatoes, cumin and chilli powder.
  • Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Taste the black bean soup and add salt and taste. If the soup is too thick add some more chicken stock and stir it through.
  • Stir in the fresh squeezed lime juice and coriander.
  • Serve in bowls topping with the sliced avocado and chopped tomatoes. Pop the tortilla crisps on the side.

Russell BowesRecipe, text and photos By Russell Bowes Find me on Google Plus, catch up and message me on Twitter and see more great pictures on Flickr and Instagram. Pin with me on Pintrest.


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