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Spicy Black Bean Soup with Salsa


This Southwestern-inspired soup is served with a colorful fresh salsa, which adds texture and a tangy flavor. If you like a milder flavor, reduce or eliminate the ground red pepper (cayenne) in the soup.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 2 1/2 cups (1 pound) dried black beans, picked over, soaked overnight, and drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Salsa
  • 3 plum tomatoes, finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste


1. Put the beans into a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat so the beans are at a rapid simmer, and cook until the beans are tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

2. In a heavy 5-quart pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, jalapenos, and garlic and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring often, or until softened. Stir in the cumin and ground red pepper and cook for 30 seconds to release the flavors.

3. Add the beans with the cooking liquid and broth. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender.

4. Meanwhile, make the salsa: In a medium bowl, combine the bell pepper, tomato, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

5. If desired, transfer 2 cups soup of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Cook, stirring, until soup thickens, about 2 minutes. Add lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a spoonful of salsa (or serve the salsa separately).

Recipe Notes

• Cool the soup to room temperature, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week. The salsa can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.
• Instead of soaking dried beans overnight, cover them with cold water by 2 inches in a pot; bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit 1 hour.
• If you have leftovers, fill taco shells with shredded lettuce and top with reheated black bean soup, shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, and any leftover salsa.
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