Hot Spicy Black Bean Soup for a Cold Day

Black beans

Black beans

Fresh cilantro

Fresh cilantro

Blood oranges

Blood oranges


I have written, before, about the fabulous home-smoked chipotle peppers given to me by a friend and grown by another friend in Truro. These babies pack a powerful supply of heat, so much that one teeny pepper, soaked in hot water (the smoking process turns a fresh jalapeno pepper into a dried pepper) AND with the seeds removed, brought heat to a whole big pot of soup! But luckily for those of you who might make this soup, the available canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, while still scorching hot, don’t get me wrong, might not be as hot as these. Still, start with only one to see….
I added blood orange segments as a nod to the original Brazilian Black Bean Soup I used to make from Molly Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook, (hers had oranges in it) plus to tone down the heat. It came out delicious.

This recipe just happens to be vegan and Gluten free. It’s funny that most things I make are gluten-free, without even trying, except when it comes to baking, but that’s a story for another day.

I made this soup a couple weekends ago on a very cold day, and I couldn’t remember whether I used roasted diced sweet potato or roasted butternut squash! So I went back to my photos and pictures of both were in close proximity to my soup photos. Are you kidding? Well, I determined that one could use either and either would be fine, although I did use the butternut squash. I think.

Vegan Hot Black Bean Soup
3-4 Cups cooked black beans*

1 T grapeseed oil

1 medium Onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves or more

1 T cumin seeds

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, diced into cubes, and roasted** (or a large sweet potato, peeled and diced and roasted or steamed would be totally delish too!)

1 dried chipotle pepper, soaked in hot hot (or boiling) water for about 20 min, then seeds removed OR one small chiptole pepper in adobo sauce (use the sauce! it’s a great flavor)
several blood oranges, peeled, the white pith removed somewhat (don’t stress over this; it doesn’t really matter!)

stock or the cooking liquid from the black beans, about 4 cups (one container full of vegetable stock from Trader Joe’s could work if you buy canned beans instead of cooking the beans from dry.)

chopped cilantro, about 1/2 to 1 cup, depending on how much you like it!

I soaked a whole mess of black beans overnight and then drained, rinsed and added a few cups of water (more than enough to cover the beans), brought that to a boil and then covered and simmered for a few hours. I added a piece of Kombu (seaweed) for flavor but mostly it’s supposed to help the beans be more digestible and produce less gas and PLUS it’s a superfood in itself, full of minerals we don’t get elsewhere.

So, if you aren’t up for cooking your own beans and want to buy organic canned beans, that is perfectly fine; personally, I drain and rinse canned beans so I can better adjust the salt content myself.

After the beans are cooked, I drained them but preserved the cooking liquid to add as stock to the soup. Saute the chopped onion in grapeseed oil (or other neutral cold-pressed vegetable oil) with the whole cumin seeds and the garlic, peeled and chopped. When the onions are cooked through, add them to a blender with about 2/3 of the cooked beans and the chipotle pepper and about 2 cups of the stock (or cooking liquid) and then pour all of that back into the soup pot, adding the rest of the whole cooked beans and the roasted butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. add the orange sections about 30 minutes or so before serving.

**for the butternut squash, you can soak the whole thing in hot water for a while (20 minutes to hours) and then it makes the peeling easier. Peel, discard seeds and chop into bite-sized pieces and place on a pan with some melted coconut oil (I add 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut oil to a jellyroll pan, stick it in the oven that’s been preheated to 350 degrees, and let it melt; it takes minutes.) Then you can roll the squash pieces in the oil to coat and place back in the oven. Turn after 20 minutes for a total of about 45 minutes cooking time. Roasting the squash can be done in advance and even the day before or earlier in the day.

This soup pairs nicely with a green salad with watercress or arugula or some other strong green, plus, of course, a nice crusty bread.