Smoky Brazilian Black Bean Soup

Today, we're going to delve yet again into vegetarian cuisine for a healthy, inexpensive and deliciously ethnic soup.

Admittedly this recipe has an ingredient list a bit longer than the typical recipes we feature here at Casual Kitchen. But don't let that discourage you: this soup is really easy to make. It should only take you about 20-25 minutes get everything into the pot, then another 25 minutes to simmer, and then voila!, dinner is on the table.

And when your family samples the amazing spicy and smoky taste of this spectacular soup, nobody will believe you threw it together that quickly!
Smoky Brazilian Black Bean Soup
(modified from Jay Solomon's Vegetarian Soup Cuisine)


3 Tablespoons olive oil
1-2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 large tomato, chopped
1-2 canned chipotle peppers, finely chopped
1 28 ounce can black beans, undrained
2 carrots, chopped
4 cups water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1) Saute the onions, green bell pepper, garlic and spices (cumin, oregano, thyme and salt) on medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions and green pepper wilt and soften.

2) Add the tomato and chipotle pepper(s) and saute for another 2-3 minutes or so.

3) Add the beans (be sure to include the liquid from the black bean can too!), carrots, water and tomato paste. Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes. Remove from heat, add parsley, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

4) Ladle into bowls and garnish with any extra chopped fresh parsley.

Serves 6.

A few recipe notes:
1) The liquid from the canned black beans and the tomato paste combine to make this soup thick. Be sure to simmer it on fairly low heat, and definitely be sure to stir the soup every few minutes or so to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

2) Do not leave out the chipotle peppers. That's the secret ingredient of this soup and it's what infuses it with its signature smoky and savory taste. It is by far the most important ingredient. Also, resist the temptation to use ground chipotle chili powder. You can find canned chipotles in the Spanish/Mexican section of most major grocery stores. We used two chipotle peppers canned in an adobo sauce, and we were really happy with the result.

3) A few words on the laughable cheapness of this dish: Our grocery bill this week exploded far beyond typical (for a variety of ice cream- and junk food-related reasons that I can't really get into right now), so I was too depressed to study the receipt and itemize the exact cost of this recipe. But I'd estimate that this entire dish can be made for well under $10. And since you can serve at least six with a pot of this soup, we're talking about a close-to-preposterously cheap cost per serving in the neighborhood of $1.50 to $1.75.

4) Serve with a side of rice, or better still, Spicy Brown Rice.

Related Posts:
Groundnut Stew: A Classic and Exotic Vegetarian Recipe
The Greatest Chocolate Mousse in the World
Cajun Meatloaf: A Meatloaf Recipe that would Burn June Cleaver's Tongue Off

How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by linking to me, subscribing to my RSS feed, or submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like, digg or stumbleupon.


Melissa said...

I was just telling a friend yesterday what a black bean fiend I am - so obviously this is right up my alley. I bet the chipotles really make it work. Nice (and frugal) dish!

Daniel said...

Hi Melissa,
I'm glad you enjoyed this one, it is a true keeper in our kitchen. Let me know if you try it out!


Karen said...

Sounds very good... I love using chipotles - they have such a smokey earthy flavor.

Laura said...

Oh YUM!!! I think I'm going to make this for lunch :)

Unknown said...

Would love this soup on a cold evening-- I'm sure it would warm you right up!

Brittany said...

While I disagree that $1.50-$2.00/serving is "laughably cheap" (that's "moderate priced"... under $1 is cheap... under $.50 is laughable), the chipotle peppers at my (normally inexpensive) grocery store were more expensive than buying a nice cut of meat to go with this dish.

So... I broke the rule. I used chipotle canned tomatoes instead of the peppers and fresh tomato (too early to get good fresh ones anyway). I also used cooked dry beans instead of canned (much more laughably cheap).

Turned out great! I bet the peppers would have made it even better. I'll have to search some grocery stores in the Hispanic neighborhood for more affordable ones for next time.

Brittany said...

So I got curious and actually calculated how much this cost per serving... using the changes I listed above and serving it over rice, it cost me $0.64/serving. Far more laughably cheap. (Smart shopping but no coupons used to buy ingredients.)

Daniel said...

Thanks Brittany! Yep, that's pretty darn laughable.


Melissa said...

Finally, after all this time, I made it! This is REALLY, really good black bean soup. I used cilantro, not parsley, fresh cooked beans and a bit more salt. Love this so much. Thanks Dan!

Daniel said...

Excellent Melissa, so happy to hear it. Another convert! :)