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Cuban Black Bean Soup

by Jeanette on February 7, 2011 · 11 Comments
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Cuban Black Bean Soup

Today, I will be teaching the third in a series of soup classes to a group of seniors at our local community center. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the purpose of this soup series is to encourage seniors to cook more at home, rather than buy processed and artificial foods, which tend to be high in sodium and additives, and are often not as healthful as foods that can be prepared easily at home.

The first two classes, we made a Simple Lentil Soup and a Simple Mushroom Barley Soup, both of which were very well received by the class. I have been so encouraged by the enthusiasm and interest that this group of seniors has shown so far, and I am hopeful that a number of them will start cooking more at home.

Based on popular vote, I will be making a Black Bean Soup today. One of our local restaurants, Gates Restaurant and Bar, serves a long-time favorite, Cuban Black Bean Soup, which I tried to recreate. In fact, I ordered a cup of their soup to take home just so I could try to come as close as possible to the Cuban Black Bean Soup that was requested. Once I tasted Gate’s Cuban Black Bean Soup, I understood why it is so loved. Their black bean soup is ultra-creamy tasting and just pure comfort.

I’ve made black bean soup before, but mine has never come out this creamy. The trick is to cook the beans and the soup for a really long time. This Cuban Black Bean Soup is perfect for a cold winter day when you’re stuck inside like we’ve been lately with all the snow this winter. I’ll be serving this soup with some fresh cornbread and Michel Nischan’s Chopped Salad with Apple Vinaigrette, another popular dish from a favorite local restaurant, The Dressing Room, which was co-founded by the late Paul Newman and Chef Nischan.

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Adapted from Gates’ Restaurant. I substituted uncured turkey bacon for the traditional smoked ham hock to reduce the amount of fat and preservatives that are sometimes used in smoked products. Gates serves their black bean soup with a simple garnish of parsley and onion. If you like more toppings, try avocado, red bell pepper, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. For a vegetarian soup, simple leave out the turkey bacon and Greek yogurt garnish.


Printable Recipe
10 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight in water, then rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
6 celery stalks, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
3 slices uncured turkey bacon, optional 
1/2 cup dry sherry
salt and pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes:
fresh parsley or cilantro
chopped red onion
chopped avocado
chopped red bell pepper
non-fat Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream

In a large soup pot, bring stock to a boil. Add drained black beans, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any froth that rises to the surface.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot, but not smoking. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and cumin. Cook until onions are translucent, but not brown, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Onions, Carrots, Celery and Garlic Form the Flavor Base for Most Soups

Add this to the chicken stock pot, along with the parsley, turkey bacon and sherry. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

Remove the turkey bacon. Use an immersion blender, blender or food processor to puree soup to your liking. If you like some whole beans, puree half the soup, then add back to the the soup pot Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Puree Soup To Your Liking.

Garnish soup with fresh parsley or cilantro, red onion, avocado and Greek yogurt if desired.

Serves 10.

More Black Bean Soup Recipes:
Black Bean Soup with Toasted Cumin Seed Crema, Smitten Kitchen
Stormy Black Bean Soup, FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Black Bean Soup with Orange-Jalapeno Salsa, Herbivoracious
Black Bean and Rice Soup with Lime and Cilantro, Kalyn’s Kitchen (for a healthier option, substitute brown rice and add to soup 45 minutes before soup is done)

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  1. Fantastic recipe!

  2. Your soup looks delicious. Black beans are a favorite in my family.

  3. Pretend Chef says:

    Black beans are a favorite in our household adn this soup would be perfect. I love hearty soups like black bean tends to be. Your garnishes are great. The avocado would be a must for me. Great way to add some healthy fat to the dish. I know the seniors will love this one.

  4. I just got back from teaching this class, and the Cuban Black Bean soup was a hit. They loved all the toppings, which made the soup extra colorful.

  5. Looks delicious!

  6. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says:

    I LOVE black bean soup. Your soup looks soooo good. I am definitely trying out your recipe, it's calling my name! :)

  7. Thanks Lindsey, I just had some leftovers for lunch, and it was just as good!

  8. Wow, this black bean soup looks delicious with all the stuff on top :-)

  9. Thanks Juliana, I have to say the toppings make this soup so much more fun to eat!

  10. Hi Jeanette! This looks yummy. I was just wondering though, since I live alone and usually am just cooking for myself, how do you think this would freeze?

    • Hi Jaime, bean soups do freeze, although the texture once defrosted changes some. Since this is pureed, you might not notice any difference.

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