Cuban Black Bean Soup


I’ve been trying to find a good black bean soup recipe for a few months now. The first one I tried was from the Food Network’s site. Not sure whose it was, but it was baaadddd. So bad, I didn’t even post it here, the pictures alone were horrible and unappetizing. So when I found the recipe for Cuban Black Bean Soup in the January issue of Cooking Light I was hopeful. Granted, the ingredient list was quite long, but if you look closely you’ll see that the last nine ingredients are the toppings, most of which I found unnecessary (which now looking back were probably necessary to help out the lack of flavor of the actual soup….).

My first problem was with the dried black beans. It took longer than 2 1/2 hours for them to soften, more like 3 1/2. My second issue was taste, I found it to be quite bland. I did add some sour cream, tomatoes, and avocado on top to help it out. The husband added some hot sauce which he said also gave it a little boost. There were quite a few negative postings on Cooking Light’s site that were very similar to my complains -the beans, the blandness, etc. Please, someone point me in the direction of a good black bean soup recipe!

Overall rating- 2 stars

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Chef Douglas Rodriguez of DeLaCosta restaurant in Chicago was born in America, but this recipe is inspired by his mother’s black bean soup, which offered robust flavor for people who didn’t have money to spend on meat for stock. Here we use both fresh and dried oregano because each imparts a different flavor to the final dish.

2 bay leaves
1 pound dried black beans
12 1/2 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper (about 3 medium)
2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped shallots (about 2 small)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups diced peeled avocado
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups thinly sliced red onion
1 1/2 cups chopped 33%-less-sodium smoked, fully cooked ham
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup light sour cream
10 teaspoon unsalted pumpkinseed kernels, toasted
1/3 cup finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper (about 2 medium)
Lime wedges (optional)
Place bay leaves and beans in a Dutch oven. Add 12 cups water to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 2 1/2 hours or until tender, stirring occasionally. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, chopped onion, and shallots to pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin, dried oregano, and fresh oregano; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a blender; add remaining 1/2 cup water. Puree until smooth.Add vegetable mixture, sugar, and salt to beans; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Combine avocado and juice; toss gently. Ladle 3/4 cup bean mixture into each of 10 bowls; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons avocado mixture, about 3 tablespoons red onion, 2 tablespoons ham, about 1 1/2 tablespoons cilantro, about 1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream, 1 teaspoon pumpkinseed kernels, and about 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño pepper. Serve with lime wedges, if desired. Yield:  10 servingsCALORIES 344 (31% from fat); FAT 12g (sat 3.4g,mono 5.7g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 18.6g; CHOLESTEROL 14mg; CALCIUM 110mg; SODIUM 637mg; FIBER 14.7g; IRON 6.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.9g Cooking Light, JANUARY 2008



  1. Clumsy said

    Hey Dani-

    I always use Rachel Ray’s black bean stoup recipe. It’s a really good black bean soup, and you can jazz it up however you like too (I like to add some Monterey Jack cheese sometimes) It’s really hearty, which is what I love in a soup.

    Here’s the link:,,FOOD_9936_33632,00.html

    Never made the sandwiches that go with it in the recipe, but they sound good!


  2. foodiedani said

    Thanks so much Robin! That recipe has a lot of positive reviews too. I can tell you, this was not the recipe I tried that turned out bad, so that’s a good thing.


  3. Sue said

    Beans beans they’re good for your heart… 😛

  4. foodiedani said

    Suzy Q very funny 😛


  5. melissa said

    I love black bean soup, never tried my hand at it before but it’s been on my “to make” list for a couple of months now. I have a recipe already copied and pasted and if it works out well, I’ll let you know what it was. 😉 sorry yours turned out kinda funky!

  6. foodiedani said

    Hey Melissa,

    Please do post if it’s a good one. The one Robin linked to sounds pretty good. I’ll probably try that one next.


  7. Oscar said

    I reject Rachel’s recipe on the basis that it uses canned beans. But hey, it’s your kitchen. Rachel’s is a SW-inspired recipe whereas Douglas Rodriguez starts with basic Cuban soup and adds ingredients to “jazz it up”. My issue with his recipe is the excessive amount of water. Reduce the water to 9 cups, use 1/2 a cup of the water in which the beans cook to puree the vegetable mixture, increase the amount of salt (especially if you’re not adding cooked ham to the soup) and add pepper (especially if you’re not adding jalapenos) and tell me it isn’t real good.

  8. foodiedani said

    Hey Oscar,

    I definitely prefer using dried beans for black bean soup too. Thanks for your suggestions though!


  9. Seagrass said

    I soaked my beans and have been surfing for black bean soup recipes. I found one on for cuban black bean soup that sounds good.

  10. Saf said

    is it just me but everytime I puree parts of the soup I end up w/ this funky brown color that looks very unappetizing. Please help, I want a black bean soup that is black!

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