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Big Sur Black Bean Soup – Recipe

Big Sur Black Bean Soup – Recipe

Perfect for the chilly damp days of early Spring, this spicy black bean soup recipe comes to us from the Big Sur area of California, where it is a favorite warm-up for hikers after a day along the beach or the forest.

Black beans are high in fiber and nutrition, low on the food chain, delicious, and inexpensive. And this soup is so easy to make.


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 celery ribs, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoons cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups black beans, soaked in water overnight and drained
1 jalapeno, or 2 for more heat
2 bay leaves
kosher salt
freshly-ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and cook them until they are tender and fragrant, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the cumin and red pepper, and stir for 1 minute. Add the black beans and 6 cups of water.

2. Using a paring knife, make several lengthwise slits in the jalapeno, add it to the soup, and add the bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer the beans until they are completely tender and begin to fall apart, 40 to 90 minutes, depending on the age of the beans. As the beans cook, add more water, if needed, to keep them from becoming too dry.

3. Remove and discard the jalapeno and the bay leaves. If you like, you can puree half the beans using an immersion blender, or simply cook them for 15 minutes more, until they nearly dissolve.

4. Stir the soup, taste, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and serve immediately. Or refrigerate, and reheat when ready to serve.

5. Serve with your favorite salsa, or some grated cheddar cheese, if you like.

Serves 4 to 6.

Read more: Food, All recipes, Soups & Salads

Adapted from California Home Cooking by Michele Anna Jordan (Harvard Common Press, 1997). Copyright (c) 1997 by Michele Anna Jordan. Reprinted by permission of Harvard Common Press.
Adapted from California Home Cooking by Michele Anna Jordan (Harvard Common Press, 1997).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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California Home Cooking

American cooking in the California now


+ add your own
7:19PM PDT on May 10, 2012

Sounds delicious. Thanks Annie.

6:53PM PDT on May 4, 2012


12:17AM PDT on May 1, 2012


11:59PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

I love bean soup. Thanks.

1:17AM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

I love black beans soup. Thanks for the great recipe.

5:09AM PDT on Mar 21, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:23PM PDT on Jul 21, 2010

I'm sure this will become a favourite.

2:41AM PST on Mar 10, 2010

Excellent, thanks!

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