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Long-Simmering Black Bean Soup Recipe

Course: Main Course
Total Time: Under 4 Hours
Skill Level: Moderate
Cost: Inexpensive
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Long-Simmering Black Bean Soup

Photo by: Joseph De Leo

The American classic—robust and brimming with complex flavors. Perfect for rainy days spent indoors. Served with a muffin and simple salad, this soup is the basis of a filling and hearty meal. I especially like this with Cheese and-Herb Corn Muffins

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and sorted
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, diced
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt free seasoning (see notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup dry red wine or sherry, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley


Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water in a large covered soup pot. Or cover with water, bring to a boil, then let stand off the heat for an hour for a shortcut version of presoaking.

In either case, drain the beans after soaking, and rinse. Place in a soup pot with fresh water in a ratio of approximately 3 parts water to 1 part beans. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer steadily for 1 hour.

Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, seasoning, nutmeg, and optional wine. Simmer for another 1 to 1½ hours, or until the beans are soft.

Scoop out about 1½ cups of the beans with a slotted spoon, avoiding as much as possible scooping out the other vegetables. Set aside.

Discard the bay leaves and transfer the solid ingredients, in batches, to a food processor or blender. Use about ¼ cup cooking liquid per batch. Process until smoothly pureed, then return the puree to the soup pot along with the reserved beans. Or insert an immersion blender into the pot and process until smoothly pureed. Season with salt and pepper and return to low heat for 15 minutes.

Just before serving, heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the sliced onion and sauté over medium heat until golden brown.

Garnish each serving with some of the sautéed onion, 2 lemon slices, and some chopped parsley. This soup keeps very well for several days, and the flavor improves as it stands.


Salt-free seasoning

The savory blend of many different herbs and spices eliminates the need for excessive salting. This is an all-purpose way to add a complex flavor to soups. There are several good brands available in supermarkets and natural food stores. My favorites from the supermarket are salt-free Mrs. Dash Table Blend and McCormick Seasonings, which offers a few different all-purpose blends. From the natural food store, the aptly named Spike is a great product, as is Frontier All-Purpose Seasoning. There are other good brands; experiment with them and make good use of whichever you prefer.

© 2009 Nava Atlas

Nutritional information is provided by the author.

Per serving:
Calories: 277 Total fat: 3 g Protein: 15 g Fiber: 12 g
Carbohydrate: 50 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 28 mg


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