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Black Bean Soup

This variation on a dish found in many of the Blue Zones adds fruit and spices for intense flavor. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients; most of them are spices, so the recipe is easy and fast! A green salad and some corn tortillas or sourdough rolls alongside it will make a meal.


Black Bean Soup Recipe


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow or white onion, diced (about 1 cup)
4 medium celery ribs, diced (about 1 cup)
1⁄2 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced (about 1⁄3 cup)
1 large red globe, beefsteak, or heirloom tomato, chopped (about 3⁄4 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 1⁄2 cups cooked black beans plus 2 cups cooking liquid
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1⁄2 teaspoons celery seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch-thick rings (optional)


Warm the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat.
Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the tomato and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes.
Add the beans with their liquid or water, broth, zest, all the spices, and the salt.
Increase to high heat and bring to a full simmer, stirring occasionally.
Cover, reduce to low heat, and simmer slowly until slightly thickened and mellowed in its flavors, about 30 minutes.
If desired, grill the pineapple slices in a nonstick grill pan set over medium-high heat, turning once, until marked and tender, about 6 minutes; or broil on a large, lipped baking sheet 4 to 6 inches from a heated broiler for 4 minutes, turning once.
Cut into chunks.
Serve the soup with the pineapple on top or on the side.

Tip: If you do not have precooked black beans, use 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (about 31⁄2 cups) and increase the vegetable broth to 4 cups (1 quart).

Tip: When the soup is finished, partially blend with an immersion blender, if you want a thicker soup with a few chunky bits in it.

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