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Black Bean Soup With Lime-Pickled Red Onions

Recipe excerpted from 'Soup Nights: Satisfying Soups and Sides for Delicious Meals All Year' by Betty Rosbottom

Here’s a hearty bean soup that stands on its own without the addition of any meat. A generous mix of spices, including an unexpected hint of sweetness from cinnamon sticks, punches up the flavor, but it’s the garnish that makes this dish memorable. Crunchy lime-pickled red onions paired with avocado cubes float atop each serving.

Recipe excerpted from Soup Nights: Satisfying Soups and Sides for Delicious Meals All Year by Betty Rosbottom, Rizzoli New York, 2016. Click here to purchase your own copy.


For the Black Bean Soup

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Cups chopped onion
  • 3/4 Cups diced celery
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoon oregano
  • 3/8 Teaspoons chipotle chili powder plus more for a spicier taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 4, 15 Ounces can black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 5 Cups chicken broth or stock (can use vegetable stock as well), plus more if needed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

For the Lime-Pickled Red Onions and Avocado garnish

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1/4 Cup lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus 2 teaspoons more for garnish
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


For the Black Bean Soup

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, heat the oil until hot. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir 1 minute more. Stir in the cumin, oregano, 3/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir 1 minute more. Add the black beans, chicken broth or vegetable stock, and cinnamon sticks.

Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the soup has reduced by about a third (to about 8 cups) and has thickened, 40 to 45 minutes. Season the soup with salt to taste, and with 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder if you’d like more heat. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks.

(Soup can be prepared one day ahead. Cook to this stage; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat, stirring often. If the soup is too thick, thin with more broth.)

For the Lime-Pickled Red Onions and Avocado garnish

Peel, then halve the onion through the root end. Cut each half crosswise into very thin slices to yield 1 1/2 cups. Transfer onions to a medium nonreactive bowl and toss well with the lime juice, salt, sugar, and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Marinate onions for 30 minutes; they will still be crisp.

(Onions can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Keep covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before using.)
Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with pickled onions (spooning a little of the marinating liquids along with them), diced avocado and a sprinkle of cilantro. Pass extra onions in a bowl.