It All Started With a Craving…

…If I had a nickel for every time I said that then I’d be typing this from a beach cabana with a guy named Serge bringing me frozen-girly-drinks. But alas, no one pays me to talk about random food cravings, so for now I’ll be content to type while watching the snow fall from inside my cozy, warm house with a mug of chai next to my keyboard.

Hey! That doesn’t sound so bad, either. 😉

Although I really, really, really try to eat seasonally, there are a few things that I simply do not have the wherewithal to do without–avocados are one of those things. Seems that a steady supply of guacamole is key to surviving a long snowy winter Up North. Who knew?  The thing about winter avocados is that they go from Not-Ready to Use-Me-in-the-Next-45-Seconds-or-I’m-Toast in the span of a heartbeat. I know because I’ve composted many an avocado that I thought could wait one more day. Last week I was determined not to let that happen to 4 poor little avocados that were hanging out on my windowsill, so I made a huge bowl of guacamole.

It was the right thing to do.

But this post is not about guacamole. Really it isn’t…the guac is just a round-about way to get to why I made this:


My guac needed a vehicle for consumption. Because if there is one thing that I need l more than guacamole to get me through a frigid winter on the 45th parallel, it’s piping hot soup.

Spicy Black Bean Soup is a quick and easy pantry meal that even my more finicky boys will inhale on a cold day. It’s spicy warmth is chock full of protein and vegetables–which I love! I also love it because it takes less than 30 minutes before I am ladling hot soup into bowls. Of course it’s darn tasty, too!

To make Spicy Black Bean Soup you’ll need: 2 cans of black beans, chicken stock, canned tomatoes with green chilies, frozen corn, oregano, black pepper, chili powder, cumin, dried cilantro, fresh garlic, and onion. The kosher salt and olive oil were a little camera shy, but you’ll need them too.

Rinse the black beans well under cool water and allow them to drain.

Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-heat while you chop up a some onion and a few cloves of garlic. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic to the pan, and saute them for a few minutes until they are soft.

Once the veggies start to soften, sprinkle a hefty pinch of kosher salt & black pepper over them and stir.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: keeping a small container of mixed kosher salt & black pepper next to the stove is the best secret to flavorful food EVER!  Just grab a pinch and you’re ready to season everything!

Add the remaining spices to the pan and stir. Continue to saute for another minute or so, to toast the seasonings. Toasting the seasonings with the onions/garlic will help to bring out their flavors.

Once the seasonings are sufficiently toasty, dump the black beans, corn, and tomatoes into the pan.

Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings to your preferred level of heat.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls, and top with your favorite toppings. Our favs are guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and a squeeze of lime.

If you are really patient–which I am not–let the soup cool and refrigerate it overnight so all of the flavors have time to really get to know each other. Spicy Black Bean Soup is even better the next day! And it freezes beautifully!

BTW–those are indeed tiny snowflakes on the place-mat in the photo. The best light for food photos around here is still out on the front porch. 😉

Spicy Black Bean Soup


Serves 6

3 tsp. olive oil

½ C. chopped onion

1 clove garlic, peeled & minced

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried cilantro

¼ tsp. chili powder (or more, to taste)

¼ tsp. black pepper

Pinch of salt

4 C. chicken stock

2 – 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2 – 10 oz. cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (such as Rotel brand)

1 C. frozen whole kernel corn

Optional for Serving: Lime slices, sour cream, diced avocado, and shredded cheddar cheese.

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion and sauté in the hot oil for 3 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the minced garlic to the pan, and sauté for an additional minute.
  4. Sprinkle the cumin, oregano, cilantro, chili powder, black pepper, and salt over the onion mixture. Stir to toast the seasonings for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the chicken stock, black beans, tomatoes with chilies, and corn; bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with lime slices, sour cream, diced avocado, and shredded cheddar cheese. (Optional.)

Note: Soup freezes well! Just allow soup to cool completely, and portion into individual serving sized freezer containers for a quick lunch.

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  1. Amy says

    This sounds scrumptious, Kirsten! BUT – I have – I mean, I have a friend who has – some weird food-texture-issues, so that brings me to a question. If she took the Rotel tomatoes and the onion, and then say, ran them through the food processor to make them all smooth and not-tomatoey and not-oniony in texture – would that cause any problems? Um, you know – for her? 😉

  2. says

    Okay, this post almost suggests some sort of telepathy going on between us. I’ve been looking for some good soup recipes this week, and LCB just told me yesterday he wants to whip up some guacamole soon. Wow.

    I will probably be pureeing the tomatoes since my kids definitely have texture issues that they may or may not have inherited from their mother, who’s mostly over them now at her ripe old age but not entirely, I might add.

      • says

        Ugh, don’t even start with me. Yes, I’m still on the regime, but I sort of forgot about it COMPLETELY last night. Two words: chocolate mousse. Actually, there were lots of other words one could use to identify what I consumed last night as well, but I really just don’t want to talk about it.

        And, I’m dying to make some sort of chocolate molten lava cake thing of sorts, but that would be the death of me right now.

        Amy, I just get this sense that you are a really, really, really cool person. Let’s talk. 😉

  3. says

    You are definitely winning with the salt and pepper mix-container. It’s like the most deadly obvious good idea of all time.

    p.s. I spend half of my life trying to find things to serve as vehicles for other cravings.

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