Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spicy Black Bean Soup with Cashew Crème Fraîche and Cilantro for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I think that a good simple black bean soup works any time of year--no matter the season. Light but satisfying, spicy and tangy--it totally works as a summer soup. Even better if you add an extra topping or two--like fresh summer corn, red bell pepper, and avocado, along with cilantro and crème fraîche (or in this case, cashew crème fraîche). It's grey and drizzly here today, although it's still 80 degrees F., and this soup brightens the day right up, like a fiesta in your mouth.

I made some changes to Curtis's recipe--mainly doubling the black beans so I had plenty to blend and to keep whole in the soup--which I prefer to having it all pureed. I also upped some of the spices to compensate for the extra beans and used veggie stock. To add more of the cilantro flavor, I put some leaves and stems in with the soup in my blender and finally, I used cashew cream (with a pinch of salt and lemon juice added) in place of the crème fraîche. My changes are noted in red below. 

Spicy Black Bean Soup with Cashew Creme Crème Fraîche and Cilantro
Slightly Adapted from Curtis
(Serves 4)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, coarsely chopped (I used 1/2 small sweet onion)
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped (I used 2)
1 red jalapeño chile, seeded, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I used 1 tsp)
2 cups cooked black beans (I used 4 cups black beans)
2 cups chicken stock (I used veggie stock)
(I added 1/3 cup cilantro leaves and stems coarsely chopped)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup crème fraîche (I used cashew creme)
1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded, finely diced
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
(I added fresh corn kernels and chopped avocado)

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the oil and shallot and sauté for 1 minute, or until tender. Add the garlic, jalapeño, and cumin and sauté for 1 minute, or until the garlic softens. Add the beans and chicken stock and bring to the simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

(Deb's Note: I pulled out 2 full cups (about half) of the beans and set them aside, them blended the rest of the mixture in the blender, adding in the 1/3 cup of cilantro stems and leaves before blender. Then I added the blended mixture back to the pot with the reserved beans and seasoned to taste as directed.)  In a blender, working in batches, puree the soup until smooth. Transfer the pureed soup to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season the soup to taste with salt, pepper, and lime juice. 

Ladle the soup into serving bowls, drizzle some crème fraîche over the soup, garnish with the red bell pepper and cilantro (and avocado and fresh corn as desired), and serve.

Notes/Results:  I liked the flavors in this soup and I think adding some of the cilantro to the broth gives the flavor more depth. I am not sure it quite deserves the 'spicy' moniker when you de-seed the pepper, so if you like it spicy have some cayenne pepper or hot sauce ready to add. The toppings are what make this soup special, so add what you like or have on hand. Crushed tortilla chips and fresh tomatoes would be nice as well. The crème fraîche (cashew cream if you want it vegan) is nice stirred into the soup, making it nice and creamy. Reasonably quick to make, healthy, and tastes great--I would make it again.

I'll be linking this soup up I Heart Cooking Clubs where this coming week's theme is Herbalicious. You can see what herbs people chose to cook with by clicking on the picture links on the post.  

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shares two salads that she enjoyed last week saying, "Can you believe it - next Monday will be August. A step closer to my favorite months and jackets and boots and fires in the yard. But until such a time arrives... we have cool lunches for hot days. ... A Greek Salad where I ditched the pepperoncinis but loved the extra black olives. This was enjoyed with a few slices of pizza while we had movie night.

And "Here we have a Salad Nicoise purchased from Hopkins Eatery in Tallahassee. Instead of fresh tuna, as I use at home, they added a scoop of tuna salad. It was very good and a cold salad loaded with lots of veggies and a bit of protein hits the spot. You can't see the potato slices very well but it had plenty of seasoned red potato slices."

Debra of Eliot's Eats made this pretty movie-inspired Spinach Salad with Sweet Peas, Strawberries, and Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette for Food 'n Flix and said, "I decided to obviously change up the recipe and use spinach in honor of Popeye. Luckily, the salad did contain frozen peas (for Swee’pea) and olive oil (obviously for Popeye’s love). And, I will reply “Yes” to the Commodore:  I am making a salad!"

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog brings a Quick Quinoa Salad and says, "Leftovers can be recreated! I used three leftovers to create a quick and tasty quinoa salad. Tossed salad, leftover cooked quinoa, and homemade lemon dressing taste great together. Sometimes you discover something by accident that turns out to really work well!" 

Flour.ish.en Test Kitchen shared this Ottolenghi-adapted Sweet Summer Salad, saying, "I could not stop eating this salad. I substituted goat cheese for gorgonzola, so that the fruity sunny flavor of nectarines, as well as the greens, would shine. Used two kinds of green: arugula and endive. The lightly roasted chopped almonds in butter are a welcoming play in texture. This salad is so refreshing and tantalizing; I'm thinking of making another one in short order."


Vicki of I'd Rather Be At the Beach shared a Popeye-inspired Burger Soup and said, "This was a good soup. The ingredients didn’t cost much to buy, and it was easy and quick to make. The next time I make it I’m going to use a few each of Yukon potatoes, carrots, and a small bag of frozen peas, and maybe celery, instead of using a bag of mixed vegetables. It was good, but I like to try different ingredients to see which way tastes the best."

Thanks to everyone who linked up last week!

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.
On your entry post (on your blog):
  • please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • you are welcome to add the wonderful Souper Sundays logo (created by Ivy at Kopiaste) to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I love the toppings you chose....they bring the flavours of summer to an already tasty soup.

  2. I am an anti-cilantro folk, perhaps I'll try your dish with one cilantro leaf on one bunch of parsley :-)

  3. I tried a version of your soup and forgot to scoop out some beans to blend in the processor, That's a really good idea and I wish I'd remembered. Can't wait to show you though!

    Great recipe, I love me some black beans!

  4. Well I don't have to tell you how much I love beans;) I can see eating this black bean soup with waaayyy to many tortilla chips and fully enjoying myself! Looks delicious.

    Love all the salads in the roundup! From the Greek salad to the Quinoa salad and especially the strawberry salad.

  5. Hi Deb, Tina has just told me about Souper Sunday, and obviously with a blog called Soup, Soup Glorious Soup I'm a bit of a soup fan too. This one sounds intriguing- I don't think that I've ever had a black bean soup! They're not that popular or available here in Australia, although a brand did just hit the supermarket here in the past month or so. Great timing. I love, love, love coriander (what we Australians call cilantro) and especially love it with avocado and lime. I'd be really keen to try this recipe, particularly as my son is vegan at the moment. I'm getting quite quick at blending cashews...

  6. The changes you suggested surely elevate the soup: adding fresh corn, avocado and red pepper. Now I have to make it to experience the fiesta in the mouth. What a wonderful summer soup?

  7. That soup sounds and looks delicious! I like the toppings and changes you've made, especially with the addition of cilantro!


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