This delicious Mexican black bean soup is to be savoured and for the best flavour, take your time while making it. Listen to a podcast or some celebrity gossip, whatever you enjoy, or leave it gently simmering on a low heat while you go for a walk and clear your head.
Tomatoes are mostly water so the longer you cook them the more concentrated the flavours become as the water evaporates. So you will find early on in the cooking process of this vegan recipe it seems quite watery and tasteless but just give it time for the flavours to develop.
(If you are not interested in my experiences with cooking this soup then please just skip to the recipe at the end.)
Cooked tomatoes are healthy!
In the recipe I suggest you start cooking the tomatoes before preparing any of the other ingredients. That is two-fold, one because the longer you cook the tomatoes the more flavourful they become and the other because cooked tomatoes are much healthier for you!
Tomatoes contain a carotenoid called lycopene, it is what gives tomatoes that lovely red colour and it is shown to protect the heart and have cancer fighting abilities.
Gently cooking tomatoes for half an hour increases the lycopene content by 164% and increases the antioxidant content by 64%. Antioxidants protect the body from cell and tissue damage.
For more details on the study please have a look at this article from science daily,
If possible, use organic
Organic food is obviously better for your health, it is grown without the use of damaging pesticides and herbicides and natural fertilizers are used in place of chemical or synthetic fertilizers. The thought of these nasty chemicals being on and in my food is very off-putting.
It is also far better for the environment, it significantly reduces the contamination of water and soil allowing wildlife to thrive.
In my opinion organic food tastes and smells better too, but that may be purely mental just knowing it is so much healthier.
I know it is not possible to only eat organic as it is more expensive than non organic produce, but I buy organic whenever I can. So most of my meals are a mixture of organic and non organic foods, I figure some is better that none.
I also hope that if more or us buy organic and it becomes in greater demand, the prices will eventually fall.
Can you use too much garlic?
I LOVE garlic, both for the flavour and the fantastic health benefits that come with it.
It is very well known for it’s medicinal benefits and is packed with antioxidants
So personally I always put loads of garlic in my food, for example this recipe calls for two cloves of garlic, but I would use anything from 5 cloves to the whole bulb!
The reason I say use two cloves in this recipe is I know not everyone is a garlic fiend like me and it is still very tasty with the two.
Mexican Black Bean Soup Recipe
- 400g chopped tomato
- ½ tspn lemon juice
- Pinch of black pepper
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 small onion
- 1 small red pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed (or more to taste)
- 1 ½ tspn cumin powder
- ½ tspn chilli powder (or more to taste)
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 2 x 400g black beans
- 340g can of whole kernel corn
- ½ tspn salt
- Fresh coriander (optional)
- Before you prepare your vegetables, start cooking the chopped tomatoes with the lemon juice and black pepper on a medium high heat.
- Dice the red pepper and onion and fry gently in the oil for 5-7 minutes until the onions have softened.
- While this is cooking drain the black beans and corn and put aside ready to add.
- Add the garlic, cumin and chilli powder to the cooking onions and peppers and cook for a minute until you can smell the spices.
- Add the vegetable stock, black beans, corn, salt and tomato mixture.
- Cover and simmer on a low heat stirring very occasionally for at least 45 minutes, up to 2 hours, allowing all those wonderful flavours to develop.
- Serve with chopped fresh coriander sprinkled on top.
Tip: I like to serve mine with some croutons on a separate plate that guests can add to their soup one at a time if they wish. It adds a nice crunch and is a bit more filling but not as filling as serving it with slices of buttered bread, which is also lovely!
To make the croutons take a couple of slices of bread and cut into cubes about an inch in size. Put on an oven dish and toss in a drizzle olive oil and salt and bake in the oven at 200 (180 degrees if a fan oven) until crisp all the way through.
Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, it takes around 20 minutes depending on what kind of bread you are using. Experiment to find which bread you prefer best to make your croutons!