Friday recipe: black bean soup

November 16, 2012 —

Last Saturday many Iowans were like solar panels, spending as much time outside as possible to soak up the balmy weather and kind sunshine. Several Iowa towns hit record-hit temperatures on that date.

Oh, my, what a difference 24 hours makes. On Sunday, we were all shivering under wind-whipped, rain-splattered skies, grateful that most of us could opt to stay indoors, in flannel and with the heat on. Daily low temperatures since have been below freezing.

With summer an increasingly distant memory (remember all those 100-plus-degree days?) and fall feeling like it’s preparing to depart, hot soup becomes a great staple at the supper table. Most ingredients in versions like the one below can be kept on hand for quick assembly after a long day. Or make a big batch to freeze and enjoy as leftovers.

Black bean soup

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 (16-ounce) cans black beans, undrained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 (14 ½-ounce) can vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 cups medium or hot chunky salsa
  • Juice and grated peel of 1 lime
  • ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt, fat-free sour cream or Parmesan (optional)
  • Baked tortillas or baked blue corn chips (optional)

Cook onion, garlic and spices in oil in a 4-quart sauce pot over medium heat until onion is tender, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Puree the cans of beans and their liquid in batches with vegetable or chicken broth in electric blender; add to pot. Stir in salsa, lime juice and peel.

Heat mixture to boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle 1 cup soup into bowl; top with dollop of yogurt, sour cream or Parmesan cheese, if desired, with tortillas or chips sprinkled on top or on the side. Serve hot. Makes 10 (1-cup) servings.

Nutritional info: calories: 152; fat: 2.5g; fiber: 7.5g


The DMU wellness staff are masters of balance. They motivate members of the DMU community by both challenging and empowering us in the group workout classes they teach and in the individual counsel they provide. They offer healthy cooking/eating sessions in the wellness center kitchen that balance good nutrition, great taste and relative ease of preparation. They're constantly seeking and providing new ways to get and stay healthy while emphasizing that simple exercise, such as taking a 10-minute walk break, is good, and that everyone can do it. Plus our wellness staff are wonderfully fun people to be around!