Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Pesto (recipe)

Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Pesto

Without a doubt this is definitely one of the best bean soup recipes that I have tried. I have no idea where I got it from, it’s been floating in my recipe file for more than a few years. One of the reasons why I think I avoided it was because parts of the instructions seemed off putting to me. For example, cooking the beans in PLAIN water or 90 minutes seemed totally UGH! However that is all in the past now. I am glad now however that I tried this recipe now, and not 3 years earlier as there are many tips and techniques that I’ve picked up during those years that I think did make a difference in how the soup came out, and I will now humbly pass them on to you 😉

1) Be sure to saute the vegetables thoroughly, you want the flavours to be as deep as possible without burning. The carrots should be deep orange, reduced in size and caramelized with dark brown spots. (I now wish I had taken pics of this, but it was one of those days)
2) Be sure to ‘over-salt’ the vegetable mixture as they saute. This is because this mixture plays an integral partin flavouring the soup ‘broth’ and the beans will also soak up much of it.
3) Be generous, to a flaw, with the cilantro. Just when you think you have put enough, put a little bit more. For the same reasons as above. The beans and the broth need it 🙂

The final result is sinfully aromatic, and soothing with the rich herbal tones, and the creamy earthiness that beans impart. It would be amazing on its own, but with the addition of the pesto, it really becomes something else entirely. Swirl it in, sit back and enjoy.

Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Pesto
Servings: 4-6


1 lb. black beans, soaked overnight
2 onions
3 carrots
3 cloves, garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 6 oz. can tomato paste

Cilantro Pesto:
1 bunch cilantro
10 parsley sprigs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted almonds
3 limes, juice of
4 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Rinse beans in cold water and place in pot with a ratio of twice as much water as beans.
2. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer on the stove, stirring often, about 1 1/2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the cilantro pesto.
4. Rinse and coarsely chop the cilantro and parsley.
5. Place the cilantro, parsley, cheese, almonds, lime juice and garlic in a food processor.
6. Blend to a smooth mixture.
7. With the machine running slowly, pour in the olive oil.
8. Add salt and pulse.
9. Store half in refrigerator for a later date and place the rest in a bowl for service.
10. Peel and chop the carrots and onions for the soup, then set aside.
11. Chop the cilantro, and also reserve.
12. Check beans for tenderness.
13. Saute the carrots, onions, and garlic in oil until golden.
14. Add a small amount of the bean liquid to the saute pan to deglaze.
15. Add the vegetables to the soup, then add the tomato paste, cilantro, and salt.
16. Continue to simmer until tender.
17. Serve soup topped with cilantro pesto.