Black Bean soup (Vegetarian Chilli)

I have probably stated this before but I have to say it again – black beans are a favorite of mine.  I always have a few cans of black beans around the house. They are so handy! I make black bean fajitas, black bean salad and add them to minestrone soup etc.  ANd of course, the vegetarian chilli.   I like black bean soup just plain too but I always love to add different vegetables into soups just because it’s  an easy way to get my kids to eat their veggies.  So this vegetarian chilli is a basic back bean soup to which I add carrots and some additional flavors like oregano, paprika and also some cocoa powder ! yes , cocoa gives it the extra depth of flavor  – kind of makes it smoky and sweet.  I also like to throw in a  lot of cilantro towards the end to give it that fresh and lemony flavor.

So here’s the recipe:

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 of a medium red onion
1/4 cup  fresh carrot, chopped finely
1 tbsp, fresh garlic chopped finely
1 dry red chilli, broken into two pieces
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder(optional)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 medium size tomato, chopped finely
1 can of black beans, rinsed thoroughly and drained
3 cups of water
1 can of tomato sauce(unsalted)
1/2 cup of frozen corn kernels
1 tsp of masa harina (optional)
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped finely


Take a large cooking pot and heat the oil. Add the onions and saute for a minute.  Then add the garlic, dry red chillies and again saute for one more minute.  Then add the carrots and stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Now add all the spices,cocoa powder and the salt and saute on medium heat for about 1 minute. Now add the chopped tomatoes and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes stirring them frequently to avoid burning.  Now add the black beans, the corn, the tomato sauce and the water.  Check the seasoning and adjust if needed.  Cover with a lid and let it simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.

Take the masa harina and mix with tbsp of water to make a slurry and add this to the chilli and mix for about 2 minutes. Now add the fresh cilantro and turn the heat off.


You can use a mix of black beans and other beans in this chili. I sometimes add pinto beans and kidney beans for a variation. And you can also a lot of other vegetables like celery, squash etc.

If you use regular tomato sauce instead of unsalted, make sure you check the salt before adding the additional salt.

Masa harina is corn flour treated with lime, it is used a lot in Mexican cooking. It is easily available in supermarkets in the US in the baking aisle next to the flours.

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