Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

The Vegan Kitchen: Brazilian Orange and Black Bean Soup

We tend to think of brightly colored fruits and vegetables as our best source of phytonutrients, but recent research shows that black beans are actually a strong contender in phytonutrient benefits. This humble and inexpensive food is an outstanding source of anthocyanin flavonoids which create the rich black color. The bean is also an excellent source of protein and of resistant starches which keep your lower gut healthy.

Although purists prefer soaking dried beans for two hours or more before cooking, canned beans are a healthy option. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value between canned beans and those you cook yourself. In Brazil, black beans are such an important part of the diet that the official dietary guidelines recognize them as a separate food group which should be eaten every day.

In this recipe, the combination of black beans, oranges, and hot pepper creates a sweet savory dish which we serve with a hearty bread.

Preparation time: 1 hour. Makes 4 servings

2 cans black beans

1-2 TBSP olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 large carrots, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

½ bunch cilantro with stems, chopped

1 red or yellow bell pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp anise seed (optional)

3 cups vegetable stock

3 oranges, peeled, sectioned, seeded

¼ – ½ tsp red pepper flakes

fresh ground black pepper

juice of ½ lime or to taste


  • Sauté onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in olive oil over medium heat until translucent
  • Add cilantro and bell pepper and cook for 3 more minutes
  • Add beans and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer
  • Add coriander, cumin, anise and red pepper flakes
  • Add the seeded and chopped oranges (remove all pith but don’t worry about the membranes) and simmer soup for 10 minutes over low heat
  • Puree soup in a blender
  • Return pureed soup to the pot
  • Add lime juice and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves sprinkled over the soup

For more about the nutritional benefits of black beans, see The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Copyright 2016 Michael Simms and Eva-Maria Simms.

black bean soup


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This entry was posted on February 17, 2016 by in Health and Nutrition, Note from the Editor and tagged , .

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