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Black-Bean Soup

If you prefer to make a vegetarian version of this soup, you can leave out the ham.

  • yield: Makes 8 cups




  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 slice ham, 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium red onion (5 ounces), diced
  • 1 jalapeno chile, seeded if less heat is desired, and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cans black beans (15 ounces each), drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Lime wedges (optional), for serving
  • Plain yogurt (optional), for garnish

Cook's Note

A handheld immersion blender lets you puree this soup in the same pot it is cooked in.


  1. Step 1

    In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and cook ham until brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove, and let cool. When cool, cut into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside.

  2. Step 2

    Reduce heat to medium, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Stir in onion and cook until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add jalapeno, garlic, cumin, and oregano; cook until fragrant, and garlic is tender, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Add beans and enough water to cover (about 4 cups). Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes.

  4. Step 4

    Using an immersion blender, or working in batches in a standing blender, puree until thick and smooth. If necessary, add water to achieve desired consistency. Stir in ham. Serve garnished with yogurt, cilantro and lime wedges.

Everyday Food, April 2005



Reviews (1)

  • mandysmuffins 19 Aug, 2011

    This was a great recipe. I accidentally put in too much water at the end, but saved it with a natural food thickening powder. I put sour cream as a garnish, which tasted great but obviously has more fat. Thanks!