This will probably be the most hauntingly delicious black bean soup you've ever tasted. The coffee adds a slightly toasty, woodsy background note. The optional ham hock adds smoky, salty ham flavor. Serve with a mixed green salad or a grilled cheese sandwich with pickled jalapeños. Recipe by Joyce Hendley for EatingWell.

Joyce Hendley
Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2011


Recipe Summary

2 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Pick over beans; rinse well. Place in a large bowl with cold water to cover by 2 inches. Let soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. (Or use the quick-soak method: Cover the beans with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil; simmer 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 1 hour.) Drain.

  • Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add all but 1/3 cup of the onions, bell pepper, celery, jalapeno and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the beans, water, coffee, ham hock (if using) and bay leaf; cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Skim off any foam that rises to the top, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the beans are very tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. If using, remove the ham hock and set it aside to cool; remove the bay leaf. Stir in salt.

  • Puree about half of the soup in a blender or food processor until fairly smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the pureed soup to the pot and heat through. If desired, cut meat off the ham hock, trim away any fat and chop the meat into small pieces; stir back into the soup.

  • Serve the soup garnished with the reserved chopped onion, a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt) and cilantro, if desired.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days; thin with a little water if necessary after reheating.

Nutrition Facts

297 calories; protein 15.2g; carbohydrates 43.3g; dietary fiber 15.1g; sugars 2.8g; fat 7.7g; saturated fat 2g; cholesterol 5.8mg; vitamin a iu 811.4IU; vitamin c 32.1mg; folate 257mcg; calcium 91.7mg; iron 3.8mg; magnesium 122.3mg; potassium 768.7mg; sodium 430mg; thiamin 0.4mg.

Reviews (9)

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13 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 4 stars
needs the yogurt and cilantro to make it work I also found it "flat" or "bland" by itself but the cilantro and the yogurt brightened it right up. I also didn't taste any hint of the coffee. I thought of adding some instant espresso to see if I could get the coffee taste there but didn't. I did use the ham hocks. My first night I ate it with whole grain bread and found it very filling-I couldn't eat it all. The second night my family loved it eating it up with tortilla chips. It was almost more like a dip and the chips added a fun crunch. Kids friendly. Pros: easy to follow Cons: preplanning required for soaking beans Read More
Rating: 3 stars
A little disappointed I was not able to use a ham hock which may have contributed to it being bland. I didn't find it had a "hauntingly delicious". I used just my regular morning coffee not a strong bold coffee but I can't taste the coffee in it. After simmering for over an hour that flavor isn't there anymore. Pros: filling Cons: not able to develop full flavor it promised Read More
Rating: 1 stars
A waste of ingredients 'Hauntingly delicious?' Perhaps it was that write-up that set this recipe up for failure. Those are some flowery words to describe a meal that is at best merely edible. At first the only modifications we made to this recipe were no hamhock more vegetables more garlic and the addition of chopped fresh jalapenos as well as some chipotles and adobo. After cooking for two hours we ended up with a soup that looked a lot like dog food but didn't have the flavor appeal that dog food might have had. To call this soup bland (even after the addition of both fresh and smoked jalapenos) would be giving it far more credit than it deserves. We added cilantro diced tomatoes and hot sauce - just to make it edible. There's a ton left over that's just going to go into the trash. Don't waste your time or ingredients on this one. Pros: Makes a lot of soup. Cons: Makes a lot of soup that you have absolutely zero interest in eating. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I loved it I follow recipe but added some saizon seasoning I thought that gave it the extra kick that it needed Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Disappointing 'Hauntingly delicious'? Hardly. 'Flat' is more like it. I used Starbucks brewed coffee for flavor and included a piece of smoked ham bone and still achieved nothing special even after upping the salt quotient. Goya makes a canned black bean soup with much more punch. Also be aware that your black beans may take two hours or more to reach doneness. Cons: Lack of flavor longer cooking time than stated Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Bland Bean Soup I had high hopes for this one. I wanted something made from dried beans. But this one was not the one to go with. Bland is an understatement. I don't know how much salt in the world could have saved this but then my salt intake would have skyrocketed. I didn't use the hamhock. Would that have made the difference? I don't know because it was _that_ bland. The coffee seemed to make it more bland. I healped the yogurt and it does help but I've had great black bean soup and you don't need yogurt or anything to make it taste good. It's suppose to taste good without any fixin's. This won't be on my saved recipes list. Pros: Made from scratch Cons: Bland Read More
Rating: 1 stars
So I'm not the only one who did not care for this at all. I agree. Very bland. Waste of ingredients and time. I didn't use ham hock or jalapeños. It also made me physically sick for days. Maybe it was the coffee which added nothing in the flavor dept. I'll stick to my own black bean soup next time. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fantastic! I found this recipe amazing with some additions. I doubled the bell pepper and the celery. I also added much more cumin chili powder garlic powder and a couple of dashes cayenne pepper. I ate it non-stop for almost a week without tiring from it and am making another batch tonight.:) Pros: Healty and filling Read More
Rating: 2 stars
Smoky yes but very bland I had to make some changes due to food allergies and to deal with what was seasonal and in the pantry already. I omitted the onions but increased the garlic I used a ham hock but mine is fresh from the pig not smoked or cured I used regular sour cream I used dried ancho chilies instead of fresh jalapeno peppers The taste was indeed quite smoky but lacked any sort of brightness or zing. I grow a much spicier garlic than you'll find in the grocery store but it gets lost in the starch and long cooking. The regular fat sour cream helped add body and I also added a splash of lemon juice when plating for acidity. Nonetheless I had to add quite a bit of hot sauce -- and I'm not a hot sauce fan -- to want to finish the bowl. As a base recipe for black bean soup it's not bad expect the seasoning to need to be reworked and ramped up for your tastes. Or consider serving with fresh tomato salsa as well as the sour cream. Pros: Easy to make Most ingredients already in your pantry Cons: Relatively flavorless Unsatisfying a little watery Read More