Gbegiri Soup (Honey Bean Soup)

Also known as ewa-olyin in the language of Nigeria's Yoruba people, which translates to "beans naturally coated with honey," honey beans, native to Nigeria, indeed have a hint of sweetness. They form the base of this popular Yoruba soup. Optional crayfish powder adds a smoky-sweet pleasantly fishy flavor.

gbegiri soup honey bean soup
Photo: photographer / Greg DuPree, Food Stylist / Margaret Dickey / Prop Stylist: Kay Clarke
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins


  • 4 cups dried Nigerian honey beans (see Tip)

  • 10 cups water

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

  • ½ medium red onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 habanero pepper, stem trimmed

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • ½ cup organic unrefined red palm oil (see Tip)

  • 2 tablespoons crayfish powder (optional; see Tip)

  • Edible flowers and microgreens for garnish


  1. Place honey beans in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 15 minutes. Drain.

  2. Transfer the beans to a large bowl and run water continuously into the bowl while agitating the contents with your hand until the skins rise to the top. Skim off the skins and discard. Repeat until all the beans have been skinned.

  3. Combine the skinned beans, 10 cups water, bell pepper, onion, habanero and salt in a large pot; bring to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.

  4. Transfer 2 cups of the bean cooking liquid to a bowl; drain the beans. Transfer the bean mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. (Use caution when blending hot mixtures.)

  5. Heat palm oil in the large pot over medium heat. Add the bean puree and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the reserved bean cooking liquid and crayfish powder, if using. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the soup reaches desired consistency, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve garnished with edible flowers and microgreens, if desired.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 3 days.


If you've cooked or eaten black-eyed peas, Nigerian honey beans will look familiar—they have a similar "eye" on the inward curve but are a darker hue.

Extracted from the oil palm tree, unrefined red palm oil gets its deep hue from healthful antioxidant pigments called carotenoids, which are important for eye health. Its high smoke point makes it a good choice for frying.

Made from dried and ground crayfish, crayfish powder adds flavor to soups and rice dishes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

409 Calories
15g Fat
50g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size 1 cup
Calories 409
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 50g 18%
Dietary Fiber 16g 57%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 18g 36%
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Vitamin A 557IU 11%
Vitamin C 29mg 32%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 491mcg 123%
Vitamin K 5mcg 4%
Sodium 174mg 8%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 6mg 33%
Magnesium 126mg 30%
Potassium 687mg 15%
Zinc 3mg 27%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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