Tropical Black Bean Soup

by Valerie on March 28, 2011 · 7 comments

Lunch   soup   amande 023

Aka sometimes you need soup instead of chocolate, which, of course, refers to my submission for January’s Go ahead, honey, it’s gluten-free! which you might remember was Cranberry Almond BIttersweet Chocolate, a case of chocolate instead of soup.  This month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free, created by Naomi of Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried is hosted by Linda of Gluten-Free Homemaker and Linda chose the theme Seasonal Soups. 

Back in January I was making a lot of black bean soups, with and without sweet potato, carrot soups (with raw carrots and cooked azukis for extra protein), and sweet potato and/or butternut squash soups, but as I mentioned back then, any time I started measuring ingredients to give you a recipe, those versions were invariably never as good as the ones I threw together. 

Last night, while walking home from work (it is a busy time of year), freezing because of the cold snap that hit the Washington, DC area, I decided that I needed soup as soon as I got home.  There was also the small matter that I still needed to get my submission done for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free.  I had initially wanted to make a mushroom soup, since that is seasonal to this area, but to me, black bean soup goes with Winter and early Spring, and last night sure felt like winter.  I have been on a sweet and savory kick lately, so I decided to go that route with black beans, banana, Thai curry paste and some melty caramelized onions. 

Lunch   soup   amande 027


My husband thought the plan of banana with black beans was odd, but since he does not like soup anyways, it just meant more for me. I usually use cashews or coconut or sweet potato to thicken black bean soup, but the banana gave the soup nice complexity on its own. I was planning to add coconut milk to heighten the tropical sweet and savory feel of the soup, but I decided against it as I really liked the flavor of the soup without it.  You initially tasted the curry and black beans, and then the sweetness of the banana, which is much more subtle. 

I ate this soup last night with a crumbled Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin atop, which heightened the sweet or savory experience perfectly.  Today, I decided I needed a repeat of the combination for the lunch I brought to work with me, so that is what you are seeing on the picture – a mini lunchbox of sweet and savory goodness, which is what you are seeing in the photos today.  The muffin is from Carol Kicinski’s upcoming book:

Simply . . . Gluten-free Desserts: 150 Delicious Recipes for Cupcakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Old and New Favorites

The muffins are scrumptious, whether as breakfast or atop soup or as a snack, and I have Carol’s Black Bean Brownies in the oven as I am writing this so a review of the book is coming soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this soup.  In addition to submitting this soup to GAHIGF, I am also submitting it to Diane’s Real Food Weekly at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. 

Tropical Black Bean Soup (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Nut-Free, Soy-Free)

Makes 2 servings

  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into rings (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 banana, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 cups black beans (or 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed), separated into 2 1-cup amounts
  • 2 cups black bean cooking liquid, if you cooked the beans from scratch. Substitute vegetable broth otherwise.
  • 1 Tbsp Thai Red Curry Paste (I like Thai Kitchen’s curry paste as it is both gluten-free and vegan, but you can make your own – you can substitute miso for shrimp paste)
  • 1/4 tsp – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne or dash hot sauce (optional)
  • Chopped scallions or shallots, for serving

Heat the grapeseed oil on medium heat in a saucepan.  Add the onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, until onions start to soften.  Add banana, and cook both onions and banana for another 15-20 minutes, until some caramelization occurs.  Transfer mixture to blender, add 1 cup of black beans, the bean cooking liquid (or broth), the Thai Red Curry paste, the salt and the optional cayenne.  Blend until smooth. Transfer to saucepan, add remaining black beans, and heat until soup is warm.  Serve, topped with chopped scallions or shallots.

Update April 5, 2011, this is also my submission for today’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

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Disclosures: General Disclosures

Specific disclosure regarding SImply… Gluten-Free Desserts: I received this book free of charge. My view of this book is not influenced in any way by the fact I received it free of charge.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 eliz@thesweetlife March 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm

what an interesting recipe! the cookbook looks delicious.


2 gfe--gluten free easily March 28, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Very intriguing, Valerie! Bananas are very versatile I find. I'd go for this for sure, but Mr. GFE would probably be like your hubby and pass, although he does like black beans. 😉 Love the photo, dear!

Woohoo on Carol's great new cookbook! She did a fantastic job on QVC last week. I have her cookbook, too, and need to get busy using it. :-)

Hope this week is less busy for you.



3 RenaissanceTrophyWife March 29, 2011 at 2:53 am

What a great idea to do bananas and black beans! I'm getting tired of my standard split pea, red lentil dal, butternut squash or minestrone soups and this sounds like just the change I've been craving.

Hope work doesn't get too crazy for you.


4 Linda March 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I think the banana idea sounds great. We've gone back to eating more soups/stews with this cold spell, too. Thanks for participating in Go Ahead Honey!


5 Katie (quick cook rice) March 31, 2011 at 3:45 am

I just pulled out the crock pot to make sweet potato chili. Tomorrow is April. I hate this cold weather.

But banana + soup sounds like an intriguing concept, and I'm definitely going to tackle it.


6 Diane-The WHOLE Gang March 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm

What a great twist on a black bean soup. Very cool. Thank you for sharing it on RFW.


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