The idea of black bean soup certainly isn’t new but somehow, over the past few months, it’s been an obsession for me. During our bike tour across Canada, Aimee and I first attempted black bean soup for an impromptu Cinco de Mayo feast. It was good (especially after a whole day of bike riding) but I remember thinking “I gotta make this again but better .”
Since we’ve been back, I started experimenting with different ingredients. I thought I would try to fancy it up with some shrimp on a recent trip to Death Valley. I was famished after hiking to the top of Wildrose peak and braving glacial winds. Unfortunately, the wind followed us down and my lofty plans for the soup got cut short. My experiment yielded nothing more than a can of beans with some sad looking and poorly seasoned shrimp.
I referenced other recipes and continued experimenting with different combinations of ingredients; diced tomatoes in a can, fresh tomatoes, corn, onions, bacon, cumin, chili powder and the list goes on. All versions were decent but too predictable. I was looking for an ingredient that would blend all the flavors and add depth to the whole concoction. I wanted that special something that you can’t quite identify. Something that is exciting and delicious on your tongue and that makes you want to get seconds.
After consuming an unusually large amount of black beans, and with 5 different recipe versions under my belt, I think I’ve finally got it. The other Dirty Gourmet girls have tested the chipotle black bean recipe and came back with great reviews. The secret ingredient in this black bean soup is Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
. These peppers have a lot of kick, and the adobo sauce gives them a smoky and slightly vinegary flavor. Some of you may already be familiar with this ingredient, but for me, it’s still a novelty and I can’t get enough! Generally, you can find chipotle peppers in a little can in the “ethnic food” or “Mexican food” section of the grocery store (in the U.S.).
This chipotle black bean soup recipe is really simple to make, and best of all, it is backpacking friendly. It’s been tested with dehydrated black bean flakes and black beans in a can. Either way, you’ve got yourself a comforting and filling soup with just enough kick to keep you up until the stars make an appearance. Enjoy!
Chipotle Black Bean Soup
Prep Time / Cook Time/
Activity GuideBike Touring, Car Camping
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans OR 1 cup dehydrated beans
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 chipotle pepper, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 cup water (if using canned beans) OR 2 1/2 cups water (if using dehydrated beans)
- 1 tablespoons oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Toppings, such as crumbled bacon, avocado, green onion and cheese
- Cutting board
- Medium pot
- Heat oil over medium high heat and add onions, bell peppers and garlic. Let vegetables soften, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and the chipotle peppers. Stir and let flavors blend for a minute.
- You can make this with either canned or dehydrated beans.
- Canned Bean Version: Lower heat to medium and add can of black beans. Take your fork and spend a good minute smashing all the beans. The reason for this is to give the soup a nice thick broth and a semi-pureed texture. This texture change transforms a simple can of black beans into a hearty chili-like soup. When you are satisfied with the texture of the beans, add water. If you like your soup thinner, add more water and adjust seasoning accordingly. If using bacon, add to soup at this point.
- Dehydrated Bean Version: Add dehyrdated beans and water into pot. Stir and blend with vegetables. If using bacon, add to soup at this point.
- Let simmer until hot. Adjust taste with salt if necessary, and serve with avocado, bacon, green onion, and/or cheese.