Tropical Black Bean and Collard Green Soup

by on January 20, 2010
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Tropical Black Bean and Collard Green Soup

One of my favorite ways to cook collard greens—and the best way to get my daughter to eat them—is to simmer them in soup. There’s something magical about adding a huge pile of greens to a pot, an amount so big that the lid can barely be squeezed shut, and then coming back a few minutes later to find that the greens have melted into the soup. It’s a disappearing act that intrigues even my greens-hating daughter, who always wants to be the one to add the greens and impatiently waits until it’s time to remove the cover and reveal the “miracle.” The most miraculous thing about the whole transformation is that she eats more greens because of it. She can’t quite bring herself to “like” them, but she’ll tolerate them if she’s had a hand in their preparation.

I’ve cooked collard green soups with white beans, with black-eyed peas, and with no beans at all, but never with black beans until recently. I wanted to do something a little different than my Stormy Black Bean Soup (still my favorite) and settled on a combination of seasonings based loosely on Jamaican jerk seasoning—allspice, nutmeg, thyme, and pepper—with a little ginger thrown in for fun. What holds it all together, though, is the sweetness and acidity of orange juice, added just at the end of cooking. Try it with fresh-squeezed juice, if you have it.

A word about chili powder: In the U.S., chili powder can have a couple of different meanings. In most grocery stores, the chili powder that you find in the spice aisle is a combination of powdered chilies and other seasonings, including cumin and salt. What I used in this recipe was a pure chili powder—ground chile peppers and nothing else—and if you read a lot of ingredient labels, you may be able to find it marked simply as “chili powder,” but more often to get it you have to buy a specific type, such as Ancho chile powder. (Note: If you buy chili powder in an Indian grocery, it will be hot; I find it hotter than cayenne.) I used Ancho here because it’s mild and delivers a chile flavor without heat (I used a little chipotle for that), but feel free to use whatever chile powder you like, as long as it’s pure; the other spices in American chili powder will change the flavor of the soup.

Tropical Black Bean and Collard Green Soup

Tropical Black Bean and Collard Green Soup

(printer-friendly version)

Long-cooking or cooking in a pressure cooker often mellows out seasonings, so I add them in two stages, some before the beans are cooked and some after. Be sure to taste your beans to decide if and how much extra seasoning they need.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black beans (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-root, minced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Ancho chili powder (or other pure, mild chili powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder or cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup carrots, diced or sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • additional chili powder, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 12 ounces collard greens, cut into bite-sized pieces (or use the greens of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 orange, sliced, for garnish

Instructions

Rinse the beans and pick over them to remove any debris. Cover with water and either allow to soak at least 8 hours or do a quick soak by bringing to a boil for 1 minute and then allowing to soak for an hour. Keep soaking until you are ready to cook, and then drain the soaking liquid.

Heat a large pot or pressure cooker; spray lightly with olive oil if desired. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.

Add the drained beans, 7 cups of water (6 if pressure cooking), thyme, chili powders, allspice, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil.

If pressure cooking, lock on the lid and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 9 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to come down naturally.

If cooking in a regular pot, simmer until beans are very tender, 1-2 hours depending on your beans. If beans seem too dry, add additional water.

Once beans are tender, puree using a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients, except orange juice, and add salt and chili powder to taste. Simmer until carrots and collards are tender. Add orange juice just before serving. Serve garnished with orange slices on top or on the side.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s) | Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per serving): 219 calories, 10 calories from fat, 1.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 78.1mg sodium, 1012.4mg potassium, 42.1g carbohydrates, 10.9g fiber, 6.5g sugar, 12.6g protein, 3.7 points.

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{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

1 keda January 20, 2010 at 11:44 am

This looks so delicous. Perfect for the weather.

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2 Heather (Where's the Beach) January 20, 2010 at 11:57 am

That looks so good and hearty. Have you tried it with kale by chance?

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3 SusanV January 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I'm sure kale would be terrific. I meant to say that you could use any green you like; collards are just easy to find here.

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4 taleoftwovegans January 20, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Ooh, what a great way to use up collard greens> I have to admit that I never really thought of using them in place of other greens in soups etc. I think they might just be making their way onto my grocery list this week especially since I have all the other ingredients for this.
Thanks so much!
-K

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5 Kalyn January 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I love collard greens in soup; this looks wonderful!

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6 Al January 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

FYI, in the US, I now typically see the cumin, salt, garlic, paprika, etc. spice combination labeled Chili Powder, and I usually see the ground and powdered chiles labeled Chile Powder and commonly Ancho Chile Powder.

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7 The Ordinary Vegetarian January 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Another keeper! Keep those pressure cooker recipes coming, I'm loving it.

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8 moonwatcher January 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Hi Susan,

This looks fabulous–it is definitely going on my "to make" list. I'm hoping there will be some good collard greens at our co-op way up here in northern Idaho when I do, because I'd like to try it with them and also benefit from their nutritional punch! The orange juice and orange garnish is inspired!

Thank you,

moonwatcher

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9 Bianca January 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

What a yummy idea! I'd never think to add orange juice to black bean soup, but I know it would be so delicious!

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10 Glue and Glitter January 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

This looks delicious! I'm a little intimidated about cooking beans from scratch for some reason, but you make it sound pretty simple!

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11 Katie January 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

This looks so good. It is definitely soup weather too. I love all these flavors, but never thought to add in greens. Great idea!

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12 Katie January 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

This looks so good. It is definitely soup weather too. I love all these flavors, but never thought to add in greens. Great idea!

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13 Mary January 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Oooooh. I love black beans and collards. The seasoning in this soup is so unusual; it sounds delicious!

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14 ms.min January 21, 2010 at 1:03 am

I'm intrigued with your new commitment to the Eat to Live program. I'm convinced that's the way to go for me and am transitioning. I'd really like to hear more on your blog (or a different blog) on your ETL experiences. Your recipes are amazing. Thanks!

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15 Josiane January 21, 2010 at 1:52 am

This looks like a wonderfully hearty and delicious soup! I love the orange juice idea: it must give it a little something that makes it unique.

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16 Mark January 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

Looks very delicious and yummy. good natural dish which is very healthy also

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17 Jenny January 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm

yes I agree with mark

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18 Katherine January 22, 2010 at 9:30 am

oh, yum! I have everything in my cupboard, too, except for the orange juice. i think i'll have to make this tonight.

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19 Anonymous January 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

Mmmm…the recipe for black bean and collard greens looks wonderful! I am trying it today. I am going to use my crock pot. I will let you know how this turns out. Vicki

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20 Brenda W. January 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Susan .. thanks for another great recipe. I'm like your daughter .. I really don't like greens … spinach in a salad, yes, but cooked kale/collards/mustard greens, etc … no thanks!

But you're exactly right … all the other great flavors here … you never really notice the greens at all!!

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21 bed frame January 23, 2010 at 1:36 am

This is a great recipe! My kids also don't like greens in dishes. i always have a hard time making them eat some.

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22 Ms. Sabatier January 24, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Making this today for the playoffs. One thing I've learned to love about Mississippi Delta winters (as a mid-Atlantic transplant) is that they are bone-penetrating damp and perfect for a pot of good soup, and greens are always plentiful!

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23 Lyndsay January 24, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I just found your website. I'm not a fan of beans in their original state but bean soup sounds great.

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24 Trinity (of haiku tofu) January 24, 2010 at 6:50 pm

wow wow wow. that looks divine!

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25 PJ January 24, 2010 at 7:51 pm

This is such a perfect soup for the weeklong rainy weather we have had over here. Love the addition of collard greens!

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26 Jelli Bean January 25, 2010 at 11:12 am

This sounds good. I just wonder if my beans would be done though, as my pressure cooker usually requires about 30 minutes to cook black beans. Hmmm

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27 SusanV January 25, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Jelli Bean–Really? Even after soaking? If I had cooked mine any longer, they would have been mush. I think most charts say 10 minutes at high pressure for black beans after soaking.

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28 scarlet January 27, 2010 at 11:31 am

I made this over the weekend: it is so good! Definitely a keeper.

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29 Gena January 27, 2010 at 11:40 am

As usual, a warming, spicy, and simple recipe :)

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30 Des Moines business lawyer January 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm

This looks very intriguing. I'd definitely want to try it sometime! It looks pretty hearty.

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31 Hannah January 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm

i love your recipes, ive tried 3 so far. I dont leave comments often (Im working on this, that's the least I could do for the delicious recipes you post). Thanks

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32 Evita January 31, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Hi!

Wow, is this ever an interesting combo! So far I just have been putting collard greens in my green smoothies, but would love to try this as I love bean soups, etc.

Thank you for sharing this!

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33 WizzyTheStick February 1, 2010 at 12:29 am

Fantastic combination of spices. I will have to try this soup sometime

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34 Rhi February 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Hi Susan,

I've just recently discovered your blog and love it. This recipe looks terrific. I'd like to make it with canned beans, though, instead of dry beans. How much water would you recommend using with canned beans? Thanks!

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35 SusanV February 1, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Rhi, I would probably use 4 cups of cooked beans and start with 4 cups of water, adding more as needed to get the right consistency. Hope you enjoy it!

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36 Rhi February 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Wonderful, thanks so much for your quick reply! I'll give it a try this evening.

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37 Anonymous February 5, 2010 at 2:57 am

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

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38 moonwatcher February 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm

Susan, this is delicous! I've made a lot of black bean soups and refried beans and dips over the years, but this has the most interesting spices in it of anything I've made or had. I had a friend over for lunch and she loved the spicing as well. We actually put little pieces of cup up orange section on the top of the soup and ate it as part of the soup, which was also delicious. And I served it with your confetti cornbead, which I adapted to be gluten free and instead of the peppers, i used a whole cup of roasted corn and then a tablespoon of dried onion flakes. But the "secret" ingredient with that homemade soy yogurt of yours! :)

Thank you!

moonwatcher

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39 Mickey September 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Meh. The idea of the recipe is so creative but it was missing the oomph when I made it. I’m wondering maybe including bay leaves, cumin, or molasses would have made the difference.

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40 Jimmie October 6, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Okay, I spent two days making this soup. I love black beans and I love collard greens.

OMG – this was like trying to eat weeds in mud. My husband thought I was trying to punish him for something!

What a waste of good ingredients.

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41 Katie January 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Trying it right now!

There is a website that has copied this recipe to the letter.
I found it at :
http://www.livestrong.com/recipes/tropical-black-bean-collard-green-soup-2/

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42 Me August 19, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Cook this weekend

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43 Janet January 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Eating greens (other than spinach) is rather new to me. I had access to a lot of kale and mustard greens in the fall, so I blanched and froze several bags worth. I think I’ll give this recipe a shot. Question for you–do you have any idea how much to use of frozen greens when a recipe calls for X ounces? I don’t have a scale, so was wondering cups maybe–of course they are already wilted (like a bag of frozen spinach) and the tough stems have been taken out.

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44 Susan Voisin January 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

My guess is that you will need 3-4 cups of wilted greens to equal a pound of fresh. Rather than measure, you could add just as much of them as you want.

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45 meg February 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm

just ate this delish soup for dinner! it was so yummy! i hadto tweak a bit… used some chillies in adobo i had frozen and used alittle liquid smoke and reg paprika. it still turned out great… also, i only blended half the soup bc i still like to bite into some of the beans. great soup!

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46 nicole April 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Hey Susan, I was just wondering if this is a relatively hearty soup or not? It appears to be from your photos, but I just wanted to confirm whether or not it is. Thanks!

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47 Susan Voisin April 3, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Yes, I would say it’s pretty thick and hearty. Hope you enjoy it!

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48 Mary June 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

If using canned black beans should they be rinsed before adding to the recipe?

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49 Susan Voisin June 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Yes, I always drain and rinse canned beans before using. You’ll probably need 4 cans.

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50 Amy Cardinal October 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

My husband and son absolutely LOVED this soup! However, not sure what I did but it was way to spicy for me! I couldn’t even eat it. But I was able to taste it before the spiciness kicked in at the first bite and it was delicious. Then it hit me. Ha ha!

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51 LA October 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I made this today with pinto beans and spinach and tossed in a couple of bouillon cubes. SO good !

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52 Jessica March 31, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I as just wondering why the sodium content is so high per serving?

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53 Susan Voisin March 31, 2013 at 6:30 pm

78 mg is very low! Sodium occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables, and it would be hard to find a recipe with less sodium than this.

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54 Stephanie Watson April 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

What would I need to change to use canned black beans?

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55 Stephanie Watson April 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Sorry I see the answer to my question 4 cans of beans,drained and rinsed, plus four cups of water. Thanks!

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56 Bill R November 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Your list of ingredients. Ha ha.
I had a pound of beautiful fresh collards and this recipe came up so I added (in my case) frozen cooked kidney beans and the result was wonderful. I immersion blended with half the beans and added the rest whole. I tend to use recipes as guides and ingredients whatever is at hand. This one turned out great. Cheers.

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