Mexican bean soup is a hearty, spicy, and nutritious dish that is beloved for its complex flavors and easy preparation. This soup makes an excellent meal on its own or can be served as a side dish. The base of the soup is beans that have been cooked until tender. Different types of beans can be used, like pinto, black, or kidney beans. The beans soak up the delicious flavors of the broth. The broth is infused with Mexican spices like cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic, and onion. Diced tomatoes add a pop of flavor and color. The soup is topped with crunchy tortilla strips, shredded cheese, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice for some brightness. This soup comes together quickly if you use canned beans. The ingredients are likely already in your pantry too! Follow this easy recipe to make flavorful spicy Mexican bean soup tonight.
What Type of Beans Should I Use?
You can use any type of bean to make Mexican bean soup though pinto, black, or kidney beans are traditional. Choose at least two types of beans for more interest. Canned beans are the most convenient since they are precooked and just need to be rinsed and drained. Dried beans must be soaked before cooking. To save time, look for no-soak dried bean varieties which hydrate more quickly. Whichever beans you use, make sure they are thoroughly cooked until tender before adding to the soup. Undercooked beans can cause digestive upset. Canned beans have a soft texture perfect for this soup.
What Spices and Seasonings Go In Mexican Bean Soup?
The magic of Mexican bean soup is in the spice blend. The seasonings infuse the broth with tons of flavor that permeate the beans. Traditional Mexican bean soup calls for a blend of cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic, and onion. The amount of each spice can be adjusted to suit your tastes. Cumin adds earthiness, chili powder brings smoky heat, oregano gives a herbal note, and garlic and onion provide a savory depth. Additional spices like smoked paprika, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, and epazote can also be included. Epazote is a herb used in Mexican cooking that is said to aid digestion and reduce gas—an added benefit for bean-based dishes! Play around with the amounts and combinations of spices to create your perfect spice profile.
What Extras Can I Add to Mexican Bean Soup?
The basic ingredients of Mexican bean soup are beans, broth, tomatoes, and spices. Many delicious extras can be mixed in or served on top to customize the soup. Green peppers, jalapeño, corn, and zucchini are tasty stir-ins. Garnish the soup with toppings like crunchy tortilla strips, shredded cheese like Cotija or Monterey jack, diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream, and hot sauce. Combining cool, creamy, spicy, and crispy textures and flavors takes the soup to another level. Turn classic Mexican bean soup into a hearty meal by adding cooked chicken, beef, or chorizo. The meat adds extra protein. These mix-ins give you many options for creating your ideal Mexican bean soup.
Follow these simple steps for how to make flavorful spicy Mexican bean soup at home with ease:
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 yellow onion, diced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
– 2 tablespoons chili powder
– 1 tablespoon cumin
– 1 teaspoon oregano
– 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
– 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
– 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
– 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 cup frozen corn
– Juice of 1 lime
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Optional garnishes: tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro, cheese
Step 1: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for 1 minute more.
Step 2: Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Step 3: Pour in the crushed tomatoes, broth, beans, and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil.
Step 4: Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Step 5: Take the soup off the heat. Stir in the lime juice.
Step 6: Serve the soup warm garnished with tortilla strips, avocado, cilantro, and cheese if desired. Enjoy!
What kind of pot should I use?
A large pot or Dutch oven with at least 6 quarts capacity is ideal for making this soup. The pot should be deep enough to hold all the ingredients and allow the soup to simmer.
Can I prep the soup in advance?
Yes, you can prep the soup 1-2 days in advance. Cook the soup fully then refrigerate. When ready to eat, reheat slowly over medium-low heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Add additional broth if the soup is too thick.
How long will the soup keep?
The soup will last 4-5 days refrigerated and 2-3 months frozen. Let it cool completely before storing in airtight containers. Freeze in portions for quick meals.
What if I want to use dried beans?
If using dried beans, soak them overnight and drain. Then simmer in broth until very tender, 1-2 hours. Once cooked, use them instead of the canned beans in the recipe. You may need to increase the broth as well.
Can I use chicken broth instead?
You can substitute chicken broth for a non-vegetarian version. Chicken broth pairs nicely with beans. Use reduced sodium chicken broth.
Is this soup spicy?
The amount of spice is customizable based on your preferences. For mild spice, use 1 jalapeno and 1 tablespoon chili powder. For medium spice, increase to 2 jalapenos and 2 tablespoons chili powder. For very spicy, add additional jalapenos or a spoonful of hot sauce.
There are many ways to put your own spin on classic Mexican bean soup:
– Use different beans like kidney, great northern, cannellini, or navy beans.
– Add chopped zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, celery, or green beans for extra vegetables.
– Stir in cooked chicken, beef, chorizo, or shrimp for protein.
– Top with shredded Monterey jack, queso fresco, or Cotija cheese.
– Swap out the crushed tomatoes for fire roasted diced tomatoes.
– Add a splash of beer or wine for depth.
– Garnish with sliced radishes, pickled jalapenos, or fresh cilantro.
– Serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, or crusty bread for dipping.
– For a meatless soup, use mushroom or walnut-based vegan crumbles instead of beef.
The basic recipe is so flexible. Make it your own with different beans, vegetables, spices, and toppings!
Homemade Mexican bean soup is easy to make and infinitely customizable. The simple spices of cumin, oregano, garlic, and chili powder lend incredible Tex-Mex flavor that shines through the tender beans and vegetables. Different types of beans provide protein and texture. Look for canned no-soak beans for the quickest prep. Simmer everything together with broth and tomatoes for a fast weeknight dinner the whole family will love. Play around and tweak the ingredients to suit your taste preferences. Top with cheese, crispy tortillas, avocado, and cilantro for contrasting flavors and textures. Enjoy this versatile soup on its own or pair it with warm cornbread or pico de gallo. Mexican bean soup is endlessly adaptable for a quick, healthy, and satisfying meal any night of the week.