My Recipe Box

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes


Serves eight.

Yields about 14 cups.

The sweet potatoes in this soup contrast nicely with the tang of the yogurt and the tartness of the lime. Aniseed lends an unusual hint of licorice flavor.

  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. aniseed
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts lower-salt chicken broth or homemade vegetable broth
  • Four 15.5-oz. or two 29-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 8 paper-thin lime slices

Heat the oil over medium heat in a 6-quart (or larger) Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften and brown slightly, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, aniseed, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, beans, sweet potatoes, and 3/4 tsp. salt and bring to a boil over high heat; skim any foam as necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, set aside 3 cups of the beans and potatoes. Puree the remaining soup in batches in a blender. Return the solids to the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with a dollop of the yogurt and a lime slice.

You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 310, Fat (kcal): 6, Fat Calories (g): 50, Saturated Fat (g): 1, Protein (g): 17, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5, Carbohydrates (mg): 51, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 370, Cholesterol (g): 0, Fiber (g): 11,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Quick and easy. My brother-in-law hates sweet potatoes, but he loves this soup. The only trouble is that he gets indigestion from eating too much of it at one time.

Very easy to make and really tasty. I used homemade vegetable broth that I made in the fall and froze. I halved the recipe and it turned out great. Loved the addition of sour cream and a lime slice to the finished soup.

Delicious and easy to make...the yogurt, lime and anise are a nice blend of ingredients.

Really quick and simple. Good taste.

I'm preparing this soup for the 2nd time in 2 weeks. Any one who doesn't find it flavorful is most likely not using fresh spices. Agree with reducing broth and using fennel as a substitute for anise seed my son law was carbing for the NYC marathon so I added rice for him. A hearty healthy easy fall meal!

Delicious soup. Is fast and easy after work. Like some others I didn't have anise so used fennel. I also didn't have sweet potato so used butternut squash instead. Will definitely make it again.


Loved this soup! I'm another one of those who substituted fennel since it's what I had around--great combination of flavor. People seem to be having issues with using dried beans but they worked well for me. Be sure to COOK the beans before you make this soup. Beans take about an hour to cook after soaking, so the 15 minutes of simmering in this recipe wouldn't be sufficient.

I'm not sure I understand why this soup is so popular. I found it to be somewhat bland and a little time consuming to make. Have tried it twice now and probably won't make it again.

This recipe needs a bit more tweaking but overall is good. I used dried beans instead of canned, and I wish I stuck to canned. My soup didn't have the dark appearance as the photo - maybe I didn't prepare the beans correctly? The soup needed to be thicker so I discarded some of the chicken broth and used extra beans during the pureeing step. I also added a dob of butter and extra salt at the end.

I made this soup last night looking for a quick, easy meal that I had all the ingredients for. It was delicious! Like other reviewers, I omitted the anise (I didn't have any in my pantry). Second, I roasted the sweet potatoes and added them at the end, right before the puree step. I think this added a better flavor and texture, as the potatoes had nice carmelized bits. This was a great weeknight meal that I plan to make again!

Delicious! Followed the recipe to a T with the exception of the aniseed - don't like black licorice. But adding the yogurt and some lime sprinkles at the end really enhanced the flavor. To make it completely vegetarian, you could use vegetable broth instead. And my chicken broth was not low sodium, so I didn't add the extra salt. Didn't need a pinch of salt or pepper afterwards. Served with warm, crusty buttered bread. Delicous!

Hey mkc1972, You could substitute dried beans for canned beans here, but you'd have to both soak AND cook them in water before proceeding with the recipe. For more on how to soak and cook basic black beans, see the ingredient profile:

I bombed on this soup, mainly because I didn't follow the recipe as it's written. I followed the hints of the other reviewers, specifically the one saying to use less chicken broth for a thicker soup. Also, I used dried beans that I had soaked for 7 hours and that too was a disaster. They were not soft enough. (This was my first time using dried beans). So, what I ended up with was a nicely flavored black bean paste. My suggestion to first timers who really want to try this would be to follow the recipe and consider that those who've adjusted the recipe already made it once before and adjusted it to THEIR taste!!

Awesome soup!! I got rave reviews from my guests. This is a permanent addition to my collection. I too am partial to thicker soups so I cut the chicken broth in half (2-15.5 oz cans, used 1 onion, but didn't cut the flavorings/garlic/potatoes and it was great. I added the juice of 1/2-1 lime as it made a huge difference (yum), and I added more anise seed (1/2 tsp) and increased cumin to 1 1/4 tsp. The thin slices of lime on top are not necessary, but you could use them for presentation if you wanted. I skipped the yogurt. Be sure to adjust the salt and pepper to taste at the end. To thicken the soup I used 3 cans of black beans and saved more of the beans and potatoes (4 c.) as I like more actual "stuff" in my soup. I thickened it additionally with some pureed garbanzo beans since I didn't have any more black beans and it worked nicely but changed the next time I'd use additional pureed black beans from a can. It's a winner!

Good soup. Beware of the aniseed - some of my kids didn't care for it, though I myself thought it was a great addition. And although the lime/yogurt is a nice touch, I found it to be rather unnecessary. If I did this again I would use less broth - but I'm partial to a thick stew. In this case, even after pureeing, I added some flour to thicken it up - otherwise it's a pretty thin soup.

Delish! Spicy! Lovely color scheme that works great for fall, halloweeny parties. Good starting point, but better with adaptations. I also did not like the texture of the soup and reduced the broth, and then in later attempts omitted the puree step. Like it much better chunky and it travels better to potluck parties that way. Substituted same amount of jalapeno juice for black pepper and like that also. I find that the lime juice and yogurt are the perfect topper. Also have added FRESH cilantro with success but might reduce other spices with this addition in the future. Husband takes to work over jasmine rice, causing his Co-workers to become moochers. Lovely recipe. Thanks for it.

Wonderful! Perfect winter soup, and healthy to boot! I've made it with fennel instead of aniseed, since I couldn't find it in my grocery store. A fine substitute! I just made it again and used star anise this time. I just threw one whole "star" in the pot along with the other spices. It added a nice, subtle anise-flavor.

Just spectacular. One of the best soups I have ever tasted. Only change I had was to use cloves instead of aniseed but only because I don't care for anise.

A great winter weeknight meal. I pureed a handful of cilantro with the beans and sweet potatoes. Also didn't have the anise seed, but did end up squeezing in a full lime and adding a bunch of hot sauce. Very tasty, and the yogurt mixed in was delicious. My boyfriend preferred it topped with cheddar and corn chips.

The soup was very easy and good but not great - I did add a jalapeno with the chopped onions. I may make it again because beans and sweet potatoes are healthy but I am tempted to add bacon or ham. Maybe I will roast diced sweet potatoes before adding to soup for more flavor.

This soup was wonderful!

I initially found the soup to be quite bland. I left out the aniseed because I didn't have any, so maybe that would have made a difference. I think it would have been better with some bacon in there. I ended up squeezing some lime juice and adding chopped cilantro which boosted the flavor. It was also good as cold dish.

This was really easy to make, had good sweetness from the sweet potato, I used 1/2 t. of aniseed because I like the flavor. The next time I make it I plan to reduce the amount of stock to 6 or 6 1/2 cups, I would have like the soup to be a little thicker, but it did look just like the picture.

Definitely a comfort food! It has a sweet undertone which made it difficult to know when to stop adding salt.

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