Thick Cuban Black Bean Soup

Since the Spanish brought rice to the ‘New World’, healthy black beans and rice have been a staple feature across Latin America.

With pumpkin and corn, black turtle beans form the base of the healthy Nicoyan diet highlighted as a ‘Blue zone’ of longevity. But unknown to many, evidence of black turtle beans being grown in Central America dates back all the way to 7,000 years. 

So what nutritional benefits do black beans offer?

For vegetarians, legumes provide a good source of protein. For everyone, they provide beneficial fibre which helps lower blood sugar, cholesterol levels and the risk of colorectal cancer. Apart from obvious benefits to those suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular problems, black beans’ phytonutrient content includes vitamin B6 and folate, supporting heart health by helping prevent the accumulation of homocysteine. 

By taking dried beans and soaking them overnight, we allow their potassium, calcium and magnesium content to become more bioavailable. They are also naturally low in sodium, and are beneficial for hypertension sufferers, while the quercetin and saponin content is cardio-protective. 

Adding smoked ham hock, bay leaves and vegetables deepens the flavour of this soup, the result is a truly healthy dish to add to your favourites.

Credits: Ceri, ZENXIN Master Chef

Key facts:

  • Preparation: Overnight + 10 mins
  • Cooking time: 3 hrs
  • Total: Overnight + 3 hours 10mins
  • Serves: 4-6


  • 1 cup dried black turtle beans
  • 1 jug filtered water
  • 20g Simply Natural Spanish Organic Cold-pressed Extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large Red Organic Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Organic Red Capsicum, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves Spanish Organic Morado Garlic, minced
  • 1 small smoked ham hock
  • 3 small Organic Bay Leaves
  • Simply Natural French Sea Salt 
  • Simply Natural Freshly Ground Black Pepper 
  • A dash of Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • A dollop of sour cream or yoghurt
  • Pico de gallo


  1. Rinse the beans, then cover with enough water to soak overnight.
  2. Drain, then add filtered water to the pot to cover the beans by at least three inches.
  3. Bring to the boil then simmer till soft for at least an hour, checking that there is enough water. 
  4. Stir-fry the onion, green capsicum and garlic in the olive oil until fragrant.
  5. Add the onion mixture and ham bone to the beans, add salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Add water as necessary and bring back to the boil, then simmer for another 2 hours.
  7. Simmer until the beans begin to disintegrate and the soup is creamy.
  8. Remove ham bone, discard skin, chop meat and return to pot.
  9. Serve topped with sour cream and pico de gallo. 

Tip: Speed up the cooking of beans with a pressure cooker.

Pico de gallo

This is a delightful fresh salsa which goes well with Latin American dishes.


  • 3 ripe Organic Tomatoes-on-the-vine
  • ½ Organic Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 Organic Supreme Bird Chillies 
  • ½ tablespoon dried Organic Oregano
  • ¼ tablespoon dried Organic Cumin Powder
  • Simply Natural French Sea Salt 
  • Simply Natural Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Juice of 1 Organic Lime
  • ½ cup fresh Organic Coriander, finely chopped


  1. Wash, top, tail, deseed and chop the tomatoes and chillies finely.
  2. Top, tail and peel the onion, chop half finely and reserve the other half.
  3. Add in the seasonings to taste with the lime juice and coriander.
  4. Mix, taste, adjust and serve. 


The Ingredients

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