A winter warming Mexican Black Bean Soup with lime salsa and coriander yoghurt from Diana Warrings

During the pre-Christmas season most of us are busy, running from one Christmas party to the next and trying to get all the Christmas shopping done, not to mention Christmas dinner preparations. In times like these, we need quick and easy, but healthy dishes that can be prepared in advance. This Mexican black bean soup exactly fits the brief and comes with the bonus of tasting even better the next day. Serve the piping hot soup topped with coriander yoghurt, a few slices of avocado, fresh coriander, lime salsa and zest and for those who like it hot, some more finely chopped chilli. Serves 2 – 3.

400g black beans (canned)
100g cherry tomatoes cut into quarters
1 ripe avocado
1 red pepper – cut into 1 cm cubes
2 red onions- finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic- grated
1 bay leaf
2 red chili peppers
1 tsp of cumin seeds (or heaped ground cumin)
1 tsp of coriander seeds (or heaped ground coriander)
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
2 tsp of mild chilli powder
400ml vegetable stock
150g of natural yoghurt
2 fresh limes (unwaxed)
1 bunch of fresh coriander
Freshly ground pepper and sea salt

1. Bring 400ml of water to a boil, add an adequate amount of vegetable stock cube or powder and stir until dissolved. Prepare all the vegetables and set aside, keeping the chopped onions separate. De-seed and finely slice one of the chilli peppers and just pierce the other one with a sharp knife.
2. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat in a large frying pan for a minute or two, then transfer into a mortar and finely grind.
3. Using the same frying pan, heat up 1-2 tbsp of oil, sauté one of the finely chopped onions and chopped peppers for 4-5 min. until soft, then add the tomatoes, the whole pierced chilli pepper, garlic, bay leaf, all the spices and simmer for 10 min. until soft.
4. In the meantime, drain the beans, keeping the liquid, rinse and set aside. Wash, zest and juice the limes and finely chop 3/4 of the coriander including the stem. Keep the rest of the coriander to garnish the soup.
5. For the coriander yoghurt, place the yoghurt in a bowl, mix with 2 tbsp of lime juice, 1 tbsp of zest, a generous pinch of sea salt, half the chopped coriander, 1 tbsp of finely chopped red onions, stir well and season to taste. For the lime salsa, place the remaining lime juice in a small jar, add 1 tbsp of finely chopped onion and coriander, 1/2 tsp of fresh chilli and a good pinch of salt, stir well and set aside. If you do not like spicy food, don’t add the chilli.
6. Once the onions, peppers and tomatoes are nice and soft, transfer into a medium sized pot, add beans and the vegetable stock and simmer everything for about 15 min. Add some bean liquid if needed. Once cooked, take out the chilli and the bay leaf and using a blender, blend half of the soup, so that you end up with a creamy but chunky texture. No need to do this in a separate pot, just part blend the soup as it is. If you prefer a creamy soup, you can blend all of it.
7. Next cut the avocado in half, remove the stone with a teaspoon, then using a tablespoon scoop out the flesh and cut into thin slices. Place in a bowl and drizzle with some lime salsa. This will add flavour and prevent them from going brown.

Diana Warrings is a Health & nutrition content producer, recipe developer & well-being cook.