Cuban Fusion Black Bean Soup: The Cuban Kitchen Series

The Cuban Fusion Black Bean Soup tastes of Calle Ocho in Miami. It is a trip to the Caribbean in a bowl.  black-beans-14522_640
The combination of gentle heat and lime give it the Cuban twist. It elevates the famous black bean soup served with slices of lemon in the dining room of the U. S. Congress into an international dish with a Latin flair.

This is a quickie recipe and it makes two servings. Make it in a soup pot, let it cool then blend it. At the end, the soup is pureed. You do not want to puree hot soup, as it will go all over the kitchen. I warn you, this Cuban Fusion Black Bean Soup is addictive. It is fast, easy to prepare, easy to refrigerate and it freezes very well. Makes a great meal on the go for the dysphagia patient.


The Soup

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained, preferably organic
  • 1 package vegetable broth, preferably organic
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 3 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

If you want a hint of sweetness as an undertone of taste on the palate, may I suggest that you use a third of a red bell pepper, diced. This is optional. In a pinch, you could even substitute a roasted red pepper from the Italian deli section of your supermarket. These roasted red peppers are usually preserved in olive oil, so they bring some richness to the dish.

Spice Blend

I like to brown my spices with the sautéed veggies, so I add:

  • 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh oregano
  • ½ tsp. cumin for smokiness
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika (sorry, you cannot substitute regular paprika for this. Use the Badia brand. It is fresh and it is from Miami.)

For heat, if the patient has clearance from a healthcare provider: For depth of flavor with mild heat, one chipotle chili, from a can, with a tablespoon of the adobo sauce. This is a smoked jalapeno. Be sure to remove seeds.


To balance out the heat, you need acid. Lime juice tastes like Cuba.


Heat the oil and sauté the veggies, one by one. Add the garlic last so it does not burn. Sprinkle in the spices and brown them with the veggies. When veggies are translucent and spices are browned, add the beans and cover with vegetable broth. Cook for ten minutes at the simmer. Heat the oil and sauté the veggies, one by one. Add the garlic last so it does not burn. Sprinkle in the spices and brown them with the veggies. When veggies are translucent and spices are browned, add the beans and cover with vegetable broth. Cook for ten minutes at the simmer. Add toppings, if you choose. After the soup is cooked, add the juice of a lime. Or half a lime. To taste.


For variety of flavor when creating the puree, add a tablespoon of chopped scallions or red onion finely chopped, a few avocado slices, or some finely chopped tomatillo.  If you like sweet and heat, puree with slices of firm mango. Use fresh cilantro too if it is to your taste. You may add it in the cooking or add it at the end, before puree. I give variations, so you can balance heat, sweet and acid to suit your taste.

For the Puree

When the soup cools, take one cup and place it in the bowl of a mini-food processor or a blender. Pulse a few times to get the beans mashing. Then puree until absolutely smooth. If you have added various spices, please run the soup through a mesh sieve using a silicone spatula. This will remove any particles, seeds, or fiber, for the ease of the swallow. You can puree the whole soup and freeze one serving, with a label and a USE BY date. Use a post-it note and a Sharpie pen. At Essential Puree, we recommend freezing in glassware. If you have to add thickener to the soup, the soup will not stick to the side of a glass storage container.

On the Menu

The Cuban Fusion Black Bean Soup is a terrific lunch item, but is also satisfying enough to be a meal on its own, say with some maduros and a serving of steamed fish with a touch of lime. I have a healthy recipe for those coming soon, a clean eating version of a dish you could get on Calle Ocho in Miami. Maduros are mashed sautéed plantain. In Florida, in the Latin section of the freezer department, you can buy frozen maduros. These are of good quality. (Plantain is sweet, but it may be fibrous.

When preparing plantain for the dysphagia patient, please remove any fibrous parts before the puree and make sure the plantain is thoroughly pureed before serving. Alternatively, buzz the finished dish in a high speed commercial blender and then put it through a mesh sieve to get a smooth pudding-like puree.) If you have a high speed commercial blender, such as a Vitamix or one of the others, such as a NutriNinja or a Nutribullet Rx, make a salad of avocado, red onion, diced mango, arugula greens, and some tomatillo with the seeds removed for the Latin flavor. Puree with a vinaigrette of oil and lime juice. If you don’t have tomatillo on hand, use ripe tomato, but seed it first. Use salt and white pepper to season. Black pepper grains may irritate the throat of the dysphagia patient.

Make sure the puree is smooth. The avocado adds to the correct thickness. If more thickening is needed for the correct level of the NDD, use one of the commercial thickeners, in the amount suggested by the manufacturer. The commercial thickeners do not come up to their full thickening potential for three minutes after addition to the dish, so put the dish in the refrigerator and wait three minutes before serving.

A Note on the Fresh Herb Component

Fresh cilantro adds a bright component to a dish. It tastes herbaceous. Cooked cilantro adds depth of flavor and takes away the herbaceous component. It is a matter of preference and tolerance in the patient. Consult your dietitian, SLP or physician. Observe the swallow and expression, and listen to the feedback; you will know which way to go. Watch and learn. Respond in real time. Tip: Use half as much liquid and you create a black bean hummus. This hummus can be used to puree seafood, such as grilled or steamed shrimp, fish, crab or lobster for a delicious entree plus carb. Freezes well.


Featured photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay, cc