How to Make Sopa Negra
Costa Rican Black Bean Soup
Sopa Negra is a traditional, hearty soup from Costa Rica that incorporates a multitude of vegetables, black beans, fragrant spices, and various toppings. The soup is often topped with a dollop of crèma, salty cheese, and slices of hard-boiled egg (alternatively, eggs will be poached directly in the soup toward the end of the cooking process), but aside from those toppings this soup is vegan friendly, so feel free to leave those out if needed.
Our recipe is slightly different than the traditional Costa Rican sopa negra. For starters, we added a carrot for sweetness and tomato bouillon for a bit of tanginess and added umami. We also wanted to incorporate an added level of spice, so we used ground pasilla to achieve a subtle level of heat and deepen the flavor.
This soup is delicious on it its own, but it’s really about the toppings. Make sure you have plenty of hardboiled eggs, crèma or sour cream, white onion, radish slices, avocado, cilantro, and salty cheese (optional).
Quick and Easy Sopa Negra Recipe
- 32 ounces of canned black beans in juice
- 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped thinly
- 1 large bell pepper, chopped
- oil for sautéing
- 1 tablespoon tomato bouillon
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground cumin seed
- ½ teaspoon fresh-ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon fresh-ground black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon pasilla chile powder
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup of chopped cilantro
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Place the onions, celery, and carrot in a pot with oil and a sprinkle of salt over med heat. Cook, stirring often until the onions and carrots have softened.
- Turn the heat up and add in the bell pepper, garlic, and fresh-ground spices. Sauté, stirring often, for about 5-8 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato bouillon, passilla powder, and cilantro.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and add the bay leaf. Simmer for 20 minutes with the lid off.
- Stir in the black beans and turn the heat up to cook for another 10 minutes.
- Pull about half of the mixture out and purée it.
- Serve hot.
- Top each bowl with a handful of cilantro, chopped hard-boiled egg, radish, crèma, white onion, and avocado.