I've been dishing up this ham and black bean soup recipe for over 25 years now (YIKES.) It's one of my family's favorites, and as all you parents of large families out there know, it's rare to get all your kids to agree on something. So if I create a big family meal they all like - it's a keeper!
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Why We Love Black Bean Recipes
Black beans have become one of my off grid homestead kitchen go-tos. We store bags of dried black beans on our pantry shelves. Plus I always have a few cans of black beans on hand for last-minute meals, like stovetop rice and beans.
I cook and bake with black beans for a few good reasons.
First of all, they're tasty. They're easily adaptable to different recipes. They're good and cheap, which helps our family save money. And I like them because they add some bulk and flavor to my homemade soup and stew recipes when I'm cooking to feed a crowd.
Black beans also help stretch leftovers into a new meal. That's how I ended up creating this hearty ham and black bean soup recipe. Since we live off the grid in a remote Canadian boreal forest, waste removal is a pain. So I try to reduce the amount of waste we produce by composting and creating meals to use up ALL of our leftovers.
Canned Black Beans, Dried Black Beans, or Home Grown Black Beans?
We've tried them all, and you can use any type of black beans of them in this recipe.
Canned black beans are convenient, but the cans mean extra waste for us. Dried black beans have been a "must-have" in our pantry for years.
In recent months, due to concerns about our family's food supply, I've been growing black beans indoors. The younger kids helped me sprout and transplant 65 bean plants - all grown from storebought dried beans.
How to Substitute Black Beans in Your Favorite Recipes
Black beans add protein and a great flavor to all sorts of dishes. Some of the easy ways we use them include adding them to the following:
- a cold three-bean salad with black beans, red beans, white beans, cilantro, red onion, and mango
- to one can condensed tomato soup with a half cup of corn, 1 teaspoon of chili powder and ½ tsp oregano for a quick lunch (okay, I use four cans and 2 tablespoons of chili and 1 ½ tsp of oregano when I'm feeding six to eight of us)
- to my big batch 3-bean chili recipe
- mashed with garlic and onion and spread on a tortilla topped with salsa and cheese
- ½ cup of black beans stirred into a hearty vegetable soup for added protein
- ½ cup of black beans added to scrambled eggs then topped with salsa and shredded cheese for a hearty breakfast
- in black bean brownies (recipe to come!)
- to leftover rotisserie chicken to create a chicken black bean corn casserole dish
Truth be told, I have more than one black bean soup recipe. But this is my family's favorite.
Big Batch Ham and Black Bean Soup Recipe to Feed a Crowd
I often make this black bean soup recipe on a Friday or Saturday. That's because it lets me use up all those leftovers from the week. For instance, I might have tomatoes, salsa, corn, onion, and of course, a few cups of cooked ham to throw into my pot. This is a very forgiving recipe, and good for substitutions because it allows me to use up whatever's wilting in my fridge.
- 3 cups dried black beans
- 4 cups water
- 1 heaping teaspoon salt
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 ½ cups chopped cooked ham
- 4 ½ cups OR 2-28 oz cans of diced tomatoes with juice (do NOT drain)
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 heaping teaspoons of chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup of cooked rice
Cook Dried Black Beans in Slow Cooker
In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups of dried beans to a boil in salted water.
- Pour into a slow cooker and let simmer for 2 ½ hours on medium.
- Open lid and stir every 30 minutes.
- Add ½ cup more water if the beans start to stick.
Then Add Black Bean Soup Recipe Ingredients
- After 2 ½ hours, add all remaining ingredients and stir well.
- Simmer for another 1 ½ hour on medium-low.
- Stir every 30 minutes and add water if needed (some slow cookers have hotter “mediums” than others!
- Stir in cooked rice right before serving.
Serve with tortillas or with crusty homemade bread on the side. Garnish with cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Add hot sauce to spice it up!
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 264Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 18mgSodium 634mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 11gSugar 10gProtein 19g
Cook Dried Black Beans on the Stove or in the Slow Cooker
In a perfect world, I remember to soak my black beans overnight so they're ready to go the next day. But that doesn't always happen because of real life, you know? Kids, writing, homeschooling, chickens, gardening, chores, finding a great new book - so many things to distract me from soaking my beans.
So sometimes I use the "quick" method of cooking my dried beans on my propane stovetop. (Note, if we're using our wood stove I just stick them on top for a few hours in the morning.
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