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Vegan Black Bean Poblano Soup and Green Apple “Salsa”

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Poblano peppers look like large, dark green chile peppers. They’re available in most grocery stores. While they have more pepper flavor than a green bell pepper, they’re very mild. Most of the real heat in the dish comes from the jalapeno.



For the soup

  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1 small red onion, chopped (reserve 2 T for the salsa)
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 to 8 scallions, white and light green parts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 3 cans (15 oz. each) black beans, drained and rinsed (4 1/2 C cooked beans)
  • 4 1/2 C water, vegetable stock, or black bean cooking liquid (if you boiled them from dry)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 C roughly chopped cilantro (or more if desired)

For the salsa

  • Reserved red onion, from soup
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced into 1/4” cubes
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 T fresh lime juice

For serving (optional)

  • Cooked brown rice (1 to 1 1/2 C dry to serve 4)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Hot sauce
  • Extra cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges



  1. If making rice with a long cook time, start it before the soup, so it’s ready to serve when soup is done.
  2. Heat oil in medium saucepan or soup pot over medium high. Add red onion (reserving 2 tablespoons for the salsa!), poblanos, scallions (if using), and jalapeno and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, coriander, and cumin and cook for a couple minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add black beans and your choice of liquid, and raise heat to a boil. Reduce heat, simmering about a half hour, or until desired thickness is reached. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes, smashing some of the beans against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon (while holding the pot securely). This will thicken the base of the soup. When done, cool slightly, then add lime juice and zest, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. While the soup simmers, prepare the salsa.
  4. To serve, scoop a little rice to the side of each bowl, fill with bean soup, and serve with salsa and all the other optional condiments.


  1. Finely chop the reserved 2 tablespoons of chopped red onion–you’ll want much smaller pieces than used for the soup. Combine with diced apple, cilantro and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.


Unless you go throwing in cheese or sour cream, the whole recipe is vegan! (and gluten-free, and, obviously, vegetarian)

This is a very flexible soup recipe. I’ve listed the scallions as optional, or you could use them instead of red onion. I love onion, so I used both. If spice isn’t your thing, replace one or both of the poblanos with green bell pepper. If spice is your thing, add another jalapeno or up the quantity of spices. If you’re really feeling adventurous, hit the whole thing with an immersion blender for a smooth soup. Have fun with it, and let me know your changes and how they worked in the comments!

When mixed with lime juice in the salsa, the Granny Smith apple lasts several days in the fridge without browning, so feel free to make it in advance.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, January 2012.

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Mexican