Black bean soup with onion skin


- 2 cups dried black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight and drained

- 2 bay leaves

- 5 cups onion skin water, made from soaking onion skins in boiling water, then strained

- 2 tbs olive oil

- 2 large onions, chopped fine, skins reserved

- 4 garlic cloves, chopped

- 1 carrot, chopped

- 1 celery rib, chopped

- 1½ tsps salt, or to taste

- 1 tbs ground cumin

- 1 tsp chilli flakes

- 2 cups chicken stock (either store-bought or homemade)

- 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

- Fresh coriander, chopped

- Low-fat yogurt


- Place the beans in a pot. Add five cups of onion water and bay leaves.

- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about an hour until the beans are tender. Remove the bay leaves.

- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a second pot, a large one, until the oil is hot but not smoking. Add chopped onion, garlic, celery and carrot.

- Cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned and softened.

- Season with salt.

- Lower the heat and stir in cumin powder and chilli flakes.

- Once the beans are tender, add the beans, their cooking liquid and chicken stock to the second pot.

- Bring to a boil, add the chopped red pepper, then reduce the heat to a simmer.

- Cook, stirring occasionally, for about half an hour. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

- The soup will thicken; if it gets too thick, add some water and adjust the seasoning again.

- Serve, garnished with fresh coriander and yogurt.



(Per Serving: 215g)

Energy: 150 kcal

Protein: 7g

Total fat: 5g

Saturated fat: 0.8g

Dietary fibre: 6.1g

Carbohydrate: 18.9g

Cholesterol: 1.8mg

Sodium: 111.9mg


Black beans are a rich source of protein and fibre.

This recipe has several benefits for your overall health, especially your gut health, said Ms Bibi Chia, principal dietitian at Raffles Diabetes and Endocrine Centre.

Beans are a good substitute for meat as they do not contain cholesterol or saturated fat, she said. The soluble fibres in bean may, in fact, help you to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent constipation, she added.

This dish gives you 24 per cent of your daily fibre requirement.

In addition, soaking beans in water overnight allows some of the phytates and tannins to be removed from the beans.

These components in the beans are known to interfere with the body's ability to absorb certain nutrients.

Also ensure that the beans are thoroughly cooked, as undercooked beans can be dangerous, said Ms Chia.

This article was first published on Sept 29, 2015.
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