Turtle Bean Soup | Black Bean Soup

Ready when you walk in the door of an evening.

Turtle Bean Soup | Black Bean Soup

My friend calls this Goth Soup. It is a dark dark soup that provides such great joie de vivre on a cold night.

This  recipe for Turtle Beans (also called Black Beans) can be slow cooked either in the Rice Cooker on the slow-cook setting, in a dedicated slow cooker, or on the stove. Turtle Beans have a dense, earthy texture and flavour, slightly salty and reminiscent of mushrooms. It can be served as a thick soup, or served like a lentil stew over rice.

The recipe is the slow cooked version, but it can be adapted for the stove top. I have also made this soup with whole masoor – whole red lentils – with great success. I would guess that means it would also work with Beluga Beans Horse Gram, and du Puy Lentils.

Similar recipes include Greek White Bean Soup, Borlotti Bean and Pasta Minestrone, and  Thai Red Lentil Soup.

You might like to see the Black Bean recipes. Or browse our Soup recipes. Be inspired by our Mid-Winter recipes.

Turtle Bean Soup | Black Bean Soup

Turtle Bean Soup | Black Bean Soup

2 Tblspn or more ghee or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped (dice if stalks are wide)
1 red capsicum, diced
1 – 2 carrots, diced
5 garlic cloves, chopped fine or put through a garlic press
1 fresh red chilli, chopped finely (or use dried if you don’t have fresh)
1 Tblspn cumin seed
1.5 tspn turmeric powder
2 cups turtle beans (black beans)
1/4 – 1 Tblspn chilli powder, depending on your tolerance for heat.
1/2 – 1 tspn smoked paprika (optional)
7 cups water or vegetarian stock
juice of a lime or half a lemon
Celtic sea salt

First of all fry off the mirepoix in the bowl of your slow cooker if it is one that you can put on the stove top, or in a separate pan. This is how:

Heat the oil and add the diced onions, celery, carrots and capsicum. Stir well and allow to sauté until soft and looking like they are beginning to brown.

Add the garlic, fresh chilli and cumin seed. Stir and cook for another 2 minutes.

Now switch the slow cooker to its slowest cooking setting. (If cooking on the stove, simply add the ingredients to the pan you are using.)

Add the sauteed vegetable mix, the beans, turmeric, chilli powder and stock or water. Stir, close the lid and cook on low heat for up to 9 hours in the slow cooker.  Slow cooked dishes are infinitely forgiving in the amount of time that they are cooked. Cook for about 2 hours on the stove top

As you are preparing the rest of the meal, tip the soup from the slow cooker into a saucepan and bring to a simmer on the stove and bring to the boil. If cooking on the stove, simply continue as below when the beans are very tender.

With an immersion blender, partially puree the soup in the pan so that some of the beans are pureed and some beans remain whole. If you don’t have an immersion blender, blend half of the soup in a blender.

Add the lemon or lime juice and season with salt and a pinch of black pepper.  Allow it to simmer until you are ready to serve. Or if you want to keep it until the next day (flavour improves even more), simmer for 10 minutes, cool and refrigerate.

Serve with fresh green coriander and/or a dollop of yoghurt, sour cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone cream (leave off for a vegan dish). Avocado and preserved lemon is excellent too.


recipe notes and alternatives
Some cookers will cook quicker than others, ie at a higher temperature. Check the cooker after about 5 hours for water levels and “doneness”. I made this in my daughter’s cooker and it was sufficiently cooked after 5.5 hours. It is worth doing a test run when you use your slow cooking setting for the first time.

Turtle Bean Soup

other ways with Turtle Beans (Black Beans)

  • Turtle Bean Salad with crunchy red and green peppers, onion, coriander and a tangy umeboshi vinegar dressing.
  • Turtle Bean HotPot made with sweet corn, leeks, onion, bay leaves, mint, garlic, cajun style spices, paprika, black pepper, fennel seed, cinnamon, thyme, cayenne.

Green Tomato and Black Bean Tostadas

Grilled Green Tomatoes on Tostadas with Black Beans, Avocado and Coriander

Avocado and Black Bean Salad

Avocado and Black Bean Salad with Green Tomatoes

Black Bean and Cabbage Salad

Black Bean and Cabbage Salad with Orange Dressing



16 thoughts on “Turtle Bean Soup | Black Bean Soup”

  1. Sounds like a delicious soup. And I agree completely about the way good coffee makes life just a little better! I have a machine that grinds the beans in the top, then sucks them into a filter and brews the coffee, and I’m sold on it.

  2. I love my coffee too and it has to be perfect always 🙂 Like to add cocoa/drinking chocolate on top of hot cuppa. The soup look healthy & refreshing…black beans is not common here, might try with the yellow or brown beans.

    1. Oh so lovely to see you here! I am with you and the coffee (except for the cocoa)! Yes I think this would go well with a number of beans – and I have made it with whole masoor dal quite successfully.

      Love your blog, it is so beautiful.

  3. Aah, look what I find. A friendly fellow twitterer whom mentions my blog. How nice of you to do that and such kind words. I was trying to work out where the first photo was taken – I had thought Queen St. cafe – and so I was correct after reading your blog. The more you learn about coffee the more you find its incredibly complex and how so many things need to be perfect to get that special cup, and thats what we are after – excellent coffee (without choc powder please!)

    1. Totally correct with Queen St, Bobby. Taken with the iPhone so I can avoid being too obvious. Nothing like a huge DSLR to become conspicuous!

  4. You’re really starting to convince me about that slow cooker / rice cooker. I’m always very hesitant about buying new kitchen equipment, so often we think we *need* things, when we actually don’t. Especially if it’s something which is going to take up counter space. But the more I read how you use it, and how often you use it, the more I’m thinking I’d like one.

    And that black bean soup recipe does look amazing – so thick and rich and hearty.

  5. Great to see another coffee enthusiast (I think we are taking over the world). So glad to hear Adelaide has great coffee, although are you sure about being better (on the whole) than Sydney and Melbourne? Great places in Melbourne are Cavallini in Clifton Hill and St Ali’s in South Melbourne. Two of the best coffees I have ever tasted. Other things to watch is the barister doesn’t leave the coffee in the machine too long, as it can burn and taste bitter. Also the grind should be adjusted at least once a day (a good shot single should take about 25 – 30 seconds to pour). I was a barister for five years and really love my long black every morning.

    Nice blog!

  6. i have never fully explored all the functions on my rice cooker. This is an eye opening post for me! One thing though, are the turtle beans soaked? You mentioned earlier in the post cooking unsoaked chickpeas so I naturally assumed you meant unsoaked turtle beans too – but thought I’d clarify.

  7. Your writing is so beautiful . The way you explained about coffee making , makes me feel like grabbing one right now.. but it’s midnight for me!
    I hardly .. hardly use rice cooker and beans are not my favorite. The husband however loves bean and he might enjoy this soup a lot!

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