Mexican Bean Soup with Chipotle Avocado Cream and Guacamole Tip (vegan and gluten-free)

When you open a cookbook, a recipe may “jump out” because of its title, its reputation (we know how blogging can hype a recipe long before a cookbook reaches bookshelves), or of course because of its photos.  With the volume of recipes in LTEV, I almost wish I had written two separate cookbooks so that I could have offered you all MORE photographs. Ideally, I’d love to have photographs of every single dish, because I think that’s what really ‘sells’ a recipe.

At least I got this recipe photographed for LTEV. Still, I think it may have flown under the radar somewhat because it resembles a chili. For me, this soup is quite different than chili. You know how chili can feel ‘heavy’ after eating it? It’s not just the beans, it’s the thickness of the stew itself, and the ingredients in combination.

As I mention in the description of this Mexican Bean Stew, it is rather different than chili. First, it has no chili spice. Second, it has a lighter broth, and a very distinct earthy, smoky flavor from the cumin seeds. The cumin seeds, in combination with the oregano and cinnamon, give a full, pleasing, intoxicating flavor – without the heaviness of chili.


Mexican Bean Soup with Chipotle Avocado Cream (foreground)

I really love this photo. I think Hannah beautifully captured the colors and simplicity of this soup.

Wait. Do not stop at the soup!

Definitely make the Chipotle Avocado Cream. It adds a lusciousness to this soup, add a dollop and take a spoonful and you’ll understand why you must pair the two together! This cream is equally good as a substitute for guacamole. You can skip the cashews (see recipe note), and also omit the chipotle sauce for a more neutral flavor that kids really love. You will find yourself going to this sauce for ALL sorts of dishes. With such a rich and velvety texture, it is one of the best vegan sauces to accompany grains, salads, noodles – even to drizzle on hot pizza!

Oh yeah, you can tell I make this avocado cream often. The girls ADORE guacamole, and I find I can stretch those avocs just a little further in a sauce – and that’s important when your kids can easily eat 5-6 avocs in one guacamole hit! (And, I don’t hesitate to let them have that much, they are growing and need these healthy whole food fats. I used to make it with my immersion blender, but now I often just pop the ingredients in my Twister Jar, and then we spoon it straight from that jar.

But, how do you prepare guacamole or an avocado sauce a few hours ahead of time without it turning brown? Or, how do you store leftover guacamole without it oxidizing so badly that you don’t want to eat it. Now, it is rare … rare I say … that we have leftover avocado sauce or guacamole in this house. Usually my kids are I’m scraping out the bowl or jar with tortilla chips.

However, we have had the odd occasion, I think 3 times in the last 5 years, when I have in fact made too much guacamole or avocado sauce – more than our family can eat. And, I have also wanted to prep guacamole in advance. So, what works best to preserve its color?

I have tried a few different techniques, including the “pit in the centre of the dip” trick. That may be slightly effective, but if the dip or sauce is in the bowl, there is still much oxidization. I have found this technique works the best…


Put your leftover sauce or guac in a cup or other vessel that is tall/narrow rather than shallow and wide like a bowl. There will be less surface area to oxidize, so less will turn brown. For the guac, pack it down as much as you can in the cup. Then squeeze lemon juice over top, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. You can also smooth the plastic wrap directly on to the surface of the guac/sauce if you want, it will also help reduce the browning – but that’s if you are okay with the plastic wrap sitting on the surface of your food.

So, get your plant-powered behind out shopping for a dozen or so avocs (ok, you only need a couple for this recipe, that’s just how many I buy at a time)… and get ready to spoon into some deliciousness!

Mexican Bean Soup with Chipotle Avocado Cream gluten-free, oil-free, soy free
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This soup has bold, vibrant flavors without being heavy, as a chili can be. Be sure to pair with Chipotle Avocado Cream. And avoid substituting cumin powder for cumin seeds—the whole seeds really add a distinctive flavor element.

Serves 4-5.

1 tbsp water

1 1/2 cups   red onions, finely chopped

6-7 medium – large cloves garlic, minced

3/4 tsp sea salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 1/4 tsp cumin seed (don’t substitute ground cumin!)

2 ½ tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 – 2 tbsp jalapeno pepper, chopped (adjust to taste, optional, can also sub crushed red pepper, see note)

1 28-oz can (796-ml) diced tomatoes

1 14 or 15-oz can  black beans, rinsed and drained

1 14 or 15-oz can  kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or pinto beans or black beans)

1  cup frozen corn kernels

1 vegetable bouillon cube (ex: I use Harvest Sun brand) (not stock, just the cube)

2 ½ – 3 cups water

1 tsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar (optional)

1 ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

chopped fresh cilantro for serving

lime wedges for serving

In a large pot over medium heat, combine the oil or water, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin seed, dried oregano, cinnamon, and jalapeño (if using). Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; lower the heat if the onion is sticking. Starting with 21⁄2 cups of the water, add the remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, cilantro, lime wedges, and Chipotle Avocado Cream. Stir, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and add the remaining water to thin, if desired. Serve in individual portions with cilantro and lime wedges and a dollop of Chipotle Avocado Cream (recipe below).

Kid-Friendly: If making this soup for a family with young children, you may want to omit the jalapeño so the soup does not have spicy heat. It will still be flavorful, just not spicy hot for the little ones. Also, if you don’t have a fresh jalapeño on hand, feel free to add a few pinches of crushed red chili flakes or a few dashes of hot sauce, to taste.

Chipotle Avocado Cream

This sauce adds lusciousness to any Mexican-inspired meal, and is a must for Mexican Bean Soup.

1 cup (fairly packed) ripe avocado, cut in chunks (about 1 ½ medium-large avocados)

1/3 cup raw cashews (soaked beforehand is preferable, but not essential – see note for nut-free)

1 ½ – 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

½ – 2/3 cup water

1/2 tsp sea salt

¼ tsp pure maple syrup or agave nectar (optional, to taste)

¼ tsp chipotle hot sauce (ex: Tabasco brand) (or more to taste, or omit, see note)

Using a standing blender or an immersion blender and deep cup or jar, puree all the ingredients (starting with 1⁄2 cup of the water). Start on a slow speed to incorporate the cashews, then increase speed to high until very smooth and creamy. Add additional water to thin, as desired, and salt, agave, and chipotle sauce to taste. Dollop on soup, or use as a dip with tortilla chips.

Adult-Minded: I like this sauce with a modest amount of chipotle hot sauce to give a hint of flavor but no added heat. If you like the heat, though, add more hot sauce to taste!

Cashew-Note: You can omit the cashews if you have a nut-allergy. Simply puree the avocado with the water and other ingredients, but you will need less water. Start with about 1/4 cup, then adjust to thin as needed. Also use a lesser amount of salt and adjust to taste.

Kid-Friendly: Omit the chipotle hot sauce altogether, add another 1⁄4 teaspoon of agave nectar, and use this sauce to top your kiddos’ burritos, tacos, or even pasta or simple beans and rice.

Serving Suggestions: This sauce has star power beyond pairings with Mexican-inspired dishes. By merely omitting the chipotle seasoning, this sauce transforms into a creamy, sumptuous topping for just about anything, such as baked beans, rice and grain dishes, pasta casseroles, pizza, baked potatoes, salads, and stews.

Have any handy-dandy food storage/leftover tips to share – for avocados or otherwise?

Hope you love the soup! I’d love to hear from you when you try it. :) Enjoy my plant-powered pals!


  1. Emma says

    Just made this wonderful sounding dish!!
    I used everything fresh though. Soaked the beans last night and chopped a huge tomato finely.

    Yummy! Thanks!

  2. Amanda says

    Hello there I am going to make this tonight.. I have everything but vegetable bouillan. Is there a substitution for that or do you think would be ok if I left out?

    • Dreena says

      Hi Amanda, yes, you can. You’ll just need to add salt to taste. Add maybe 1/2 tsp with the saute, and then adjust to taste after finishing! Enjoy!

  3. Alexa says

    I love avocado in broth-based clear soups. Isa from Post Punk Kitchen used avocado in her famous grilled ramen recipie, but in vegetable broth witch zuchini, grean beans and so and lemon juice, the avocado is also lovely. Just cut in cubes or slices, and put in the bowl with soum. Yuuuum.
    Ok, sometimes I eat vegan ramen noodle with cubes of tofu and avocado. Not so clean food, but tasty.
    And guacamole… Guacamole is lovely when you add some nutrional yeast. Not too much, don’t try to make it cheesy and too thick. But something like half spoon for one avocado works great.

  4. Chad says

    My wife made this for me last night and it was FANTASTIC! Absolutely loved the soup and especially the Avocado Cream! It was even better the next day for lunch. :) Thank you for sharing, this will become one of my staple meals!

  5. Allison says

    I have the avocado cream and the creamy almond curry dressing in the fridge. We’ve been using them for greens/grains/beans/veggies this week. I love the sauce and dip chapter in LTEV!

  6. says

    I made this on Tuesday night and it turned out great! My omni husband was also a big fan. It made great leftovers too for workday lunches.
    The soup reminds me a little bit of the Mexican Gumbo from Qdoba, but with about 1% of the sodium content. The avocado cream came out good too, even though I used an avocado that was definitely not ripe yet. I can’t wait to try it again when I have a ripe one!
    A. Cook recently posted..ReclamationMy Profile

  7. says

    I’m definitely interested in this avocado cream sauce – I can just imagine how it would totally jazz up some grains and veggies into a fancy meal. And it just so happens I have an avocado that needs eating before I head out of town for awhile…hmmm.
    Marianne recently posted..The System Is DownMy Profile

    • Dreena says

      It really does, Marianne, and you can add seasonings that you like too – extra citrus, minced garlic/chives, hot sauce, etc! Take the avoc with you if you have to. 😉

  8. says

    I usually like anything “Mexican” and this soup is no exception. I like the fact that it has no chili powder. It makes it ‘lighter’. I’m seriously going to have to try that cream!
    Carrie recently posted..Honey Lemon BeetsMy Profile

  9. Tiffany says

    Hi Dreena,

    This recipe looks incredible! Can’t wait for your next cookbook! I always love making your recipes because each one is so delicious! I made your almond zen granola the other day as a birthday treat for my mom and she loved it!! She loves cardamom so this was the perfect fit, she couldn’t believe is was homemade :)

    You are an inspiration! Thank you for your encouragement, support and talent!

    xoxo Hope you have an amazing week ahead filled with love and laughs!

  10. Karen G says

    Hey Dreena!
    I DO like seeing the LTEV recipes in your posts because you always add something that isn’t in the book version.
    This recipe proves it. I must have skipped over it for some reason, but I am def-in-nat-ly making both of these!
    Thanks again! <3
    Karen G

    • Dreena says

      Oh, thanks a bunch Karen! There’s only so much “chatting” my publishers can squeeze into a cookbook, lol! Glad I can add some extras in a post for you. Enjoy the recipes!! 😀

  11. says

    This sounds delicious! I am a huge avocado fan and have made many avocado based type sauces that I add to pretty much anything, ha ha. Love the addition of some hot sauce, I bet even my husband would eat it (and he’s not a guac fan, crazy right?)

    Every time you post a recipe it reminds me I need to cook from LTEV more, the Mac-Oh-Geez was a huge hit with my family. I’m thinking casserole for dinner next week…
    Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} recently posted..Boston Marathon 2013: Reflections and Ways to Show SupportMy Profile

    • Dreena says

      Thanks Anna! Funny, our wee girl didn’t like avocado right away, and I thought “HOW possible?”!! lol, yes, I do not comprehend lack of avoc love! I’m glad you loved the Mac so much, and hope you get digging into those pages for sure. :)

    • Dreena says

      Oh, and Anna, glad you enjoy getting a reminder about some of the recipes I’ve already published. I’ve had a few people mention the same when I post on FB. Even if they’ve made the recipe before, they say it’s great to see it again, b/c they may have not made it in a few months and forgot how much it was enjoyed, etc. So, I’ll remind once in a while. 😉

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