Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro, Melanie J. Clarke Photo by: Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro, Melanie J. Clarke

Mexican Ham and Bean Soup

This filling soup makes good use of leftover ham. Pair with fresh bread for a complete meal.

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2002

  • Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups soup, 1 tablespoon cheese, and 1 tablespoon cilantro)


  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • 8 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed smoked ham steak (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 chipotle chile (or dried ancho or pasilla chile)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Manchego cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro


Sort and wash beans; place in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water to 2 inches above beans; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain.

Combine beans, broth, and next 8 ingredients (broth through garlic) in a Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Partially cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

Stir in tomatoes and chile; simmer 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and chile. Ladle soup into 8 bowls. Top with cheese; sprinkle with cilantro.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 303
  • Calories from fat: 12%
  • Fat: 4.2g
  • Saturated fat: 1.8g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5g
  • Protein: 20.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 46.8g
  • Fiber: 16.1g
  • Cholesterol: 22mg
  • Iron: 4.3mg
  • Sodium: 958mg
  • Calcium: 153mg

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Mexican Ham and Bean Soup recipe