Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Did you know that January is National Soup month? I am a soupaholic, and I love everything about it – from chopping up the veggies to sautéing the onions/garlic until they’re golden, to the pot simmering on the stove... the smells, the sounds, the bright veggie colors, and of course the TASTES!!!! There is something incredibly satisfying about making a big pot of soup on a cold day. It’s almost healing to the soul (and it doesn’t just have to be chicken noodle)! When cold weather hits, the first thing my dear friend Kasey does is run for her turtleneck sweaters and her soup-cooking gear! I’ve spent many a night sitting in her kitchen sharing laughter and friendship over a steaming bowl of homemade soup.
Today I found a recipe on my favorite food store’s website, www.wholefoodsmarket.com. They’re featuring an array of soup recipes this month, and their Simple Black Bean Soup caught my eye. It’s easy to make, easy on the budget, nutritious, and has only 120 calories per serving and a whopping 7g of protein and 7g of fiber! What’s not to love?!?!?
Another thing I love about soups is that you can easily double or triple the recipe to have enough not only for your freezer for future meals, but to give away to someone you know that needs a meal. Perhaps it’s someone sick, an elderly neighbor, a friend who has a crazy schedule and would love a home-cooked meal, or a single parent. Deliver it with a loaf of bread and a bag-o-salad from the market, and it’s a lovely and thoughtful (and I’m sure oh-so-welcome) treat! I remember when I was a single parent recovering from pneumonia, a woman from our church brought me a hot dinner from soup to dessert for my daughter and I – thinking about it still touches my heart. What a blessing that meal was from that angel in disguise. Imagine how something as simple as a bowl of soup given in heartfelt friendship mayn last in someone’s memory for years to come.
So exercise those culinary muscles, wild women, and stir up some divinely delicious soup for yourself, your family, and someone in need. It will leave a wonderful taste in everyone’s mouths!
SIMPLE BLACK BEAN SOUP
Serves 8 (vegetarian, gluten-free)
Cooking dried beans is low maintenance and a great value. Make sure to plan ahead and allow time for soaking the beans. Serve with hot sauce or salsa, if you like.
1 pound dried black beans (about 2 1/2 cups), rinsed
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
Soak the beans overnight or 6 to 8 hours prior to cooking. Drain and rinse.
In a large pot, bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in cumin and chipotle and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add drained beans and 10 cups water. Bring soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender. Remove 4 cups soup and carefully purée in a blender. Return purée to pot and stir in cilantro, nutritional yeast and lime juice. Spoon into bowls for serving and garnish with avocado.
Per serving: 120 calories (25 from fat), 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 7g protein