Monthly Archives: July 2014

Black Bean Soup

I love bean soups. They are flavorful, economical and versatile. This easy slow-cooker version has a fresh taste, thanks to the last-minute addition of salsa.

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Black Bean Soup

Yields 6 main course servings

1-medium onion, rough chopped
1-medium-size green bell pepper, rough chopped
12-ounce package baby carrots
1-large jalapeño, halved and seeded
6-garlic cloves
16-ounce package dried black beans
6-cups vegetable broth or water
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1-Tablespoon ground cumin
1-cup fresh salsa
Salt and pepper to taste

1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1/3 bundle of cilantro, chopped
Vegan sour cream, if desired
Fresh Salsa

Place onion, bell pepper, carrots, jalapeño and garlic into a food processor and process until nearly smooth. Transfer vegetable mixture into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add beans, broth or water, crushed tomatoes and cumin. Cover and cook on high until beans are very tender, about 3 hours.

Transfer half of the cooked beans to a food processor along with a little of the broth; process until smooth. Return purée to slow cooker and stir in salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve soup with lime wedges, cilantro, vegan sour cream and additional salsa as desired.

This soup is even better the next day, and freezes well.

Click here to learn my method for preserving leftover cilantro.

Freezing Cilantro

If you are like me and love cilantro, you purchase those wonderful bundles of fresh flavor often. Trouble is, I rarely use the entire bundle, and after about a week in the fridge, it takes on a rather unpleasant slimy appearance and has to be thrown out.

I have found an easy way to preserve leftover cilantro for future recipes and thought you might find this useful as well.

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When I use cilantro, I go ahead and wash and drain the entire bundle, cut off the ends of the stems and discard. Chop the remaining cilantro and set aside the portion needed for the recipe. Then place the leftover chopped cilantro in a couple of snack-sized baggies and add just enough water to cover. Seal the baggies and freeze. Then, next time I make soup, I can grab a baggie from the freezer, and pop the frozen cilantro right into the soup (the baggie will easily tear away from the frozen ice).

If you want to save the cilantro in smaller portions, you can place it in an ice-cube tray, cover with water, and once frozen, pop the cubes out and place them in a baggie in the freezer. Take out one or two cubes as needed.

I’ve never tried using the frozen cilantro in an uncooked recipe, but it is great for cooked dishes!

Spicy 3-Bean and Quinoa Soup

1 2/3 cup dried pinto beans
1 cup dried black beans
2/3 cup dried garbanzo beans
2 yellow onions, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic
6-8 cups vegetable broth or water
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp Tony’s Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1 can hominy, drained or 1 cup frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste

Cooked quinoa
Cilantro
Tortilla chips
Lime wedges

Rinse pinto, black and garbanzo beans well to remove any debris, then pour into a large pot of fresh water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat, cover and let sit for 1 hour. After an hour, drain water, rinse beans again and return to pot with enough water or vegetable broth to cover.  Add onions, garlic and spices and cook until beans are almost tender, about an hour. Add hominy and cook until beans are very tender, another 30 minutes to an hour. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
Ladle soup over quinoa in bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serve lime wedges and tortilla chips on the side.

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