Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Soup by Many Names

My favorite soup is smiling at YOU!
I make a version of this pot of soup every couple of weeks and it always satisfies. Sometimes I call it Black Bean Soup (but it usually has pinto in it, too, so that seems biased toward the little guy). Other times, it's Chipotle or Southwest Soup. It could be called, "Not Really Chili" or you could just call it yummy. It's SO easy and delicious and the leftovers are perfect to pack for work lunches or school dinners and can be modified at home by adding all kinds of things to give a bowl a different taste or texture. Oh, and it's vegan (as long as you don't add the cheese), gluten free, and full of protein and fiber to keep you full.

Below you'll find the basic recipe and some options to dress it up if and when you are so inclined. Use this as a blueprint and get creative! Don't forget to leave a comment with your ideas for even more variations!

Ingredients
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tb canola oil (organic, non GMO)
1 can black or pinto beans, rinsed
1 can refried vegetarian black or pinto beans
1 can diced tomatoes (fire roasted, petite, or with green chilies or chipotle)
2 cans water or low sodium veggie broth
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
dash sea salt

Optional
1 sweet potato, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small zucchini or summer squach, diced
1 cup greens, chopped very small
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 bay leaf
1 cup tofu, cubed
partially blend with stick blender

Possible Garnishes
serve over brown rice
serve over quinoa
serve over crushed tortilla chips
top with dollop of Greek yogurt
top with dollop of guacamole
top with sliced avocado
top with shredded cheddar or jack cheese
garnish with fresh cilantro, chives, or green onions

Directions
Saute onion in oil over medium heat until soft. Add carrot and sweet potato/bell pepper if using. Saute a couple minutes then add the garlic and dried herbs and spices. Add the can of diced tomatoes and 2 cans of water/broth, beans, and rest of ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook 10-30 minutes, until carrots/sweet potato are tender and soup is heated through. You can blend partially with a stick blender or make a creamy homogeneous soup by blending it until it's smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate in pint-sized ball jars (fill them with warm soup and let them sit on the counter for 10 min before transferring to fridge and they will form an air-tight seal, extending shelf life) for up to a week.