Well, after three weeks of posting other people’s recipes, I’m back with one of my own. It was a lot of fun cooking dishes that had already gone through the testing process and learning more about cooking in general (and slow-cooking in particular) from three expert cooks. In the process of posting the reviews and reading your feedback, I learned some very surprising things, not just of the cooking variety (like baby limas taste great in guacamole–who knew?!), but about you, the readers of this blog.
My last review, of Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, was especially enlightening because I had no idea that so many near-vegans, non-vegans, and not-even-close-to-vegans were reading my blog. I’m thrilled to have you here! Wherever you are in your eating choices, whether you feel you’re on a path toward veganism or are simply trying to eat fewer animal products, I’m glad you’re interested in vegan cooking and I’m happy that you’ve chosen to get your recipes from this site. It makes me think I should do some “Vegan 101“-type posts. Anyone interested? (I’m considering one called “WTF is Nutritional Yeast?” which is a comment I received on Facebook recently.)
On to the recipe: Fall is finally starting to arrive here in the South, or maybe it’s just the idea of fall that comes when you look at October on your calendar and see in your mind’s eye yellow leaves whirling in a chilly breeze and, if your mind’s eye somehow has the sense of smell, the distant aroma of chimney smoke. Though in real life there’s been none of that here in Mississippi (the first truly chilly temps are supposed to arrive tonight), I’ve been content to imagine that it’s fall and to eat accordingly. Suddenly the huge salads I’d been eating for lunch are just not appetizing, and though it could be 85 degrees at noon, I’ve been drawn toward soups. With this soup, I’ve tried to combine the best of both worlds–all the fresh vegetables of a salad with the warmth and comfort of a bowl of soup. I’ve even added chopped lettuce at the end so that it’s close to salad in a soup. It’s a great one-pot meal (if you eat two bowls of it) that contains the colors of fall.
Eat the Rainbow Black Bean Soup
When you add greens to hot soup, they instantly wilt and practically disappear. So though I started with 4 cups of lettuce, each time I served this soup I wound up adding more lettuce or spinach to each bowl. Feel free to add as much as you like. Call the kids over so that they can watch as the soup absorbs ridiculous amounts of greenery.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and finely diced (add more or less to taste)
- 1 yellow or red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small red cabbage, chopped (or 1/2 large cabbage)
- 6 ounces mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cans (or 3 cups) cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano (or regular oregano)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (or for smokiness without heat use smoked paprika)
- 1 tablespoon regular chili powder
- generous grating of black pepper
- 1 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 5 cups vegetable broth (or water plus 2 servings bouillon)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups chopped lettuce or spinach
- salt to taste (optional)
- In a large pot or pressure cooker, saute the onions until they soften. Add the peppers and carrots and cook for another two minutes. Add the garlic and remaining vegetables and cook for another two minutes.
- For regular cooking: Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, adding additional water or vegetable broth as needed to keep a soupy consistency. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt.
- For pressure cooking: Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, remove from heat, and allow pressure to come down naturally. (If pressure is not down after 15 minutes, use a quick-release method.) Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt.
- For slow cooking: Place sauteed vegetables and all remaining ingredients EXCEPT lettuce and salt into slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-6 hours. Just before serving, stir in the lettuce and salt and add additional seasonings, if necessary.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Nutrition (per serving): 169 calories, 9 calories from fat, 1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 653.2mg sodium, 638.8mg potassium, 31.9g carbohydrates, 10.7g fiber, 4.9g sugar, 10.7g protein, 5 points.