Monday, June 29, 2009

Black Bean Soup

It is a total coincidence that I was already in the process of soaking my black (turtle) beans, when I happened across Meatless Monday's website and saw that black beans are a feature this week. If you are not vegan - or know someone who is not - I highly recommend that you try out Meatless Mondays - pledging to eat no meat at least that one day a week. It's a great way to do good for your health, the planet, and the animals... and might lead to not eating meat on other days of the week!

Anyway, check it out:

Meanwhile, over here in the vegan black bean corner... you'll need 1/2 a pound dried black beans. Place them in a bowl and cover with water to two inches above the beans, then let soak for at least 8 hours and up to overnight. Drain and set aside.

To make the soup, the original recipe cooked one chopped slice of bacon in its own fat. Since vegan bacon - I used the Smart Bacon from LightLife - does not of course produce its own fat, spray the bottom of a saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add one chopped slice of vegan bacon and cook for about 4 minutes until crisp. Remove the 'bacon' from the pan and set aside.

Add 1/2 cup chopped onion, 6 tablespoons chopped carrot and 6 tablespoons chopped celery to the pan, and saute 10 minutes. Add 1 minced garlic clove and half of a jalapeno pepper - seeded and minced; saute an additional 2 minutes.

Stir in the pre-soaked black beans, the 'bacon', 2 (14-ounce) cans of vegetable broth, and 1 and 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour and a half. Don't wander too far while it is simmering - I had my burner on about as low as the heat can go, but I still had to save the stovetop two times when my pot bubbled over!

Note: for the canned crushed tomatoes, you'll probably have to buy a standard 28-ounce can, but you'll only need half of that for this recipe. Save the other half for another use - like tossed with whole wheat pasta and herbs!

After an hour and a half, your beans should be nice and tender. Place 2 cups of the soup into a blender; let cool for about 5 minutes, then puree until smooth. Return to the unpureed soup still in the pan. Stir in 3 tablespoons minced cilantro, 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.

Ladle 1 cup of soup into each of 6 bowls, and dollop each serving with 1 tablespoon of vegan sour cream (such as Vegan Gourmet). This already feeds a crowd, but if you have an even bigger bunch of guests - say, for a summer weekend! - double the recipe and you'll have enough to serve 12. Each bowlful is 220 calories.

dried black beans $0.64
vegan bacon $3.39
carrot $0.20
celery $2.43
jalapeno $0.16
canned vegetable broth $2.98
canned crushed tomato $3.39
cilantro $1.69
lime $0.59

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance