Black Bean Soup

Can an entire winter pass by, without me posting a new soup recipe?
No! It simply not possible!

The soup in question is definitely not a new one. It has been made innumerable and thoroughly loved every single time. Utter the word 'Beans' and watch Sid's little (and mine too..) face light up. We are some serious Bean addicts here!

While Sid is a little partial towards the red variety, mainly because of its vibrant color, the earthy nuttiness of black beans entices me more. Ever since Costco has started stocking up BPA free liners, Organic and Low Sodium, canned beans (black, kidney and garbanzo), we are in bean(y) heaven.

This cozy and colorful soup comes together pretty quickly, thanks to the canned beans. The recipe is very similar to my Chicken and Read Bean Soup, except it's a vegetarian version and without tomatoes. Now, I have nothing against tomatoes. I love them! Its just when I first made them, I was out of tomatoes and the soup tasted so fantastic, the recipe stuck with me. I love using bell peppers in variety of colors for this soup. Now only it makes the soup pretty but imparts a subtle sweetness to it.

Like any other bean based soup, the toppings matters the most. While Sid is happy to guzzle down a big bowl with just a smattering of shredded cheese, I prefer mine with some texture. I love the crunch from the onions and bell peppers and the creaminess that the Greek yogurt and the avocados provide.

A hearty, comforting, nourishing soup with few pantry staple ingredients and warm spices that is sure to warm you up on a cold and gloomy winter evening. Be sure to make a big batch, the leftovers are even better!

Recipe Snapshot: Black Bean Soup
Serves: 3 - 4 serving

(1 serving = 1 cup)

What I used:
Black Beans - 2 cans (15.25 oz), drained and rinsed well

Garlic - 4 fat cloves, finely minced

Onion - 1 medium sized, diced (I used Red Onion)

Bell Peppers (any Color) - 2, medium sized, diced (I used 1 Red and 1 Green ones)

Cumin Powder - 2 tsp

Smoked Paprika - 1 tsp

Red Chili Powder/Cayenne/Paprika - 1 tsp

Vegetable Stock (or Chicken Stock) - 4 cups

Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon

Salt to taste

What I did:
1. Heat a Dutch Oven or a big soup pot over medium high heat.

2. Add the oil and let it shimmer.

3. Add the minced garlic and saute till fragrant but not brown.

4. Tip in the diced onions, and the bell peppers, and saute till the onions are slightly soft.

5. It's time for the black beans. Add the drained and thoroughly rinsed black bean and give it a good mix.

6. Add in the spices - cumin powder, smoked paprika, red chili powder (or paprika or even cayenne) and salt and give everything a good mix.

7. Add the vegetable stock (or chicken stock, if you prefer) and let it come to a boil.

8. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

9. The soup is almost done. Do a taste check and adjust the salt accordingly. Add more stock or water, if the soup feels too thick. Or let some more liquid evaporate, if you feel it is too watery.

10. Serve hot with variety of toppings like, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), avocados, lots of chopped cilantro, chopped bell peppers (in varied colors) and a generous squeeze of lime.

Diabetic Platter:
We tend to think about brightly colored fruits and vegetables as our best source of phytonutrients, but recent research has recognized black beans as a strong contender in phytonutrient benefits. The seed coat of the black bean is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. These three anthocyanins are primarily responsible for the rich black color that we see on the bean surface. Kaempferol and quercetin are additional flavonoids provided by this legume. Also contained in black beans are hydroxycinnamic acids including ferulic, sinapic, and chlorogenic acid, as well as numerous triterpenoids.

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