Friday recipe: black bean soup

Last Saturday many Iowans were like solar panels, spending as much time outside as possible to soak up the balmy weather and kind sunshine. Several Iowa towns hit record-hit temperatures on that date.

Oh, my, what a difference 24 hours makes. On Sunday, we were all shivering under wind-whipped, rain-splattered skies, grateful that most of us could opt to stay indoors, in flannel and with the heat on. Daily low temperatures since have been below freezing.

With summer an increasingly distant memory (remember all those 100-plus-degree days?) and fall feeling like it’s preparing to depart, hot soup becomes a great staple at the supper table. Most ingredients in versions like the one below can be kept on hand for quick assembly after a long day. Or make a big batch to freeze and enjoy as leftovers.

Black bean soup

  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 (16-ounce) cans black beans, undrained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 (14 ½-ounce) can vegetable or chicken broth
  • 3 cups medium or hot chunky salsa
  • Juice and grated peel of 1 lime
  • ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt, fat-free sour cream or Parmesan (optional)
  • Baked tortillas or baked blue corn chips (optional)

Cook onion, garlic and spices in oil in a 4-quart sauce pot over medium heat until onion is tender, about 3 minutes; remove from heat. Puree the cans of beans and their liquid in batches with vegetable or chicken broth in electric blender; add to pot. Stir in salsa, lime juice and peel.

Heat mixture to boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Ladle 1 cup soup into bowl; top with dollop of yogurt, sour cream or Parmesan cheese, if desired, with tortillas or chips sprinkled on top or on the side. Serve hot. Makes 10 (1-cup) servings.

Nutritional info: calories: 152; fat: 2.5g; fiber: 7.5g

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