Healthy Black Bean Soup

Happy almost-December!  I have had a whirlwind of a few weeks. I had my nearest and dearest friends visiting from Toronto, which meant four days of dining out, walking the seawall, and drinking wine. I always find spending time with those who know you best really replenishes my soul, don’t you? The following week I hosted a Harry Potter movie marathon, complete with Hogwarts-themed décor, and festive food. It was a total blast!  Ten of us snuggled up in my living room, watching Harry, Ron, and Hermione on their various magical adventures. All with the fire crackling and the rain pouring outside the window.

Speaking of getting cozy, I’d like to introduce my latest soup – black bean! I love making soups in the winter (who doesn’t?), and I find beans make a perfect addition. This soup not only features beans, but has them front and center. It’s thick, filling, and has a kick of spice. And I’ve got stovetop and Instant Pot versions for you. Bonus: it’s vegan and gluten free! Enjoy! And stay cozy!

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

2 carrots, grated

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced

2 cups black beans, rinsed well and picked over

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (canned, fire-roasted diced tomatoes would be great here too)

2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

12 cracks of freshly ground pepper

1 medium-size red bell pepper, diced

1 medium-size green bell pepper, diced

Juice of one lime

½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped

To serve: Sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips

Directions

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven, or using the sauté function on your Instant Pot. When oil is shimmery, add onions and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and just beginning to brown. Add garlic, chipotle pepper, and cumin and sauté until fragrant, about one minute.

Add dried beans, vegetable stock, water, tomatoes, salt and pepper.

For stovetop: turn heat down to low, partially cover, and simmer for two to three hours, until beans are tender. You may add more water if the soup starts to look a little dry.

For the Instant Pot: place lid on your pot and cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Allow for 20 minutes of natural pressure release, and then vent the steam.

Using an immersion blender, or a standing blender working in batches, puree the soup to desired consistency. You can also mash the beans with the back of your spoon if you like a chunkier soup. Then add the diced bell pepper back to your soup, and simmer over medium-low heat on the stovetop, or on low heat on the sauté function in the Instant Pot until the pepper is soft, about 15 minutes. (I cook the peppers at the end so they don’t get too mushy.)

Stir in the lime juice and cilantro, and taste and season your soup. Serve topped with sour cream, avocado, and tortilla chips. This would also be great with some crumbled goat cheese on top.