I know what you are thinking, who makes hot soup in the summer? I do! Especially if I can use my slow cooker and not heat up the kitchen any more than it already is. A bowl of soup goes perfect with a salad for a nice light summer dinner on the deck.
Here is what I love about black bean soup—you can make it hearty in the fall and winter by serving over brown rice and roasted butternut squash or sweet potato or you can make it light in the summer by adding a refreshing dollop of homemade guacamole, vegan sour cream and serving with tortilla chips.
Either way, this soup has a little kick—not enough to scare people off, but enough to bring out all the other Cuban flavors. If you like a lot of kick I would add another jalapeno and 1/2 tsp. of ancho chilli powder.
I always prefer to use dried beans over canned beans. For this soup, you could certainly use canned beans and skip the step of soaking your beans. I like to soak my dried beans over-night. Soaking helps to cut down on the cooking time and causes your beans to cook more evenly. And here's a secret, it also reduces the bloating and gasiness beans tend to create in our digestive systems by breaking down the sugars in the beans. And while we are on that subject, black beans are full of fiber and will help you get regular. Ok, enough of all that!
Another thing I love about this soup is how easy it is. No cooking or baking—just throw it all in a crock pot, set it for 6 hours and then go about your day. Yes, you have to remember to soak the beans the night before. And yes you have to go through the trouble of blending it in the end, but that seriously takes less than 10 minutes and this soup is so worth it.
This soup is also very healthy with no fat, and is low in calories and high in protein and fiber. I just use water as my liquid so you don't have to worry about what type of stock to use and all the added salt and preservatives in store-bought stock. And did I mention how cheap this is to make? I would guess you have maybe $6-$7 of ingredients in here. Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive.
Time: Overnight soaking + 20 minutes prep + 6 hours in slow cooker + 10 minutes to blend
1 16 oz. bag (1 lb.) of dried black beans
1 sweet onion, diced
1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced
1 c. carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/3 c. sun dried tomatoes (not in oil; I like Bella Sun Luci’s with zesty peppers for this)
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. course ground pepper
1 tbsp. ground cumin
6 c. water
Soak dried beans on the counter overnight by placing in a medium bowl and filling with enough water to cover by 2 inches.
The next morning, drain and rinse soaked beans and add to your slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Place slow cooker on 6 hour setting and start.
When done, ladle the soup into your Vitamix in batches, making sure not to fill more than 2/3 full to account for expansion of the hot soup. (Or use an immersion blender right in your slow cooker.) Blend each batch for about 10 seconds, a short enough time to still leave some chunks. Return blended soup to slow cooker and keep warm until time to serve.
Serve with a dollop of guacamole or vegan sour cream and tortilla chips.
Nutritional Estimations: Calories 149. Total Fat 0 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 620 mg. Potassium 232 mg. Total Carbs 43 g. Fiber 25 g. Sugars 6 g. Protein 15 g. Vitamin A 68%. Vitamin C 46%. Calcium 14%. Iron 28%.
I hope you fall in love with this Healthy Cuban Black Bean Soup. Make sure you try it in the summer with fresh avocados, tomatoes and even some diced up mango and then again in the fall with brown rice and roast sweet potatoes. Let me know your favorite way to eat it!