Lately we've had a lot of cool, damp weather, and I've been craving stews and soups. I could live on soups and stews this time of year. I just can't seem to get enough. Something that is fairly easy to make and so very warming. This Black Bean Soup is a popular one at our house. Sometimes people ask how can you possibly get enough protein being vegetarian? Well soups like this are a powerhouse of protein!
Have you tried quinoa? It's an amazing little whole grain. Well actually it's officially a seed not even a grain. Dr. Weil says quinoa is high in magnesium which helps relax blood vessels, resulting in fewer headaches for migraine sufferers and decreased risk of hypertension and stroke. It is also a good source of manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2 and other essential minerals, and has the highest protein content of any grain. It is especially high in lysine, an amino acid that is typically low in other grains. Quinoa's protein is complete, containing all nine essential amino acids - a rarity in the plant kingdom. Quinoa is gluten-free and easy to digest: a must-add to your culinary repertoire.
Quinoa also makes great baby cereal. For small babies grind the quinoa in blender before cooking and then cook with appropriate amounts of water. Typically it's 1/4 cup of dry grain to 1 cup of water for making a baby cereal. For a little bit bigger baby, cook quinoa according to directions and then serve like you would oatmeal, with some extra add-ins. I used to add avocados, pureed greens, homemade applesauce, or anything thing else creative that I had available.
This soup can be a great soup for a baby that has already been introduced to the foods in the recipe. It's mostly pureed so easy to eat and not a lot of chewing. Great way to introduce some spice and multiple flavors to those kiddos. It's great for adults alike. I love this soup.
Black Bean Quinoa Soup
2 TBS Olive Oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups cooked black beans (or 2 15-ounce cans)
3 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup finely chopped kale (or other leafy green of choice)
1-1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa (the more you add the thicker it becomes)
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers. Cook until onions are lightly golden. Add garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the broth and 3 cups of beans and bring to a boil. Add kale. Reduce the heat and simmer until flavors blend, approximately 10 minutes.
Puree mixture in blender and return to pot. Add the remaining 1 cup of beans and quinoa. Simmer for several minutes to heat through.
Top with fresh cilantro and avocado. I've also added some fun new vegan cheese that I've been making that I will post on the Pint Sized Foodies Facebook Page real soon.
Might also be paired nicely with some vegan cornbread muffins. These are a hit every time I make them. I usually adapt the flour to a gluten-free mix of flours, the milk to almond milk, and the sugar to sucanat. But really you can play and adapt as needed. They really are amazing!