Friday, September 23, 2011

Spicy Bean and Veggie Soup

Today is officially the first day of fall, and despite summer’s attempt to spoil it with near triple digits (seriously, summer?), I am rejoicing the coming of leaf piles, scarves, umbrellas, and the smell of pumpkin pie. No longer will I have to longingly stare of my sweater collection, or burn my hands on the steering wheel after leaving my car in a parking lot for 2 milliseconds! So, in honor of this occasion, I made a spicy bean and veggie soup that is sure to keep you warm on the cooler days to come. 

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things I love about soup is how healthy and incredibly easy it is to store and reheat for leftovers. Not to mention the fact that it’s a great way to use up ingredients that are soon to spoil. I make soup at least once a week, so my husband and I will have healthy lunches to take with us, and am always sad when we run out. This one is one of my standbys, and if you like things spicy, then you are sure to love it.

Getting Started

The first thing you want to do is prepare you beans. Make sure to wash them well and look them over for things that shouldn’t be in there (rocks, etc), then either soak them over night (per package directions), or follow the “quick cook” method provided. You don’t need to cook them all the way, as they will finish in the crockpot (if you don’t have a crockpot, see below); you just want to make sure they have soaked properly. I usually do the quick cook method, because I never have the foresight to do it ahead of time, and just cook them for an hour before starting the soup.


While your beans are soaking/cooking, prepare the rest of the veggies. Dice the onion and celery, and sauté them in olive oil until translucent and tender. Add the garlic in at the end and cook for about another 30 seconds or until fragrant, then remove from heat and transfer to the crockpot. 

While the onions and celery are sautéing, chop the carrot, potatoes, and zucchini, and throw them into the crockpot with the veggie broth and whole tomatoes. Break apart the tomatoes by roughly chopping them, or you can do what I do and just break them apart with your hands. (Be careful, though! The tomatoes have a tendency to spray their juices all over your new shirt, which you really shouldn’t have worn in the kitchen anyway!) Finally, add in the beans (drain first), salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8. If you want your soup to be a little thicker, reserve some of the starchy water from soaking the beans and add it in as well.

Non Crockpot Method

If you don’t have a crockpot, never fear! Once your beans have finished soaking/cooking, just add in everything from above into the same pot that you cooked the beans in (as long as it’s big enough), and cook for 30-40 minutes or until potatoes and beans are tender. Just make sure to drain the beans first.

Wrapping it up

Although this soup is perfect for those fall and winter months, it’s also great the whole year round. The beans give it extra weight to keep you full, and the spicy cayenne adds warmth and flavor. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Ingredients

1/2 package 15 bean mix, about 1/2lb (discard any seasoning packets that come with it)
1 carrot, cut into bite size pieces
2 potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
2, 15oz cans vegetable broth (low sodium if you can find it)
1, 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes, broken apart
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil for sautéing
1-2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

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6 comments:

  1. Sounds and looks delicious.
    I like your new look!

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  2. Thanks, Joan! I'm still getting used to this whole blogger thing ;)

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  3. I'm doing the non crockpot method and just want to know what heat to put it on... says 30-40 minutes but how high? thanks

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  4. Hello Britstance! Bring it to a medium boil and you should be good! The temperature will depend on your stove, but mine is usually on medium-high. Hope this helps!

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