Like anyone who prepares meals every night of the week, I don’t always have time to languish over a pot of soup. Some days, there’s just not time for all the chopping and dicing and stirring required. If you feel my pain, you’ll appreciate how fast this black bean soup comes together. Classic flavor reigns with the cilantro, red bell pepper, and cumin. Optional toppers, aside from the yogurt (or sour cream, if you’re so inclined), include some shredded pepper jack cheese, a dash of hot sauce to kick it up a notch, or some baked tortilla chips. My only qualm with the recipe was it didn’t make enough to put it to the “yesterday’s soup” test. We all know things like this taste even better the next day. But this one tasted pretty darn good the first day! Nonetheless, next time I’m going to double the batch to insure some leftovers.
Also, this soup is only a couple of substitutions away from being a perfectly acceptable vegetarian meal: swap out the chicken stock for veggie stock, and bulk it up with tofu or more beans. Personally, I’d go with the beans. Tofu is just…well. Tofu is just tofu. However you make this your own, you’re sure to enjoy!!
Easy Black Bean Soup (recipe adapted from: Cooking Light Superfast Suppers)
- 1/4 c onion, chopped
- 1/4 c red pepper, chopped
- 1 low-fat turkey kielbasa (Hillshire Farms), cut into pieces
- 1 15 oz can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 14 oz can fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 Tbsp basil/garlic/oregano flavored tomato paste
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp reduced -fat Greek yogurt (optional)
- 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Place non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and pepper; saute 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
- Add chopped sausage, beans, and chicken broth to onion mixture. Stir in tomato paste and cumin; bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 to 6 minutes or until soup is slightly thickened.
- Ladle soup into individual bowls; dollop each serving evenly with yogurt, and sprinkle with cilantro.
- Serve with home-made tortilla chips (optional).
I’m a big fan of the lentil – healthy, filling, packed with protein, full of iron and budget-friendly. I’m also a big fan of soup. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that I love lentils in soup! Not to disparage beans, which I also love, but you can whip together a soup containing lentils in a matter of an hour, or so. Beans require forethought…something I don’t always exercise.
Friday night the kiddo had gymnastics until 5 p.m., which doesn’t leave a lot of time to get home and start cooking. So earlier in the day I threw this soup together on a whim after finding the recipe on Twitter. Of course the lentils caught my attention first, but we’re heavy into citrus season in these parts and lemons are plentiful. Also, the list of ingredients was really short and all stock pantry items so there was no need for a last-minute scramble to the grocery store for obscure items.
The soup goes together really fast, so to enhance the flavors of the spices they’re dry-fried ahead of time. This method gives them a fuller, headier flavor I don’t think you would experience if you stirred them in straight for the jar. The citrus is fresh and crisp, and a nice compliment to the warm, spiciness of cumin and coriander. I served this with some chopped, fresh cilantro from our garden and it was absolutely delicious. For a recipe tossed together on a whim, it turned out to be delightfully pleasing and I’ll definitely be making it, again, in my regular rotation of meatless meals. Enjoy!
Spiced Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 c low-sodium, organic chicken stock
- 1 1/4 c yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 c Red Lentils, rinsed and picked through
- juice of 1 lemon
- chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)
- Rinse and drain lentils; set aside.
- Heat heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat, reducing heat to medium. Toss in onion and stir frequently for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes, or so, stirring frequently.
- Add lentils and cook for 2 minutes more, until well combined with onion and garlic, then stir in chicken stock. Bring liquid to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are softened.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Place the cumin and coriander into the pan and dry-fry for 2 minutes. Do not let the spices scorch. Add to soup mixture along with juice of one whole lemon. Stir together and let simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Transfer to serving bowls, salt and pepper to taste, and top with chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional).
***Cook’s Notes: Similar recipes have you remove and puree half the soup, then return it to the pot. This is obviously a textural issue. I didn’t do that. Honestly, I liked the texture of the softened, whole lentils. It gave the soup a more rustic, heartier quality. Blend or don’t blend, that’s up to you. Also, although this is photographed with parsley, I served it with chopped cilantro, which I much prefer. It was excellent. Again, it’s a matter of preference. You can easily make this soup vegetarian/vegan by choosing vegetable stock over the chicken. I’m a proud omnivore and much prefer the depth of flavor in a chicken stock. Choose low-sodium, organic stock if you can.