By Case D. Fischer
So you’ve done the endless hours of grocery shopping, and you’re fully stocked. Now what? Looking in your pantry you know one thing’s for certain: you have canned goods to last you a decade. Canned goods are the #1 go to for non-perishables. Frozen items are great too, but there are more varieties of canned (and boxed) food items on the grocery store shelves.
Luckily, this recipe is focused ALL on canned goods. No need to rummage through your shelves lost and confused about what to make, we have a great hearty Black Bean Soup recipe for you. Black beans have been used in so many ways for hundreds of years by numerous countries. They are found in almost every dish specifically in Central and South America. That’s over 19 countries using these beans in their own unique ways for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But there are three main countries whose traditional uses of black beans have been imitated, customized, and popularized in American restaurants.
In Brazil, their national dish, Feijoada is a black bean stew containing smoky flavors, meat, and vegetables stewed together over a bed of white rice. Cuba has their own ways of customizing black beans as either a side dish or in a pureed soup. Both methods use these main ingredients that distinguish its taste from any other country: vinegar, sugar, and their infamous “sofrito” (a thick blend of spices, peppers, and herbs). Lastly: Mexico. We commonly know their use of black beans as a side dish-although they can be found cooked whole and tossed into burritos. Otherwise, black beans are refried on the sides of enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas.
Black bean soup can be a lot for one person-even two, but the great thing about this soup is that it’s freezer friendly. So, while you’re stocked up on items in your pantry, stock up on meals for your freezer as well. This soup can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Take it out, let it defrost, pop it in the microwave, and eat. Or you can keep it in your fridge for up to 7 days. We encourage all of our readers to follow these freezer friendly meals and store them for a later date. Who knows, you may feel the need for a hot Mexican dish in a couple of months.
Like many vegetables, black beans can be fried, roasted, sauteed, and pureed. Thankfully, today we won’t take you through the tedious process of using the uncooked beans for this recipe. We’ll be using pre-cooked canned black beans. This is the easiest way to use black beans and get the exact same results as authentic Mexican food! These beans come cooked, canned, and ready to sit on your shelf for over a year. So grab those black beans that you’ve been staring at in your pantry-and let’s get cooking!
3 15 oz cans black beans drained & rinsed
1- 15oz can lentils drained & rinsed
1- 15oz can corn drained & rinsed
4oz diced green chile peppers
3-3 ½ cups vegetable broth
½ red onion
½ red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 large russet potato cubed
1 medium carrot cubed
⅔ cup cilantro
2 tbsp avocado oil (or any neutral oil like vegetable, olive, canola)
Mexican seasoning blend:
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp cumin powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
*For a list of ingredients using 100& non-perishables: 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp red pepper powder, frozen carrots can be thrown right in (no defrosting necessary), 2 tbsp cilantro flakes seasoning, for Mexican seasonings you can buy a premade Mexican blend/spice packet at your local grocery store
**For a super save on time & money, Substitute: chopped jalapeños, tomato paste, and garlic for your favorite jarred salsa – we like Fischer & Wieser’s Salsa a la Charra
***Add sausage, fresh and browned or already cured like Opa’s Sausage, to bump up the hearty factor
1. Pour 2 tbsp of avocado oil (or any neutral oil substitute) into a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Pour diced onions, red bell peppers, and jalapeños into the pan and stir until caramelized. Add in your garlic.
2. Add in carrots and potatoes along with 2 tbsp of tomato paste and mix all vegetables thoroughly until coated. (If using canned salsa, add this in now)
3. After about 1 minute. Add in the vegetable broth. Depending on the size of your pot, the measurements for the liquid may vary. The goal is to make sure the potatoes and carrots are covered right at their tips. Mix the vegetables thoroughly.
4. Add in your Mexican seasoning blend. After the spices are evenly mixed, reduce the heat to LOW and cover the pot with the lid for 25-30 minutes.
5. After 25-30 minutes, check the soup. Poke through a few potatoes with a fork. The fork should easily slide through-while maintaining the diced shape they were cut in. If the fork does not easily go through; you may need to let it sit on low heat for 8-10 more minutes. (Be careful not to leave the soup on the stove for too long, the goal is to prevent the potatoes from losing their cubed shape)
6. Add in one can of lentils, and 3 cans of black beans. Stir the mixture evenly.
7. Let the mixture sit on low heat for 20 minutes.
8. After 20 minutes, serve and top with fresh cilantro!
Other toppings ideas: sliced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, or tortilla strips. This makes for a healthy and visibly pleasing dish that’s loaded with protein and FIBER (a ½ cup serving of black beans on their own provides you with 32-40% of your daily recommended intake)! Take a look through your pantry again, and see if you can spot any other canned goods that are also pantry staples in other cultures around the world.