Black beans are probably one of my all time favorite foods. A weird choice, I know, but I find them to be very versatile and add great nutritional content to a range of dishes. Roasting and stewing were my standard forms of cooking, though recently I attempted to make them into a soup and was delighted by the outcome.
This soup may not be the most photogenic, but it is very hearty, filling and super comforting on a cold winter night. Black beans and brown rice are the main components, with carrots, celery and onion being incorporated to make the soup base more flavorsome (without solely relying on stock). In the photo above it is served with some grilled cayenne-pepper corn kernels and fresh coriander; I will then usually add some tortilla chips and some fresh avocado to the mix aswell.
Rather than utilise jalapeno chillies in this recipe, I trialled using chipotles in adobo sauce as I was aiming for a rich, smokey flavor. Let’s just say, I’m never going back and I highly recommend purchasing a jar of this stuff as a pantry staple. The brand I used was nothing fancy – ‘La Costena’ from Woolworths – and it added a fantastic depth of flavor.
As noted in my Cauli-power Soup recipe, I am a huge fan of adding whole grains to my soups. Rather than being consumed as an entrée or a light-lunch, I aim for these soups to fill me up and act as a full meal; hence the brown rice addition, as it is such a valuable carbohydrate and fibre source.
Black Beans – a very healthy alternative to other protein rich foods (i.e. meats), they have a protein to fat ratio of 8:1 grams, with one cup providing 16g of protein. Furthermore, that same cup of beans will also provide you with 40g of carbohydrates and 14g of fibre, whilst also acting as a great source of folic acid which is a vital nutrient for cell rejuvenation.*It should be noted that a complete and balanced diet will need to be consumed as black beans do not contain all of the essential amino acids, hence it is not a complete protein.
Brown Rice – a great source of fibre, just half a cup of cooked brown rice will provide you with approximately 5-10% of your fibre RDI and will hence keep you feeling fuller for longer. Although it’s glycaemic index is not that much lower than that of white rice, due to the higher fibre content, not as much brown rice would typically be consumed per serve, resulting in an overall lower glycaemic load in comparison to white rice.
The below recipe will create four serves.
- 1 small red onion
- 2 celery ribs
- 3 small carrots – or one large
- 1.5 cans black beans – drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup brown rice
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2-3tsp chipotle in adobo sauce – to taste
- 2tsp ground cumin
- 3 cups of good quality vegetable stock
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dice the carrot(s), celery and onion, then add to a pot with a splash of olive oil. Cook until the vegetables are soft – around 10 minutes.
- Simultaneously, add the brown rice to a pot of boiling water and cook with the lid on until plump.
- Add the garlic, cumin and chipotle to the vegetable pot and stir through, then add the stock and black beans.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then cook on medium heat (simmer) for around 20-25 minutes, giving the beans a chance to absorb the flavours and soften. Add the cooked brown rice to the pot at the 10 minute mark.
- Carefully transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and blitz until desired consistency is reached.
- Add the fresh lime juice, salt and pepper, then blitz one more time to incorporate the flavors.
- Serve with grilled corn, tortilla chips, avocado, etc.