Recently, I shared my health- and budget-conscious adventures in the homemade soup and stew oeuvre. Continuing in that vein, on this week’s menu I’m serving Sopa negra de Frijol, or Black Bean Soup.
Without getting into the numbers too deeply, trust me when I tell you that, while all beans are great for you, black beans are the superheroes of the Legume Justice League. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, these little ebony beauties provide virtually fat-free, high-quality protein. (And let’s face it – we could all use a little extra fat-free, high-quality protein, in our diets, no?)
They’re also a great source of cholesterol-lowering fiber – fiber that also prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypoglycemia.
Gram for gram, black beans have the most antioxidant activity of the bean bunch. Overall, the level of antioxidants found in black beans is approximately 10 times that found in an equivalent amount of oranges, and comparable to that found in an equivalent amount of grapes or cranberries.
So lower your cholesterol, your weight, and your heart attack risk today – eat more beans!
Here’s a tasty way to do it:
Sopa negra de Frijol
- 2 T. olive oil
- 6 c. black beans, undrained
- 3 c. of chicken broth
- 2 14½ oz. stewed tomatoes
- 1 large chopped onion
- ½ c. green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ c. red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ c. carrots, chopped
- 14 oz. kielbasa (slice the sausage length-wise, then into ¼” slices)
- 1 T. crushed garlic
- 2 t. cayenne pepper
- Sauté the vegetables in the oil until tender, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes).
- Place 1 cup of the beans in a blender and whirl until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan.
- Add the remaining beans, broth, tomatoes, vegetables, sausage, garlic, and cayenne pepper (basically, everything that’s left); stir until well blended.
- Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 min.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of sliced green onions or red pepper flakes.
- If you choose to go the cook-your-own-from-dried bean route (as do I), a pound of dried black beans will net a little over the required six cups (toss the whole lot in – it won’t disturb the balance one bit); if you’re more of the canned bean type, three cans should be just right.
- Stewed tomatoes come in all sorts of flavors; for the batch pictured, I used the ones flavored with green pepper and onion. Chili- or jalapeño-flavored tomatoes would also make for a nice kick.
- I use the 2/3 less fat turkey kielbasa – I can’t tell the difference between it and the artery clogging stuff.
To quote my own parting words in my previous post, Stew-pendous:
“…don’t worry about measuring too carefully, put a little more of this or that in if you like this or that, and just lay off the salt until the very end.”
Fire up the stove!