Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anthocyanins are plant pigments widespread in nature. They play relevant roles in plant propagation and ecophysiology and plant defense mechanisms and are responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).

Being the antioxidant chemical that it is, anthocyanins help to fight free radicals in the body, and is an anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer plant-based compound.

Medical research with anthocyanins, have found that the compound may protect against obesity. Medical study’s have noted that mice fed an anthocyanin-enriched high-fat diet for eight weeks gained less weight than mice fed a high-fat diet without anthocyanins.

The reason for less weight gain in the mice fed a diet high in foods containing anthocyanins, is the fiber content as well. When eating foods high in fiber, the food eaten benefits the body more in respects to nutrition, rather then turning it to fat storage in the body.

Fruits and vegetables are not the only food source containing anthocyanins, as legumes or beans also contain this natural plant compound, and are also high in fiber (Read More Here About Legumes: The Health Benefits Of Beans).

Enough of the science lesson, now for our featured recipe: Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup, and here is what you will need.

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced fine

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

4 cups chicken stock

Radishes, avocado, and cilantro for garnishing (optional)

cooking onions and sweet potatoes in a sauce panIn large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat, and cook onion, garlic, salt, chili pepper, and sweet potatoes, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until mixture smells fragrant.  

bring soup to a boilAdd chicken stock, and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook another 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

mixing ingredients with chicken broth in a large sauce potNext add the black beans, and stir in, cooking another 5 minutes.

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Unexpected Chedder CheeseLadle into soup bowls and top with radish slices, diced avocado, fresh cilantro, and shredded cheese.

We used a cheese exclusive to Trader Joe’s. One day they were giving out cheese and wine samples. The cheese sample include the “Unexpected.” You red right, the Unexpected.

The store clerk explained to me, that the cheese manufactures made a mistake in processing this cheese.

But Joe said keep making it, and we will purchase it, and so it is. The cheese taste great. As the package describes, it is a Cheddar with hints of Parmesan.

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Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Maybe we are being to fancy with naming the recipe. The idea did start with our visit to My Yellow Farmhouse, no not my farmhouse but Cecile’s yellow farmhouse. Well actually her blog ( My Yellow Farmhouse).

She has a wonderful soup recipe, “Slightly-Spicy Three Bean, Tomato and Kale Soup.” We had some kale on hand, went to the Whole Foods Market for a few more things, arrived home and started cooking.

In Cecile’s soup she used Italian seasonings, and a can of crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs. She stated she liked to use Contadina.

But we decided to change things up a bit. We used some unprecedented spices in our soup, well at least I personally have not seen it done before. The spices we used, are used in Moroccan recipes as well as North African dishes.

The spices are a mix of organic spices and they include, Coriander, Cinnamon, Cumin, Lavender, Fennel, Pepper, Cayenne, Cloves, and Cardamon. We also used a can of fire roasted tomatoes.

Thanks to Cecile and My Yellow Farmhouse for the soup idea, and here is what we did and what you will need.

3/4 cup chopped mini-sweet peppers, red, yellow, and orange

3/4 cup chopped red onion

2 Tbs. olive oil

rinsing the beans2 large cloves garlic, minced

3 cups baby kale leaves, chopped

1 can – 15.5 ounce kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can – 15.5 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can – 15.5 ounces garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed

1 32 ounce container free range chicken broth, low salt

1 can – 28 ounces fire roasted tomatoes, with no added spices or herbs

2 tablespoons Ras El Hanout (find this at Whole Foods in the Spice and Herbs section for $2.79 as of 2015)

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

sauteing the onion and sweet peppersPlace a  6 to 8 quart soup pot over medium heat and add oil. Allow to warm, add onions, and sweet peppers and saute about 5 minutes. Next add garlic and continue to saute.

add the fire roasted tomatoesOnce you smell the garlic, stop sauteing and add the beans, broth and tomatoes, and mix until well incorporated.

adding the spicesNext add the spice, and salt. Mix in. Let simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup in a soup potYou can either add the kale while simmering, or wait after 20 minutes then add the kale stir in wait 5 minutes and serve. The leaves will cook a little, but there will be more color to the presentation of the soup.

This soup, like any sauces and salsas, taste better after 24 to 48 hours, giving time for the spices to be absorbed into the finished product.

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup - close up

How ever you chose to finish the soup, once done, ladle into a soup bowl and enjoy.

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Smoked Turkey, Black Bean, Bell Pepper and Corn Salad

Smoked Turkey, Black Bean, Bell Pepper and Corn Salad

This is an easy dinner idea in just 20 minutes. It is one of my “Salad as a Main Course” recipe because of mixing a meat with the leafy greens and other vegetables.

This meal is packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.

This salad contains…

.52 g of protein

.13 g of total fat

.73 g of carbohydrates

.3 g of fiber

.41 g of natural sugars

It is low in salt, high in fiber, and cholesterol-free.

All of this in just one cup of what is in this meal: Arugula. The flavor of Arugula is peppery and  pungent. The salad also includes mint, lemon juice, orange bell pepper and all the rest that is in this fast and simple meal idea…you can’t go wrong with preparing and eating it.

Recipe:

Smoked Turkey, Black Bean, Bell Pepper and Corn Salad

3 cups (about 3/4 pound) diced, cooked smoked turkey breast

1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup diced bell peppers (any colors)

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

3 cups arugula

Dressing

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (plus leaves for garnish)

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup tomato juice

2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sherry (or balsamic) vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine turkey, beans, corn, tomatoes, bell peppers and onion in a bowl. Whisk all dressing ingredients in another bowl. Add dressing to turkey mixture and toss to combine. Divide arugula among 4 plates and top with turkey salad.

For more information about how food correlates to a healthy you visit: Health News Library

 

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Traditional Mexican Sopes

Traditional Mexican sope header

The traditional sope is a recipe from Mexico. Through out Mexico (depending on the reign) sopes are prepared, using local ingredients and adding salsas and toppings, resulting in great regional variety.

The distinctive characteristic of the sope is the pinched sides. Though there are also flat sopes resembling a thick tortilla or a tostada. The most common variation of the sope involves simply adding meat, the most common being chicken and is known as the  “sope de pollo”. In the northern regions of Mexico, sopes are often prepared without vegetables, and substituting meat for black beans.

Here is our version of the Traditional Mexican Sope and what you will need:

For the base you will need

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

2 cup masa (corn) flour (you can find this in the Latin section of your market or a local Latin Market)

1 cup warm water

kneading flour, corn masa and water together

Place flour and masa in large bowl, and mix together. Make a well in center of flour mix and gradually add water, kneading until smooth.

Form dough into small balls

Form dough into 16 small balls.

mexican tortilla press

With a Mexican tortilla press, place one ball of dough at a time between two pieces of waxed paper and press into 3-inch round patty. If you don’t have a press, use a pie pin roller, placing one ball of dough at a time between two pieces of waxed paper, rolling pie pin over ball into a 3-inch round patty.

cooking sopes in avocado oil

Next, add oil to a large skillet over medium-high and heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Cook patties for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown, adding additional oil as needed to prevent sticking.

pinching sides of sopes

Allow sopes to cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Next place fingers of both hands on patty, with fingers on the patty and the thumbs on the edge. With a circular motion, pinch the edges of the patty up ¼ inch.

 

Now for the toppings:

1 (16-ounce) can black beans, warmed

1/8 cup avocado oil

8 oz. mild salsa

2 cups shredded green lettuce or dark greens

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced

1 cup sour cream

1 cup crumbled Mexican Cotija cheese

smashing black beans

Place black beans in a heated medium skillet. Heat beans thoroughly. Place heated beans into a large bowl and while hot smash beans with a potato smasher or equivalent.

traditional topping for Mexican Sopes

Prepare the other toppings according to ingredient, amount and preparation above. The image shows a bowl of radishes. I just love to eat radishes with my Mexican meals. when I lived in Mexico, I always bought hand tacos at local taco stands. While you were waiting you could munch on prepared vegetables they had sitting out, and radishes was one of them.

Top each sope  first with black beans

Now, top each sope with black beans.

Traditional Mexican Sopes

Add the other toppings in this order: lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, salsa, Cotija, avocado slice, and more salsa if desired.  ! Buen Provecho! That’s Spanish for Enjoy!

 

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