Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

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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.

What Others Are Reading:

Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Fresh sage has high antioxidant abilities, and you don’t want to miss out. Because it can help protect your body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals, which most often results in cell death, impaired immunity, and chronic disease (Link here to consider: Helping Your Immune System Function Smarter).

Medical studies using sage extract with Alzheimer suffers, showed an improvement in cognition as well as less agitation compared to the placebo group. Other studies have reported that sage can improve memory in young, healthy adults also.

Another medical study using forty volunteers who had diabetes and high cholesterol. The patients were given sage leaf extract for 3 months, and at the finish of the study, the participants had lower fasting glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL (bad cholesterol), and the HDL (good cholesterol) had risen.

Sage, as well as many other herbs, has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antimicrobial effects.

Those are just some of the great reasons to enjoy making: Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon, which involves fresh sage. This meal cooks in about 30 to 40 minutes.

Here is what you will need:

2 cups butternut squash (about a 1 3/4 pound squash), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

gluten free penne rigate12 oz. Penne Rigate, gluten-free pasta (our favorite brand to use is Jovial – bought at Whole Foods Market)

4 to 5 thick sliced Apple Wood smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 shallots, thinly sliced

12 fresh sage leaves, torn

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

black pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese, plus more for serving

In a pot of boiling water, cook the gluten free pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and rinse, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Most Jovial pasta instructions do not say to rinse, but we do, so the pasta will not stick, while it sits waiting to be used.

roasting butternut squash on the BBQ

Now you can roast the butternut squash coated with olive oil in a preheated 425 degree oven (that’s great for colder weather) or you can do what we did and roast the diced squash coated with olive oil (1 tablespoon) on a hot BBQ grill using a BBQ basket. Just add the squash to the basket and close the lid for about 15 minutes or until the squash is browned and tender (but not to soft or mushy).

roasted butternut squash

When butternut squash is brown and tender, remove and set aside.

adding fresh sage

Heat on the grill remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ceramic coated skillet (or skillet of your choice), and add the smoked bacon and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Next add the shallots, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of black pepper and mix in. Next add the sage, mix in and cook until the shallots are soft, about 4 minutes.

a large ceramic coated pan on the BBQ  making Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Next add the squash, rigate, and the reserved cooking water and cook over heat, tossing gently, until the sauce is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

adding Pecorino chesse to Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon

Next add and mix in the 1/2 cup of Pecorino cheese.

sitting and enjoying Gluten Free Rigate with Roasted Butternut Squash and Smoked Bacon - Topped with some more Pecorino cheese

Plate and serve, passing extra Pecorino cheese at the dinner table, or enjoy out on your back patio during a warm summer evening.

 

What Others Are Reading:

The Smoke Point of Oils

Smoke Point of Cooking Oils

 All oils used in the kitchen contain varying smoke points. That is the temperature at which they start to smoke and break down. Heating the oil beyond this point can cause toxic fumes and free radicals that are able to harm your body.

The more refined the oil, the higher the smoke point.

The following image shows the healthiest oils to consume as well as their smoke point.

Healthiest Oils to consume

Avocado oil when refined has a smoke point to 500 degrees. Almond oil also is a high heat oil to 450 degrees as well as coconut oil to 450 degrees. Extra virgin olive oil only has a smoke point to 350 degrees. Olive oil is best used as a salad oil or dipping oil.

Remember: Anytime you cook with oil, you risk overheating it, which can lead to the formation of unhealthy compounds. When your oil starts to change color, that’s a sign that it’s starting to degrade from to much heat.

Seed oils are not healthy for consumption. These include: corn, soybean, canola oil, sunflower, grape seed, and safflower.

Most vegetable oils today are made from GMO’s or Genetically modified Organisms. Many independent scientific studies have shown them to be toxic to our bodies.

Canola Oil, Vegetable Oil, and Corn Oil are oils high in omega 6 fatty acids, which in excessive amounts are actually bad for your heart.

For more information read these related articles: Food Breaking News  –  Livestrong – Health risks of Corn Oil   –  Health Line News – USDA Clears the Way for Corn, Soybeans Able to withstand an Herbicide in Agent Orange

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