Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's cold, it's raining, it's time for SOUP!!!

I've lived in San Francisco for the past 3 years and somehow every year I manage to forget that when January rolls around, it basically rains for 2 months straight. Now, I am not a huge fan of standing outside umbrella-less in the rain, but I do enjoy snuggling up on the couch with a warm blanket and big bowl of hot soup. Homemade soup is relatively easy to make, the prep time required is often a minimal 20-30 minutes (depending on the amount of veggies needing to be chopped or diced) and most of the cooking time consists of effortless, occasional stirring of a simmering pot of soup. The best part about all of the following soups is that they freeze well and reheat beautifully after an overnight refrigerator thawing. Try a few of them out. My favorites are the Brazilian Black Bean and the Minestrone. Enjoy!

All of the following recipes are based on versions created by Mollie Katzen. I have altered or adjusted some of the ingredients in each recipe.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup
The orange juice and cumin in this soup give it an incredible, tropical flavor.

2 cups dry black beans, soaked in plenty of water overnight
4 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups chopped white onion
10 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups orange juice
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Place the soaked bean in a large soup pot (3 quarts or larger) with all of the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until tender (about 1 1/4 hours)
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onion, garlic, cumin, salt, and carrot. Saute over medium heat until the carrot is just tender. Add the bell pepper. Saute an additional 10-15 minutes. Add this mixture to the beans.
  3. Stir in the orange juice, black and cayenne pepper.
  4. Puree about 2/3 of the soup in a food processor or blender and then return the puree to the soup pot. Simmer over very low heat 10-15 minutes. Optional: serve with cilantro and fresh salsa.
Servings: Makes 6, 1 1/2 cup (~13oz) servings
Nutrition facts (per serving): 312 calories, 4 g fat, 796mg sodium, 56.3g carbohydrates, 12g fiber, sugars 10.4g, protein 15.8g.

Cream of Tomato
The cloves give this soup a unique flavor. It is unlike any other tomato soup I've had.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp celery seed OR 1 medium stalk of celery, diced
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp flour
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, pureed
1 tsp honey
1 cup skim milk


  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add onions, bay leaves, salt, pepper, celery seed, and cloves and saute over medium heat until onion is soft and translucent (~10 minutes).
  2. Using a whisk, stir constantly as you sprinkle in the flour. Stir continuously and cook 5 more minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and the honey. Cook over medium heat for 15 more minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
  4. Turn the heat to a simmer and drizzle in the milk. Remove the bay leaves and serve immediately.
Servings: Makes 6, 1 cup (~8oz) servings
Nutrition facts (per serving): 86 calories, 2g fat, 480mg sodium, 14g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, sugars 8g, protein 3g.


Delicious! I never knew soup could taste this good.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 stalks celery, minced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp basil
1 medium bell pepper (any color)
3 cups water
14 1/2oz can tomato sauce
1 cup canned kidney beans (you can use fresh, but you must cook them first)
1 cup dry whole wheat pasta shells (or any other shape you like)
1/2 cup freshly minced parsley
parmesan cheese


  1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, and salt. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, oregano, pepper, and basil.
  2. Cover and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Add bell pepper, zucchini, and water. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add beans and simmer 5 more minutes.
  4. Bring the soup to just boiling. Add pasta, stir and cook until pasta is tender (~12 minutes). Serve topped with parsley and parmesan.
Servings: Makes 6, 1 1/2 cup (~12oz) servings
Nutrition facts (per serving): 210 calories, 5.3g fat, 953mg sodium, 33.5g carbohydrates, 8.3g fiber, sugars 7.5g, protein 9.8g.

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