One of my favorite memories from living in New Orleans is learning to make traditional red beans and rice from a local who had been serving up this favorite dish – to throngs of people – her entire life. We soaked, drained, combined, stirred, seasoned, mashed, and tasted … what a learning opportunity for a Midwestern native!
And though I often still make beans the way she taught me, time – or lack thereof – can be an issue. So, canned beans are a wonderful option. Their texture is spot on. And just like starting with dried beans, they are a nutrition powerhouse, providing protein, fiber, potassium, folate, iron and zinc.
This hearty soup is designed to be a satiating meatless meal option with layers of flavor developed from sweet, smoky and hot peppers, cumin, chili powder, tomatoes, broth and coffee. You won’t necessarily taste the brewed coffee, but its roasted, earthy notes heighten and complement the other flavors. (Check out “Don’t Just Sip … Eat Your Coffee!”
for more on cooking and baking with coffee.)
Feel free to add a ham bone, ham or chicken if you want. Or, serve with steamed rice to turn the beans into a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. And definitely consider topping your bowl with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, avocado, cilantro or one of the other options listed. This soup has a mild-to-medium heat level which can be adjusted by adding more or less of the chipotle, serrano or jalapeno peppers.
Oh, and I almost forgot what some will consider most important. If you have all of your ingredients gathered, (and depending on how fast you are with a knife, maybe have chopped the vegetables ahead) this soup comes together in just 30 minutes. Gotta love that!
Easy Coffee ‘n’ Black Bean Soup
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, finely minced (optional)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, undrained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup brewed Community Coffee
Salt to taste
Optional (but great!)Toppings:
Avocado, sliced or diced
Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh lime juice
In large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and red and yellow peppers. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic, chipotle peppers, serrano pepper (if using), chili powder and cumin; cook and stir about 1 minute. Mix in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth and coffee. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, about 15 minutes.
Using an immersion or hand blender, puree half of the beans. Season with salt to taste. Serve with desired toppings.
Makes about 8 (1 ½-cup) servings
- Dice and mince vegetables in advance to speed preparation.
- The beans are undrained in this recipe. Why? The starchy liquid adds creamy body to the soup.
- It’s well documented that most Americans consume more sodium than recommended each day. To reduce sodium in the soup from canned beans and tomatoes, choose lower sodium or no added salt options and season accordingly.
- Make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable instead of chicken broth.
- Using a blender to puree a portion of the soup creates a creamy consistency (along with some whole bean texture) and beautifully combines flavors. If you don’t have a hand or immersion blender, remove a cup or more of beans, completely mash, then add back to the soup and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.
Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.