college · Goodies · vegan · vegetarian

{Panera Inspired} Black Bean Soup

I love black bean soup. 

Ever since I visited Panera for the first time with my dear friend, I fell in love with their black bean soup. However, my college-sized budget can’t bend to eat out every weekend. Therefore, these past few weeks I decided to create my own recipe inspired by Panera’s black bean soup.

After weeks of trial and error, trial and win, and trial and almost, I finally nailed it.

My family agrees – this is amazing.

If you’ve made my Split Pea Soup before, you know it’s deadly. Now, my black bean soup is her fraternal twin, a sister who is just as amazing in her own way.


Not only was it important to me that it tasted like Panera’s soup, but I also wanted it to look a lot like it. Check.

Super simple ingredients. Delightfully deadly results. All around deliciousness.


Kathleen’s {Panera Inspired} Black Bean Soup!

Here’s how I make it!


Chop up onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and red bell pepper.


Heat a skillet to medium-low heat. Add a spoonful of coconut oil, followed by the chopped vegetables.

Top with lid, and sauté over medium heat (stirring vegetables every 5 minutes) for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.


Carefully scoop the vegetables into a powerful blender or food processor.


Add the broth and tomato paste,


And blend on high until smooth.


Pour veggie purée into crock-pot; add black beans, salt, cumin, and chili powder.


Stir all together, and let simmer on low heat in the crock pot for 2-4 hours.


Serves 8 bowls. It tastes even better as leftovers! One night in the fridge escalates the yumminess!!!


Kathleen’s {Panera Inspired} Black Bean Soup

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced in coin medallions
  • ½ large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • Spoonful of coconut oil
  • 1 (15 oz.) can low sodium vegetable broth (1¾ cup total )
  • 1 tbsp all natural tomato paste
  • 4 (15 oz.) cans no-salt added black beans, liquid reserved* (see note)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste* (see note)

Directions:

  1. Chop up onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and red bell pepper. Heat a skillet to medium-low heat. Add a spoonful of coconut oil, followed by the chopped vegetables. Top with lid, and sauté over medium heat (stirring vegetables every 5 minutes) for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Carefully scoop the vegetables into a powerful blender or food processor, add the broth and tomato paste, and blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour veggie purée into crock-pot; add black beans, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Stir all together, and let simmer on low heat in the crock pot for 2-4 hours. Serves 8. It tastes even better as leftovers! One night in the fridge escalates the yumminess!!!

Notes: If using home cooked beans, use 7 cups black beans and add 2 cups of liquid (broth or water) in place of the reserved liquid from the four cans. I like using the water in the cans for the dark color. Since the broth, tomato paste, and beans could have varying levels of salt in them, add the salt to taste. I used unsalted tomato paste and unsalted beans, with the broth at 50% less salt; therefore, I use about 2 tbsp of salt total. Nevertheless, start with less salt and add more as needed.

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(Cooking the black beans yourself instead of using the cans would lower the overall cost of this soup even more. Cook them the day before, and then follow the note and steps as described above and cook soup as usual.) 

A perfect way to sneak more vegetables into your lifestyle. 🙂

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Are you a Panera fan?

I’ve only had their black bean soup, but next time I’ll try another soup (if they have another that is dairy-free).

Are you a twin? Do you know a twin?

I’ve always wondered what it’s like to be a twin… My family is grateful there aren’t two of me though. Apparently I’m enough to handle on my own. 😉

EDITED to add: What are you favorite Nut Butter Recipes?! I’m going to do a roundup post on some holiday favorites in a few days and I’d love your input!

With lots of joyful Christmas wishes to you and your family,

 Kathleen

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Goodies · Health And Nutrition · How do things work in my body? · My Life · vegan · vegetarian

Week 5 + Slow Cooker Quinoa with Black Beans

Hey My Darling Doves!

Thanks for all of your comments on my last post. Last night was definitely not a best night of sleep (I got home late and tossed most of the night), but hopefully I will get to bed earlier tonight and get a good night’s rest.

I just finished my fifth week of ThisFitChick’s workout program – and the intensity has really gone up. Split days have been included and drop sets introduced. I love the definition I’ve been getting in my arms from this program (and have learned A LOT from it and discovered a lot about myself that I didn’t know before). My arms were KILLING me today as I was doing the drop-sets since I had just worked my arms the day before. (I always have Sunday as my day of rest, and so I did it today instead of tomorrow, so I didn’t have a day’s rest between…. I’ll try to figure this out for this next week so that doesn’t happen – I may have to move some of the workouts around, but I’ll get them all in.) This week I mixed up the cardio again, so Jillian and Kim’s sections on the Biggest Loser Cardio Max DVD for the cardio (as I can’t use a treadmill, but I pick other cardio based on the workout planned to fit in with the goal of that cardio workout – the cardio max usually fits that bill). Another one of the weight-lifting moves I had to change because I don’t have access to a leg press machine, so I did weighted squats in their place. Still got the burn. 😉

Since I’m going up to college and will be living in a dorm in less than 8 weeks, I’ve been striving to find meals and recipes I can easily prepare at college and don’t take a lot of time to do so. One of those things is my slow cooker (who will be my BEST friend in January – he can help keep me warm! :)). This is one of my favorite recipes for the slow cooker.


My Slow Cooker Quinoa with Black Beans!


Chop up an onion. Heat a little coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.


Add the onion and garlic to the pan, sautéing until lightly browned.


Take off the heat and set aside (remember to turn off the burner!).


Thoroughly wash the quinoa. I do this by placing my quinoa in a bowl and adding water over it (enough to thoroughly cover it).


Then I stir it around with my finger and/or spoon for a few minutes until the water gets cloudy. That cloudiness is that bitter flavor coming off of the quinoa, so don’t skip this part if you can help it! I like rinsing it a little bit longer just to make sure.


Strain the quinoa and grab your slow cooker!


Rinse the black beans and add them to the bowl.


Followed by the quinoa, carrots, and sautéed onion and garlic.


Add the cumin, chili powder, and top it off with the water.


Stir them all together.


Cook on High for 2-3 hours, until the quinoa is cooked and their little “tails” emerge from the seeds.


Fluff it up with a fork. Serve. Makes about 8 cups worth.

I like to top it with some more coconut oil and a dash of garlic salt. 🙂


Slow Cooker Quinoa with Black Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz) sliced carrots (or 1 ¾ cup sliced raw carrots)
  • 2 (15-oz) cans black beans (or 3 ½ cup prepared beans)
  • 1 ½ cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop up an onion. Heat a little coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, sautéing until lightly browned. Take off the heat and set aside. (Remember to turn off the burner.)

Thoroughly wash the quinoa. I do this by placing my quinoa in a bowl and adding water over it (enough to thoroughly cover it). Then I stir it around with my finger and/or spoon for a few minutes until the water gets cloudy. That cloudiness is that bitter flavor coming off of the quinoa, so don’t skip this part if you can help it! I like rinsing it a little bit longer just to make sure. Strain the quinoa and grab your slow cooker!

Rinse the black beans and add them to the bowl. Followed by the quinoa, carrots, and sautéed onion and garlic. Add the cumin, chili powder, and top it off with the water. Stir them all together. Cook on High for 2-3 hours, until the quinoa is cooked (and their little “tails” emerge from the seeds). Fluff it up with a fork. Serve.

Makes about 8 cups worth.

Print This!


And not only is this Vegan, Gluten-Free, High-Protein, Veggie-filled, Sugar-Free, but it is Absolutely Delicious. 🙂

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Ever used Qunioa before?

This is my favorite way to use it. I still want to try it in baking and smoothies and for breakfast.

Do you have an exercise that you hate but love?

Planks are one of those for me. They’re hard, but absolutely worth it. One exercise I disdain is push ups. I love chest-presses (it’s my favorite exercise), but push-ups and me do not get along. I simply don’t like them. I’d rather do 3 sets of chest-presses than 2 sets of push ups.

Do you like Daylight Saving Time? Do you prefer to set the clock forward or backward?

I love gaining an hour (like in fall), but losing one is never fun (like in spring). I’m glad I have an “extra” hour tonight – hopefully I’ll get a good amount of sleep in preparation to working with my sunbeams in the morning. (Those little ones are SO worth it!)

With lots of hugs,