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.

Print This Recipe

(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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Balance With Self · Health And Nutrition · How do things work in my body?

Maybe I Ate Too Much Orange…

Hey My Baby Carrots!

Thank you for all of your thoughtful comments on my last post! My life has been really busy with all that has been going on, and by setting my priorities, I have had an easier time staying focused.

I think I need an orange detox.

Pumpkins. Sweet Potatoes. Mangos. Cantaloupes. Carrots. Oranges. Peaches. Spinach. Nectarines.

These are some of my favorite foods.

They all contain lots and LOTS of Beta Carotine.

I would eat these things ALL of the time and forget some of the other colors of fruits and vegetables.

Orange, orange, ORANGE!

Because of all of the excess amounts of orange I ate , I tinted orange (just like Arnold in The Magic School Bus when he ate all of those “spinach” bits). Carotenodermia, an orange tinting of the skin, can be caused by eating excessive amounts of beta-carotine-containing foods over a prolonged period. It’s harmless, but it can be really hard when your friends start comparing their hands to yours.

The pigments in foods are similar to the pigment that is in our skin, melanin. So when it’s in excess, the body just stores it where your other pigments are — right under the skin! I have to be really careful now of how much I eat of it.

Please, do not take me wrong. All of these foods are healthy for you, but too much of anything ISN’T.

This is one reason I am striving for a variety of fruits and vegetables. The balance I am striving for is to

EAT THE RAINBOW!

Not just one color.

Just like how you can’t have a rainbow with only one color, your body needs a variety of nutrients to function at its best. Not only does it need Vitamin A, but it also needs Vitamin C, D, E, K, the Bs, and all of the other vitamins and minerals.

My goal over the past while has been to cut back on the amount of orange I’ve been eating. I must say, it is REALLY hard (since those are some of my favorite foods), but I know it will turn out for the better. I can tell a difference now — my hands are slowly turning back to normal. It’s getting better.

One of the things I’ve done is stop eating an entire cantaloupe in one sitting, stopped buying the 10-pound bag of carrots, and focused on other fruits and vegetables —

Balance With The Rainbow.

Has this ever happened to you?

What did you do to reverse it?

What is your favorite orange food?

Hmmm, I would say – carrots. Definitely carrots. I’m a lil’ ole rabbit. 😉 I am so jealous of rabbits that they get to eat so many carrots and not turn orange!

Sweet Potato or Regular Potato?

I love sweet potatoes!

xoxox

Balance With Self · Goodies · Health And Nutrition

The Exclusive Insider’s Look Into My Life! Part #2

Hey My Banana Cream Pies! 😀

How was your Easter?! Mine was truly amazing. 🙂 Astonishingly, I DIDN’T do any baking on Easter! I know – shocker!! 🙂 But, no worries — I made some cookies for my mom Saturday night, so I’ll be sane. 😉

Thanks for all of your loving support and wonderful comments on my last posts! You guys mean so much to me! 🙂 I’m glad you guys enjoyed Part 1 of My Life. And before I continue with Part 2, I wanted to thank Wendy, Kayla, and Ann Claire for all suggesting I do a Day-In-The-Life-Of-Kathleen Post. Thank you my darlings! 🙂 This is so much fun! Maybe I should join the WIAW crew! 🙂

And Now—

My Life: Continued. 🙂

———————After Lunch————————-

SCHOOL/CLASSES

3 pm-ish Snack (#4):

Usually fruit w/ nuts; Green Smoothie; roasted vegetables; veggies with hummus; or a Bananner with PEANUT BUTTAH! 🙂

This time I chose a Green Monsta. 🙂

Around this time (or right after lunch), I may get a nap too! SCORE! 🙂 Sometimes I get a nap in the morning. It’s really just if I have the time.

SCHOOL/CLASSES

Help with making dinner

Dinner(5:30-6pm ish):

My dinners consist of a protein, starch (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, sweet potato, reg potato), and VEGGIES.

One example is a big ‘ole plate of roasted cauliflower with whole wheat pasta, peas, carrots, and meatless meatballs! 🙂

YUM! The cauliflower and meatless meatballs had so much flavor that I didn’t need tomato sauce! 😀 Well, and, I don’t really care for pasta sauce on my cauliflower anyways.

Evening activities: Either School, Activities, Babysitting, Blogging, Reading, time with my family, or whatever! 🙂 I sometimes do some weight training in the evening, too. 🙂 A lot of my cardio workouts incorporate strength training in them already, so strength training isn’t something I worry about. Pilates is another one of my favorite wind-down activities. 🙂

You can’t NOT have dessert! 🙂

Dessert at around 8 pm (Meal #6):

How about some Nutty Apple Spice Cookies!

I’ll either have a piece of fruit, a couple cookies, a muffin, peanut butter cupcakes, a single lady pie, ounce of bakers chocolate, or whatever I’m in the mood for. 🙂 Sometimes, I just munch on some veggies.

Activities, whatever. Read, blog, (play a Nancy Drew game if I have one I haven’t conquered yet. ;))

BED TIME! 😀 (Varies from 10pm-12am) I’m still working on getting to bed earlier. It’s really hard to change my body clock. My mom has now set a limit to how late I can be on the computer, and that limit is 11pm. During Spring Break, haha, I was on the computer till 2AM most nights, either blogging or watching a movie on Netflix. Haha, not good, I know. Even though the 11pm rule may feel like a restriction, I am actually grateful for it — it allows me to work on getting to bed earlier! 😀

My Life

IMPORTANT! These pictures DON’T REALLY SHOW EVERYTHING I eat. Sometimes, when I have a day where I worked out SUPER HARD, I get into a very snacky-mood. So, I reach for more fruits (frozen strawberries are one of my favorites) and vegetables (like cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, whatever). 🙂 Think of me as a Rabbit. 😉

……………………

How do I incorporate all of these lovely baked goods into my diet????

I’ll explain.

Are baked goods all that I eat? Definitely not.

Are they an addition to my diet? Well, not quite. When I eat baked goodies, it is a replacement of other food, and not an addition to what I normally eat. Like, for instance, if I make some muffins, I’ll view them as my grain for the meal, and such. Dessert Bars, well, dessert! 🙂 Pizzerts! Well, I’ll have that for ANY meal. 🙂 Breakfast, Lunch, OR Dinner. Doesn’t matter. 🙂

What I strive for is to balance out the baked goods in my diet. Baked goods do NOT have to be unhealthy for you. And eating healthy definitely does NOT have to taste bland. Healthy can taste like Almond Joys! Healthy can taste like Reese’s! Healthy can taste like cookies and cakes and pie!! You can stil enjoy the things you like, just in a healthier way. Find that balance within yourself. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Eat your whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Healthy is a way of life. Healthy is balance.

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Have you ever made your own pasta? I have. We have a pasta maker (and a wheat grinder, and a soymilk maker, AND a rice cooker), and it was so cool to watch it mix the dough and come out as pasta! PLUS, it only took a minute to cook — SCORE! 🙂 Though, I don’t think we should have doubled the recipe — it made a TON! 🙂

Do you like cauliflower with spaghetti sauce?

What time do you usually go to bed? My goal is to get to bed by 10 pm every night.

xoxox,