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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college · My Life · vegan · vegetarian

Easy-Peasy Split Pea Soup

While up in Idaho, I had the chance to play around with my crock-pot. (Adding amounts of ingredients by the smell of the dish, I felt just like Ratatouille! ;))

I like recipes that taste fantastic with simple ingredient lists.

This is that kind of recipe.

What is it?


My Easy-Peasy Split Pea Soup!


Chop the onion and slice the carrots into coin medallions.


Clean and sort the split peas, and add them to the crock-pot followed by the chopped onion and sliced carrots.


Add the chili powder, salt, and pepper.


Followed by the water and broth.


Place on the lid and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or until the split peas are soft and smooth.


Just as a note, after the 5-6 hours the peas will have sank to the bottom, but all you need to do it stir is up…


And it will look as gorgeous as ever. 🙂


Let it cool slightly, ladle yourself out a bowl and dig in!


Easy-Peasy Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots, sliced into coin medallions
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 (16 oz.) bags dry split peas
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste*
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans low sodium broth, vegetable or chicken

Directions

  1. Chop the onion and slice the carrots into coin medallions. Clean and sort the split peas, and add them to the crock-pot followed by the chopped onion and sliced carrots. Add the chili powder, salt, and pepper, followed by the water and broth.
  2. Place on the lid and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or until the split peas are soft and smooth. (Just as a note, after the 5-6 hours the peas will have sank to the bottom, but all you need to do it stir is up and it will look as gorgeous as ever.)
  3. Let it cool slightly, ladle yourself out a bowl and dig in! This makes about 3 quarts (12 cups) of yummiliciousness!

Note: *Add more or less salt and pepper as you desire. For reference, I usually use 2 tbsp. salt and ¼ tsp ground black pepper, but start with less and add little increments until you reach your desired taste.

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This is deadly. Everyone I have shared this with have BEGGED for more. My roommates last semester LOVED it. My family adores it. And I love how it made my week after wisdom teeth much more pleasant and delicious. ❤ As with most soups, I always feel it tastes even better the day after. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

with lots of hugs,

Kathleen

college · Goodies · My Life · vegan · vegetarian

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Stuffed-Bell Peppers

Hey My Glorious Blossoms!

Throughout this past semester, I came up with ways to make my life a little easier. With a full schedule, I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to cooking and baking. Because of this, my slow cooker became my best friend. This recipe became one of my classics. I could throw it all together and let it cook while I did other things. Once they were done I could store them in Rubbermaid containers and have them for dinner for the next few days. This is a super duper easy recipe and I know you will enjoy it!

Here’s how I make them!


Wash the peppers and cut out the seeds attached to the top, making a hole to the inside of the pepper.


Add the rice,


Beans,


Spaghetti sauce,


Dried chopped onion, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt (to taste)


And fold them together in a medium-sized bowl.


Use a fork or spoon to stuff the peppers with the filling, and place them inside the slow cooker bowls.


Add ½-cup water to the bottom of the slow cooker.


Top with the lids and cook on high heat for 3-4 hours, or until the peppers soften.

Grab a fork, serve ’em up, and dig in!


Slow Cooker Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4 bell peppers (I usually use green), cleaned with tops and seeds removed
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • 1 ½ cup cooked black beans (or whatever beans you have on hand)
  • 1 cup chunky vegetable spaghetti sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. dried chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt to taste (depends on amount of salt in beans/sauce/etc.)

Directions

Wash the peppers and cut out the seeds attached to the top, making a hole to the inside of the pepper.

Combine the rice, beans, spaghetti sauce, dried chopped onion, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt (to taste) in a medium-sized bowl. Use a fork or spoon to stuff the peppers with the filling, placing the stuffed peppers inside the crock-pot.

Add ½-cup water to the bottom of the slow cooker and top with the lid. Cook them on high heat for 3-4 hours or until peppers soften. Serve with a fork and dive in!

PRINT ME!

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I just made another batch of these for lunch yesterday afternoon and my family LOVED THEM! My favorite part is how easy they are to make. I also like mixing the grains, adding vegetables, using different colors of peppers, etc. Such a simple recipe yet super nutritious! 🙂

What are some of your favorite college essentials? School essentials? Kitchen essentials?

with lots of hugs,

Kathleen