Crock Pot Cooking: Healthy Black Bean Soup

It’s winter in Connecticut and that means it’s soup time! I love soups and stews of all kinds, but bean soups hold a special place in my heart. I love a good bean soup. The only problem – most recipes require overnight soaking of the beans. And, let’s face it, I’m just not that organized. Planning a whole day ahead for a meal doesn’t always work for me. To solve this problem, I’m always in search of bean soup recipes that don’t require pre-soaking the beans. I found a great one for black bean soup, but the flavor wasn’t quite right. A few tweaks, and my favorite black bean soup recipe was born.

It’s a great recipe for a few reasons. First, it’s customizable. It can be modified to accomodate a vegan or vegitarian diet. The soup is Cuban style, but not fully Cuban. Spiciness and flavor can be adjusted. It also isn’t terribly sensitive in terms of time. Leave it in the crock pot a little long and it will just have slightly mushier beans. This black bean soup keeps nicely in the fridge and can be frozen. Finally, the same method works for making great black beans to put over rice (yum!).

Without further ado, Rachel’s Crock Pot Black Bean Soup:

1 bag (16-oz) black beans, sorted and rinsed (but NOT soaked, dry)

1 cup finely chopped ham (and I mean really, really finely chopped. It’s going to turn black and you don’t want big black lumps. Also, this is totally optional. Eggplant and some types of squash make a great substitution.)

1 cup (or more if you like onion) finely chopped onion

1 large tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)

1 medium, yellow or red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups broth of your choice (I use beef, but vegetable works fine)

1 3/4 cups water

1/4 cup dark rum or apple cider (I use apple cider and have even used an apple juice box and it didn’t seem to matter)

2 tablespoons oil

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

If you’d like a spicier soup, add in 1 finely chopped spicy pepper of your choosing. I like jalapeƱo, ancho, and adobe, but all have slightly different flavors. If you’re pressed for time, you can also toss in a little can of chopped green chiles.

Mix all the ingredients together in a 4-6 quart slow cooker. Put the lid on. Cook on high for 6+ hours.

Simple, right?! I love it and hope you do, too.

 

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