Nothing says warm and hearty quite like a Smoky Southwest Mixed Bean Soup! I have noticed a variety of mixed bean blends at the grocery store and had experimented with a few different recipes without much success. Then I arrived on a southwest theme, and it fits perfectly with the varied texture of a mixed bean blend. This soup is hearty and satisfying, perfect for the chilly days of winter. I have tried this soup using black beans only and it is also delicious.
Soaking the bean mixture overnight prior to cooking, and adding seaweed (aka the sea veg blend) to the soup helps to alleviate any, shall we say unwanted noise that might result from the consumption of legumes. I made this recipe using a True Roots sprouted lentil blend I discovered at Costco, and I found that the sprouted lentils also alleviated any post-meal trumpeting on our part. Lots of people tend to avoid bean and legume consumption for this very reason; it is nice to have some tricks and tips at your disposal to enjoy these wonderful, nutrient dense and fibre rich foods without the social embarrassment they are know for!
Smoky Southwest Mixed Bean Soup
1 Tbsp coconut oil
3–4 cloves garlic, crushed and left to rest for 10 mins
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 carrots, washed and finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 green pepper, finely diced
2 tsp chipotle chili powder (use ancho chili powder if you prefer less spice)
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
6 cups vegetable broth (homemade, if possible)
2 tsp sea vegetable flakes (nori or dukes flakes or a combination works well) – optional
1½ cups mixed beans, soaked overnight (I used Bob’s Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix)
2 lg handfuls leafy greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard or a combination), finely sliced
1–2 tsp smoked salt, or to taste (regular sea or Himalayan works too)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lemon
In a large stockpot or pressure cooker, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and green pepper, stirring until soft (5–8 mins) Add crushed garlic, stirring until fragrant (1 minute or so) Add spices, stirring to combine until the blend is fragrant (another minute or so). Add six cups vegetable broth, sea vegetable flakes and bean mix to the pot.
In a pressure cooker:
Cover and lock the lid, increase heat to high and bring to full pressure. Lower heat, just enough to maintain a steady flow of steam and cook for 14 minutes. Quick-release the pressure, and remove the lid.
On the stovetop:
Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to low and let simmer for an hour and a half (test the beans at the end of this time to ensure they are done cooking).
Add leafy greens, freshly cracked pepper, and smoked sea salt, cooking for 5 minutes or so to wilt the greens and fully incorporate the flavours. Test the broth before adding the salt and adjust the amount accordingly – depending on the vegetable broth used, more or less salt may be required. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the fresh cilantro and fresh-squeezed lemon. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro and fresh cracked pepper, as desired.
Mary’s Organic Crackers would be a great accompaniment to this hearty soup. If you prefer a thicker final product, blend half of the soup in a high speed blender and return it to the pot, stirring to combine prior to serving.