Thursday, January 17, 2013

Black Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

I don't know that I'll ever become a vegetarian, though I have been very close in the past.  But then I'd go for a run and smell someone's BBQ and lose my resolve.  However, I do like to eat a few meatless meals each week.  It's easier on my wallet and easier on the environment.  This soup is hearty, full of protein and super filling.  And I promise you won't miss the meat!  Feel free to play around with the spices and give it your own twist.  Sometimes I like to throw some corn in at the end, and top with cilantro and sliced avocado.

It makes a large amount (about 10 servings) so it's great for a crowd.  Throw it together in the crock pot the next time you head out for a day of skiing or sledding and you'll have a nice hot dinner waiting for you.  It's especially good with a side of cornbread.  Just be sure to give yourself ample time to soak the beans.  You can soak them overnight or give yourself a couple hours before assembly and follow the directions in step one.

1 pound dry black beans

In a large pot over medium-high heat, place the beans in three times their volume of water. Bring to a boil, and let boil 10 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Drain, and rinse.

In a slow cooker, combine soaked beans and 1 1/2 quarts fresh water. Cover, and cook for 3 hours on High.

Stir in carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, lentils, and tomatoes. Season with chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, red wine vinegar, and salt. Cook on Low for 2 to 3 hours. Stir the rice into the slow cooker in the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Puree about half of the soup with a blender or food processor, then pour back into the pot before serving.  If you have a hand blender, just stick it in the pot and blend until you get a consistency you like.  You want to have some chunks left!

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