Tag Archives: black bean


January 8, 2018

During the winter months, there is nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup.  Plant based soups filled with pulses are hearty and nutritious and easy of the budget too. There are so many interesting soups our there and there are so easy to make, why settle for canned tomato and cream of mushroom.

We eat a lot of soup over the winter months. Most soup recipes make enough for 6 to 8 people, so for most families that means a pot of soup will do for 2 or 3 meals. Soup makes a great lunchbox meal too, packed hot in a thermos.  And most soups freeze well, so if you can’t eat the whole pot within the week, freeze some for a quick easy meal when your time is limited.

Below are four of my favorite soups.

Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup

Red Lentil Carrot and Coconut Soup
This is our favorite go to soup. It is easy to prepare and can be done on the stove top or in a slow cooker. The red lentils dissolve into the broth so its perfect for those who don’t particularly love lentils. And for those who love heat, it can be spiced up with chillies to your taste. The recipe was featured at our Cooking with Lentils class August 2016 and can be found here.

South America Black Bean Soup
This is another long time favorite of ours. If you don’t like it spicy, omit the jalapeño pepper

• 2 onions, diced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 jalapeño, diced fine
• 1 tsp thyme
• 2 tbsp cumin seeds
• 1 tbsp oregano
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 6 cups vegetable stock
• 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked)
• 1/3 cup lime juice
• Cilantro, finely chopped or dried

In a large pot, sauté onions celery carrots garlic and jalapeño in about ¼ cup broth until onions are translucent. Add thyme, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Sauté a few minutes longer. Add remaining ingredients except lime juice and cilantro. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 1 hour. Or place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 10. Add lime juice and cilantro and serve.

Adapted from 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson


Carribean Pepper Pot Soup

Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup
This is another great recipe from the cookbook 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson. The original is made with hot peppers and packs quite a punch, but it is easily toned down to your spice level.

• 1 onion, finely diced
• 3 stalks celery, finely diced
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tbsp ginger root, minced
• 1 tbsp mild chilli powder
• ½ tsp ground coriander seeds
• ½ tsp crushed chillis (Omit for a mild version)
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp ground black pepper
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• 3 cups butternut squash, peeled cut into ½ inch cubes (or substitute carrots)
• 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
• 1 ½ cup diced tomatoes, including the juice
• 6 cups vegetable stock
• 1 pepper (red, green, yellow or orange), diced small
• ½ can of coconut milk
• Fresh or dried cilantro or parsley

In a large pot, place onion, celery, garlic and ginger along with about ¼ cup broth. Cook until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients except coconut milk and cilantro or parsley. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 to 2 hours. Or place all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 10 hours. Add coconut milk and cilantro or parsley. Serve.

13 Bean Soup

13 Bean Soup

I make this with a 13 Bean mixture by Bob’s Red Mill, which has a variety of beans as well as split peas and lentils. The quicker cooking pulses like the peas dissolve nicely into the broth producing a thick flavorful soup. You can find my recipe here.




Convert your old family favorites to whole food plant based.

Most soups can easily be converted to plant based as meat, or meat broth is only a part of the soup, not the whole entrée. Eliminate the meat and add lentils or beans. Many recipes ask you to sauté the veggies in oil before making the soup, but you can easily sauté in broth, eliminating the oil. And in most cases, you can skip this step all together, and just toss the veggies into a pot with the broth to cook without any loss in flavor.  Consider adding a handful or two of finely chopped greens (kale or spinach are good ones) to your soup at the end of cooking. You will hardly notice they are even there.

Some more links to favorites for you to try:

Creamy White Bean Soup

Corn Chowder

Cream of Zucchini Soup without the Cream

A delicious plant based version of Olive Garden’s Pasta e Fagioli

Red Lentil and Kale



July 2017 Cooking Class – Great Summer Salads

July 9, 2017

The theme for this month’s cooking class was Summer Salads. Summer means time for enjoying the outdoors and these quick and easy, cool and refreshing summer salads are a great way to reduce time in the kitchen. They can be used as a side dish or can easily be made into a whole meal by adding a whole grain roll or baked potato.  And they are great to take to barbecues and picnics.

This class we had a discussion on fats/oils in our diets. While a healthy diet includes fats, it is best we get them from whole foods like seeds, nuts, and avocado. This article by Kim Campbell provides some good reasons why to eliminate oil.

Thanks to James for taking pictures. I will update the post with them later.

Green Smoothie

As usual, our class started with a refreshing green smoothie. July’s smoothie was beet greens, picked fresh from my garden, apple, pineapple and frozen raspberries. Its a bit more tart than most of my smoothies but still delicious. The red in the beet greens and the raspberries combine to give this smoothie a beautiful red color.

  • 2 cups greens (beet greens, spinach, kale, parsley, mint, cilantro, etc)
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (apple, raspberry, banana, mango, pineapple, orange, berries, etc)

Place in blender in order given. Blend until smooth.

Black Bean Salad

This salad is a long time favorite of mine for potlucks. It always gets rave reviews. It makes a great summer supper meal just by adding a baked potato. (Note: you can make great baked potatoes in your slow cooker. Just poke the potatoes, place in the cooker, cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high. No need to heat up your oven!)

If you are not a fan of cilantro or avocados, just leave them out.  I like adding the avocado just before serving to keep it from getting mushy or dark colored. Also, tomatoes taste best when not refrigerated, so I add the tomatoes before serving as well.

  • Two 16-ounce cans black beans drained and rinsed WELL!
  • 2 red peppers, chopped
  • 1 ½ cup canned or frozen corn
  • ½ Red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • 1 large mango, diced (optional)
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or more to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 very large tomato, chopped (or use cherry tomatoes cut in half)
  • 2 small avocados, diced (optional)

Combine all ingredients except for tomatoes and avocado in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Take the salad out of the fridge at least 1 hour before serving. Add tomatoes.  Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Modified from:  http://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/easy-black-bean-salad-recipe/  

Couscous Salad

This salad is a spin off from a quinoa tabbouleh salad. No grain is faster to prepare than couscous. And the hemp hearts add a boost of protein. You can easily substitute cooked quinoa for the couscous. Serve with a green salad for a full meal.

  • 1 ½ cups boiling water
  • 2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley (or more to taste)
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • 2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 8 green onions, diced (about ¾ cup)
  • ½ tsp salt, or to taste


  • 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 clove garlic, minced

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous. Cover and remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork . Cool.  Add remaining salad ingredients to the cooled couscous. Mix dressing and add to the salad and serve.

Options – you can substitute quinoa for the couscous. (1 cup quinoa to 1 ¾ cup water, simmer 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. )

Caesar Salad

This salad is a spin off from one in Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows cookbook. She used almonds, but I prefer cashews. I was thrilled to find you can substitute cooked white beans (also called Navy Beans) for part of the cashews. Also, you can add a bit of kale to this classic romaine salad and know one will mind at all. Instead of bacon bits, I like to add sunflower seeds for a nice crunch and boost of protein.

Note: While I prefer to cook my beans using dry beans, you can buy cooked small white beans or Navy beans in a can. Since you only need 1/4 cup, drain and rinse the beans and freeze any leftovers to use in another dish. Or freeze in 1/4 cup packages for future Caesar Salads.


  • ¼ cup raw unsalted cashews and ¼ cup cooked white beans (or 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegan)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast


  • Romaine lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Red onion, sliced thin
  • Sunflower seeds (raw or roasted and salted)
  • Whole grain croutons (optional)

Soak cashews for 2 to 8 hours, drain. Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Chop kale fine and massage for a few minutes to tenderize. Chop romaine and add to kale. Add dressing and toss. Add remaining ingredients and toss again.

If you can’t find raw unsalted cashews, you can use roasted unsalted ones as well.

Fruit Salad

A fruit salad makes a great summer dessert. It takes no heat to prepare and provides just the right amount of sweetness to finish off any meal. The salad is good on its own, but to dress it up for company, try this creamy ginger dressing made with coconut milk yogurt (also sold as Cultured Yogurt).

Feel free to mix this up with your favorite fruits and use the amount as a guide only. I managed to pick up a basket of fresh picked local strawberries so our salad had more strawberries than the 2 cups called for in the recipe.

  • 1 cup coconut milk yogurt, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp finely minced ginger (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 4 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 2 cups pineapple, diced
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup seedless grapes
  • 2 cups strawberries, cut in half

Mix yogurt, minced ginger and maple syrup and place in a separate serving bowl.  Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Place oranges, apples and pineapple in a large bowl. Toss to coat apples with the liquid.  Add blueberries, grapes and strawberries and gently stir to combine.  Serve fruit with a dollop of ginger yogurt on top.

You can change this salad up by using any mixture of your favourite fruit. Change up the yogurt sauce by omitting the ginger, using cane sugar and adding ½ tsp vanilla.

Note: next class is not until September.