This is a simple delicious black bean soup with corn, bell peppers and lots of smoky earthy flavour from a bit of smoked paprika and cumin. Jalapeno peppers give it some heat. I like to garnish it with vegan sour cream, chopped scallions, fresh cilantro, corn chips, and even some vegan cheese! This is dairy free, gluten free and as always, vegan. This is exactly the kind of food I am craving right now as the temperatures begin to drop. I love when comfort food is also full of nutritious fiber rich ingredients. Healthy food doesn't have to sacrifice flavour.
I used one jalapeno in the base, which didn't offer any discernable heat. I always have a jar of pickled jalapenos in my fridge, and I actually really like garnishing my soup with them. Two slices was plenty added heat for me in one bowl. If you want to add another fresh jalapeno or two to the base you totally can. Or even mince some fresh jalapeno and sprinkle on top if you want along with other garnishes. I find adding heat to a dish really depends on individual preference. Everyone I know has different levels of tolerance. So find what works for you.
Be mindful when seasoning with salt if you are using canned beans or tomatoes that also contain salt. I try to buy them with no added salt so I have control over my seasoning.
Yield : 2.5 Litres Serves 4-6
Suggested Ingredients for Garnish :
I first made this salad in Switzerland. (or some version of it) I was visiting my brother, dinner time was nearing and I was rummaging through his ingredients to see what I could pull together for a veg option. A recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi popped up. Cauliflower, Celery, Pomegranate and Hazelnut Salad. I loosely followed it and what a delicious combination of flavours! That was two years ago and it was always in the back of my mind to make again.
For my salad I tossed the cauliflower in cinnamon, cumin & coriander before roasting. Toasted almonds instead of hazelnuts because I always have them on hand. Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Maple mixed together for the dressing. Lots of fresh parsley and fresh mint tossed in at the end. What I didn't add at first, and aren't in the photograph, are a handful of chopped dates. I was munching away and decided to toss some in to see what that would be like...SO GOOD. I highly recommend simply chopping up a handful and them in. I'm a fan of the sweet bite as a contrast to the spice from the cauliflower.
This salad has Middle Eastern inspired flavours. While I had it for dinner just by itself, it would be so delicious as side dish next to any of your favourite Middle Eastern inspired dishes.
Serves 4 as a side dish
Recipe Difficulty: Easy
I like mini cast iron pans for serving warm desserts.
Baked Apples with Cinnamon
This is a healthy (ish) apple dessert I made to enjoy over Thanksgiving. I used a combination of McIntosh and Granny Smith apples and baked them in the oven with cinnamon, coconut sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. I kept my baked apples on the tart side, because that is how I like them. You could always add a bit more sugar if you prefer more sweetness. You can use them in a dessert like this, as a topping for oatmeal, or even on toast. Delicious.
I then made a "date ginger caramel", which is one of my favourite things. Simply dates soaked in water until softened, then blended with water or plant milk and fresh ginger. I use it with my spelt flour pancakes, stirred into oatmeal, or on peanut butter toast with fresh fruit.
I sprinkled toasted pecans over the warm date caramel & baked apples, then served it with a scoop of store bought cashew vanilla ice cream. It was a sweet treat that satisfied my craving for an apple inspired dessert but didn't make me feel shitty. (I love pies and tarts and crisps, but for me refined carbs and a ton of extra sugar and fat puts me on a fast track to feeling pretty terrible. So this was an easy dessert that lightened things up a bit!!)
Recipe: Baked Apples with Cinnamon
Recipe Difficulty: Easy
Maple Orange Roasted Carrots
These roasted carrots with freshly squeezed orange, maple, garlic, toasted almond slices and fresh parsley are a simple and tasty side dish that would be a perfect addition to any festive dinner table. Thanksgiving is around the corner and that was definitely the inspiration for this recipe. I bought sliced almonds specifically to make this vs chopping whole almonds. There's just something about them that I really like in this context. The visual aspect, or perhaps the delicate but snappy crunch they provide....but go ahead and use chopped toasted almonds if that's what you have. I made this recipe using 1 lb of carrots, which is about 2 servings. You can easily multiply the recipe if needed.
Buying Carrots & Flavour Thoughts
I was able to get my hands on some freshly picked local carrots that were lovely. I was keeping my eye out for the rainbow variety, because I think they would have made for beautiful presentation, but alas the market didn't have them the day I went. Next time. I always taste my carrots before cooking them just to know what I'm working with. Sometimes they are deliciously sweet, other times they are kind of bland and sometimes they will taste kind of bitter. If they would have been bland or bitter carrots, I would think about how to treat that specific vegetable...perhaps in this recipe an extra tablespoon of maple (for example.) Anyhow, the point being...recipes will work to a point but in order to have more successes in the kitchen you need to get used to tasting and balancing flavours. Recognize that there will often be variables in the ingredients that following a recipe can't account for. Only your taste buds can help you there. I don't mean to say following a recipe will result in a disaster if you don't take this approach, only that often, it's the final taste and adjusting that can take a dish from good to great.
Recipe: Maple Orange Roasted Carrots
More food ideas to love.....
Hey! I'm Trisha