Creamy Black Bean Soup

IMG_0423Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and FUN holiday! I know I did! Even though it was super cold over Christmas (I’m talking Northern New England kind of cold) it was beautiful and the skiing was great! Now that the holiday rush is over… everyone is SICK! Turns out that flu shot you got this year was the wrong strain of flu and now you’re screwed (and sick as a dog). So between the cold weather and all my friends being sick, I thought it would be nice to make some feel better soup!!

This black bean soup recipe is one of my favorites. It’s so easy and its ready in no time. A few other bonuses… its vegan (shhhh don’t tell anyone because they won’t be able to tell, its so delicious!!!) it’s dairy free (if you’re crazy enough to leave off the dollop of sour cream) its gluten free and its filling! Seriously, this soup is a meal on its own! So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, throw on a pot of this soup, you’ll be enjoying it in no time!! Cheers to 2015!

Creamy Black Bean Soup (Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes and their juices
  • 1 4oz can diced green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 4 16oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups (or more) canned low salt vegetable or chicken broth (if you don’t want it to be vegan/vegetarian)
  • Sour cream, sliced green onions and diced avocado for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and saute until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in tomatoes with their juices, chilies, and thyme.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes more. Add beans and 2 cups of broth.
  4. Puree soup in batches or using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Thin with additional broth if necessary until soup reaches desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Garnish with sour cream, green onions and avocado.

Chocolate Fudge Brownies… with Black Beans and Avocado!

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So you must be thinking that Ski Boots has gone off the deep end… Black bean brownies? Perhaps it’s the lack of snow we’ve been getting lately that’s made me want to experiment with some new recipes and ingredients. I had to try this one for a few reasons but mostly because I wanted to see if I could taste the black beans… Which you can’t… AT ALL.photo-225

In fact, everyone I served them to didn’t believe I actually made them with black beans. Nothing about these brownies are normal. Unlike your typical fudge brownies, where you feel sick after eating just one, these are dangerously perfect. They are rich AND light and you will most definitely not be able to stop at eating just one, Oh and did I mention they are gluten free? photo-228

Oh and did I also mention they are low fat? I wouldn’t feel guilty for a second eating these brownies for breakfast, they’ve got almost 5 grams of protein and only 150 calories per square (less if you use sugar substitute)… say what?! You won’t believe it until you try them for yourself but I promise you will enjoy them!

Black Bean & Avocado Fudge Brownies (Click for printer friendly version)
Ingredients:
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 of a large ripe avocado
  • 1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup, plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar or sugar substitute of choice
  • dark chocolate chips (to sprinkle on top)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. Put all the ingredients besides chocolate chips into food processor (or a blender). Process or puree until ingredients form a smooth batter (scrapping down the sides with a spatula in between to make sure all the cocoa powder is incorporated.)
  3. Pour into prepared pan, sprinkle with chocolate chips, nuts, or any other desired brownie topping and bake for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean and top of the brownies begin to crack.
  4. Cool pan completely on wire rack then cut into 16 squares.

And if the kitchen didn’t smell amazing enough with all those brownies baking… my valentines day flowers are just starting to blooming and its like heaven on earth in my living room!photo-227Enjoy!

Original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen