Healthy, Nutritious, Basic Bean Soup (5 points)

Bean SoupIt’s back to basics this week. The two recipes that I’m posting this week are the most simple, most convenient and most nutrient-packed foods you can keep in your fridge or freezer. I’m talking about bean soup and refried beans.

First, they’re simple recipes because they require the most meager number of ingredients. Today, you’re going to need beans, water and salt. As a bonus, these are also the cheapest ingredients you can find. You can buy any kind of beans you like- pinto, black, Peruvian, navy, great northern, etc. Personally, my favorites for bean soup are Peruvian, navy (sometimes also just called white beans) and pinto. In California, Peruvians are pretty easy to find in Latino markets (usually labeled “peruanos”). In Philly, navy beans are easy to find in delis. Pintos are just about everywhere. If you prefer black beans, you may just be Central American.

Peruvian Beans

Peruvian Beans

Second, the recipes for this week are CONVENIENT. You could never go hungry as long as you have a batch of beans around. The 2 hour cooking time might seem inconvenient but here’s what I do. I cook them in the evening, after dinner. I store some in the fridge and store the rest in the freezer. They keep in the fridge for a week and freeze beautifully. If you open my fridge, you will find beans zipped tight in one cup servings, ready to throw into any recipe. In the next post, I’ll talk about what you can make with refried beans but this week I’ll stick to bean soup. You can ladle up a bowl for a quick meal. Drain the liquid and discover new uses. Make minestrone soup or a heartier chicken soup. Add beans to pasta or gnocchi for a vegetarian dish like this Skillet Gnocchi with Chard & White Beans. Mix in some rice and top with salsa for a super fast, super nutritious meal.

Now, there are a million sites on the internet that teach you how to cook beans. However, this is the only one with instructions that come from my mom. Therefore, this is the best.

Basic Bean Soup

  • 4 cups beans (2 lbs)
  • 3 quarts water (12 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. salt

1.         First, start off by checking the beans for any pebbles. Nowadays, it’s pretty rare to find pebbles but check anyways because cosmetic dentistry is expensive.

2.         Using a colander, rinse the beans under running water.

Find your biggest pot...

Find your biggest pot…

3.         Add the water to a large pot and set to boil. I realized that I don’t own a pot large enough for 3 quarts of water so always check first and halve the recipe if necessary.

4.         Add beans to water, you don’t have to wait for the water to boil.

5.         Let the water come to a boil.

6.         Once the water is boiling, immediately reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Cover.

7.         Cook for 2 hours, adding the salt near the end. My mom says to let the beans cook for no less than 2 hours and always on a low setting. She’s serious about this. She also makes the best beans so you should listen to her.

Note: By now some of you are going to get flustered about the fact that there is no soaking time. I know, because I got flustered about it too. I repeatedly asked my mom about this, pointing to various sources that insist on soaking, asking her if she was sure. She shrugged her shoulders and told me, “You can soak them if you want, but you don’t have to.” And you know what, she’s right, you don’t need soaking time. Your GI tract will be fine.

Serving Size: 1 cup

WW Points+: 5

Calories 245, Carbs 45g, Fat 1g, Protein 15g

What else can you do with beans?

Go Mexican with Tamale Pie or Chile Verde burritos

Go Mediterranean with Roasted Lemon & White Bean Hummus

Go Italian with Creamy Tuscan White Bean Pasta

Go Argentinean with Steak, Rice and Beans with Chimichurri Sauce

Or go to step 2 and make Low  Fat, Vegetarian, Unbelievably Delicious Refried Beans

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Madonna January 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I do not have that big of pot, but like you I will halve the recipe; that’s fine with me. I like freezing these in a 2 serving size so if I get company I can take out an extra container. I am not from Central America, but black beans are my favorite.

    May I suggest you visit Patricia at Butteryum (it is a dot com). She made brown rice this week and packaged for quick weeknight meals. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make it and freeze it. Since brown rice takes so long I usually make it on the weekends, now I can have it during the week. Your beans and her brown rice, no preservatives, Yum.

    Reply edit
  • Julie January 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Just loved your comment, this recipe is from your mom, therefore the best:) I am just learning to appreciate the bean more. The Peruvian beans look so pretty, I think I will look for those. Good to know the world will not end without soaking beans 24 hours, that is just a bit too much for me. I guaranteed if I try that someone will knock it over within 8 hours!!!

    Reply edit
  • Mary August 7, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    i added some cumin, and tomato turned out perfect. thanxs for this recipe :)

    Reply edit

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