March 30th, 2013

Black Bean & Quinoa Soup

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Serves 6
Total time: 40 minutes || Active time: 20 minutes

Black Bean Quinoa Soup

My mailman rarely talks to me, but he made sure to tell me that this soup smelled great when I was cooking it. So, there you go, endorsed by the US Postal Service.

The thing about this soup, is that it’s almost the only time in the world where I don’t rinse the canned beans. The whole shebang is poured right in, creating a flavorful full-bodied broth that is so monumentally satisfying with the chewy quinoa. Of course, we have our usual black bean soup suspects — cumin, oregano, bay, cilantro — and all that flavor just gets sealed into the delicious broth. It’s familiar but definitely not ordinary.

You can certainly customize to your desires; add some kale at the end, maybe even potatoes with the carrots, or corn. I would have used jalapenos if I had some on hand, too. But the red pepper flakes provide a nice heat and this soup hits the spot if you’re craving something spicy and filling, that you can throw avocado on.

Black Bean Quinoa Soup


~If you’re wondering why I add only half of the broth at first, it’s so that it boils faster, thus cooking the quinoa faster. It’s just something I do.

~If you’re wondering why I don’t add the beans with the broth at first, it’s because when soup is thick, it takes longer to cook the quinoa. So I let it cook most of the way, then toss in the remaining liquids.

~Black beans tend to be salty, so I’m not adding a specific quantity of salt here. Definitely salt to taste!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced medium
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 large carrot, cut into 1/4 inch pieces or so
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 24 oz can black beans
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish

For serving:
Tortilla chips


Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and saute with the onions for a few seconds. Then add tomato, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook for a minute or so, just to break down the tomatoes a bit.

Add quinoa, carrots and bay leaves, and then pour in 2 cups of the broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes or so, until al dente (that’s mostly tender with a little bite.)

Add the remainder of the broth, the black beans with their cooking liquid, and the cilantro. Cover and bring to a boil, then remove the lid, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes or so, to cook the quinoa the rest of the way.

Taste for salt and seasonings and let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavors to marry. Remove bay leaves and serve topped with crushed tortillas, avocado and cilantro.

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