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Posts Tagged ‘Red Beans’

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup | Relishing ItBaby, it’s cold outside!  Or at least it is here in Minnesota.  There is definitely that ‘winter-is-coming’ chill in the air.  And this is just the start.  Wind chills will eventually plummet to -50 degrees F, snow will pile up on the sidewalks.  Ugh.  I always complain as autumn comes to a close, knowing that we face the long slog to April.  My body just isn’t acclimated to the cold for the first month or so.  Ah well, I guess there’s also the comforting expectation of snuggling into a warm blanket and a good book while the kids head out to play in the snow.  There is that to look forward to…

Homemade Taco Seasoning | Relishing It

Homemade Taco Seasoning | Relishing It

Vegetarian Lenti; Taco Soup | Relishing It

As soon as the weather turns, I start thinking about soup.  This particular one is a beauty.  It’s substantial– more like a cross between a soup and a stew.  It’s loaded with healthy protein from lentils and beans, though my favorite ingredient this time around is most definitely the corn.  It makes so many soups better.  It adds a nice flavor and a bit of texture, as well.  Not to mention, it pairs beautifully with the Mexican flavors.

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup | Relishing It

Let’s talk about those flavors, shall we?  Years ago I began making my own taco mix.  To be honest, it happened a bit by accident.  I ran out of my usual purchased taco seasoning, so I had to improvise.  Luckily, I keep a well stocked spice cabinet (Penzys really should send me a thank you note).  In looking at the recipe, don’t let the length of the list scare you.  I realize that not everyone has all of the spices on hand.  As long as you have the main ones (chili, paprika, garlic, onion, and cumin powder), you will be just fine.  But, if you do happen to have the others, even better.  Try this seasoning the next time you make traditional tacos– you’ll love it!

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup | Relishing ItThe soup is wonderful served with the usual taco accompaniments– sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, and of course some tortilla chips. However, I also discovered another way that I like to eat the leftovers.  Since the legumes continue to soak up more broth overnight, the soup becomes a bit thicker.  I love to serve it atop baked spaghetti squash.  It’s delicious and makes a great gluten-free, paleo, and even vegan meal! So– perfect to serve to friends or family that might be trying to eat that particular way.  Stay warm, friends!

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup Over Spaghetti Squash | Relishing It

The Recipe: Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup

(serves 4-6 comfortably)

2 cups dry brown lentils, rinsed

2/3 cup dry red beans (or 1 can), rinsed

2/3 cup dry black beans (or 1 can), rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped white onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 quart puréed or crushed tomatoes

1 quart vegetable broth (or use chicken, if you’re not trying to stay vegetarian)

1 heaping cup frozen corn

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

juice of one lime

scallions, jalapeños, sour cream (if vegan isn’t your aim) and limes as garnish options

For the Taco Seasoning:

(makes a scant 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

To begin: soak and cook your red and black beans separately following standard directions to cook beans.  Honestly, I usually have extras in my freezer that I pull out to throw into this soup.  Beans freeze incredibly well, so feel free to make extras for that purpose. You’ll want about 1 1/2 cups of cooked red beans, and 1 1/2 cups of cooked black beans.  Or simple choose to use one can of each, rinsed.

Mix all of the taco seasoning ingredients together in small bowl, set aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.   Begin to saute the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until somewhat soft.  Add the taco seasoning to the onion mixture.  Then add the tomatoes, vegetables stock, cooked red and black beans, and the lentils.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium simmer.  Cook covered for about 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, but have not fallen apart.  Stirring a couple of times along the way.  Make sure not to overcook the lentils, or they will turn to mush.  When the soup is done, add the frozen corn, cilantro, and juice of one lime.  Reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve with sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, and more lime.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Cajun Red Beans and Brown Rice via Relishing ItWhile it is “technically” Spring, as I write this we’re in a winter storm warning here in Minnesota.  Yup, a quick glance out the kitchen window and all I see is a white, wind-blown blur.  So I guess it’s no surprise that my thoughts are still with warm, comfort foods.  I’m not really complaining though.  It’ll end eventually, to be followed by those dreaded days marked by 90 degree temperatures and shirt-drenching humidity.  Gross.  So, I really am quite happy nuzzling into a blanket while the snow falls.  Please stop throwing tomatoes at me.

Cajun Red Beans and Brown Rice via Relishing It

Cajun Red Beans and Brown Rice via Relishing It

These cajun red beans and brown rice are just the sort of warm, comfort food that I’m talking about.  They’re not fancy, but they’re loaded with flavor and are just different enough to add a little variety to your nightly meal routine.  They’re made from healthy, whole foods and thickened naturally from the starch in the beans.  The cajun flavor is delightful, though not too spicy.  The heat level can be adjusted by adding more cayenne pepper. Ham works perfectly in this dish, and not a lot is needed. It gives it a nice, smokey flavor– though, you can easily make this meal with andouille sausage or without any meat at all for a vegetarian option.  You may need to adjust the seasonings a bit, namely the salt, as the pork tends to add a decent amount of that.  I love making a big batch of these beans and sending the leftovers with my husband throughout the week.  Enjoy!

Cajun Red Beans and Brown Rice via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Cajun Red Beans and Brown Rice

2 cups red beans, soaked overnight with salt (or do the quick-soak method)

olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1 stalk of celery, diced

2 dried bay leaves

3 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

3 cups chicken broth

6 cups water

2 cups of cubed cooked ham (andouille sausage is a good substitute)

cracked black pepper, to taste

red wine vinegar

Diced green onion, cooked brown rice, and hot sauce for serving

Quick-soak method:  Place the beans in a large saucepan.  Add enough water and a large pinch of salt to cover the beans by about an inch.  Bring to a boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and leave covered for about 2 hours.  Proceed with the recipe at this point. 

In a large Dutch oven, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the green pepper, onion, celery, and garlic for a couple of minutes until tender.  Add the paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, and thyme and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth, water, red beans, and cubed ham.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover.  Let simmer for about 1 hour.  Check along the way, turn the heat up a bit, if the beans are not softening.  The dish will be done when the beans are very tender and the sauce has thickened.  Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar.  Season with salt, if necessary, though the ham usually supplies enough.  Serve over hot brown rice and a generous sprinkling of green onions.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Magazine

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  See you next week!

Laurie

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