Meatless Monday – Spicy Black Bean Soup

I love love love black beans. Next to spinach, they might be my most regular go-to ingredient for daily yum. Black beans taste fab in chili and burritos, refried in quesadillas (sans cheese – all you need is refried black beans, salsa, & tortillas), on salads and topped on baked sweet potatoes. And in soups.

Last week I had an I-don’t-want-to-cook evening. We all have those, right?, even those who thrive on cooking. But the troops were hungry, so I rallied. I poked through my stash of recipes and was delighted to find my recipe for Spicy Black Bean Soup. I hadn’t made it in a while, it requires only six ingredients, and takes less than 20 minutes. Win all around.BBsoup

I made it again today because, why not? It’s a soup and almost a bean dip since I serve it with tortilla chips. Tonight I paired it with veggie burgers (we get them at Costco), mine on a salad of arugula fresh from a friend’s garden with a hummus/mustard/lemon juice vinaigrette (lemon also from friend’s garden). Not pictured are the roasted sweet potato wedges with jalapeno aioli. Yum x 3!

Spicy Black Bean Soup
Serves 4-6 as side dish or 3-4 as main dish

1 c red or yellow onion, diced (about half a large onion)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp spicy green salsa (or 2 Tbsp diced mild green chilies)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed & drained
2 c veggie broth
Chopped fresh cilantro or green onions, as garnish
Tortilla chips to serve

In large soup pot over medium-high heat, saute onion for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cumin; saute for 2 minutes. Add salsa or chilies and saute 1 more minute. [If you can’t be bothered, add onion, cumin, garlic and salsa all at once and saute until onion is tender, about 5 minutes]. Add beans and broth. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, pulse to thicken soup; don’t fully puree – or you can if you prefer, of course, but I like some texture to my food. You can also remove some of the soup and pulse in a blender or food processor. Ladle soup into bowls, garnish as desired, and serve with chips.BBsoup ingredients

Meatless Monday – Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Jalapeno Aioli

As Teen gets older I am acutely aware that our time with him under our roof nears an end. We have a year and a half until high school graduation, and though the first year and a half of his life seemed almost interminable (exhaustion, diapers, crying – from both baby and mommy, mind-numbing boredom involved with entertaining an infant… Oh, and completely smitten obsessive love, that too), time goes faster as we all get older. If I sneeze too hard, will he be packed up and ready to hit the college dorms?

So we make the most of the time we have, or of the time he allows us to have. Nah, seriously, he’s a good kid and we make family fun time a regular priority.

One rainy Winter Break day we tried a new activity: indoor archery. We’d done it once before at a family summer camp, but the kids were younger and less able. This time? Awesome family fun! We’ll definitely go back sooner than later.
FullSizeRender (71) FullSizeRender (72)

Since we played through lunchtime, we stopped for a bite on our way home. Hungry, we ordered an appetizer: sweet potato tater tots with jalapeno aioli. Who doesn’t like tater tots? And we’d never had sweet potato tater tots, but the big hit was the aioli. Once we demolished the tots, Tween used his fingers to lick residual sauce from the ramekin.

That kind of enthusiasm sends me searching for recipes, and without too much effort I found one. Well, three, because this is an easy three-step process.

First, make the Cajun seasoning. I fill an old spice jar and use it often – always on sweet potatoes, in tuna salad, on other grilled veggies. It’s perfect as is, but you could play with proportions to make it more or less spicy.

Prep the potatoes. Try to cut slices the same approximate size. My sweet potatoes were long so I also cut them in half to make shorter fries. Line the roasting pan with aluminum foil and sprinkle seasoning as gently or liberally as you like (go for liberally!). Potatoes cook down quite a bit, so you can cram more on the tray than I did.SPF 1SPF 2

While potatoes roast, make the aioli. It’s awesome, and you’re going to want more so just double the batch from the get-go. You can use it in a wrap, on a burger bun, you could even thin it with a little water or more citrus juice and use it as a salad dressing. If you have a gas stove, you can roast the jalapeno over a burner. That’s the longest step in the sauce process, and it’s optional.SPF 3SPF 4

I almost didn’t get this plated as Teen and I ate wedges off the roasting pan as soon as they cooled enough to bite. Delish!

Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

3-5 sweet potatoes
Cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 400. Scrub sweet potatoes and dry thoroughly. Do not peel. Cut off ends, then cut lengthwise in half, then again and again to create 6-8 wedges per potato of approximately the same width and length. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and arrange sweet potatoes in a single layer. Sprinkle Cajun seasoning on sweet potatoes. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.

Jalapeno Aioli

1 jalapeno
¾ c vegan mayo
½ c firmly packed cilantro
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste – I always opt for more)
¾ lime, juiced
¾ tsp cumin
¼ tsp salt

If you have a gas stove, stick a long fork into the stem end of the jalapeno and roast over open flame until it blisters. Put the jalapeno in a paper bag to sweat while you add other ingredients in a food processor or blender. Hold the jalapeno stem and use a sharp knife to skin the charred bits, then stem and remove ribs and seeds. Add to food processor and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed (I added a smidge more cilantro and lime at this stage).