We had a cooking challenge last week in my nutrition group class. Some worried that it was a lot of kitchen work so I suggested utilizing a slow cooker or crock pot for making a bean dish or stew. Someone then asked for recipes and I realized that I don’t have any! When it comes to the slow cooker, I just throw things in there and let it cook long enough that no matter what, it comes out tasty. But I always get requests from those people who rely on recipes, to please spell the process out more carefully. To that end, I made a pot of Black Bean Soup in my slow cooker, measured everything, and jotted it all down so I could tell you exactly what to do.
The wonderful thing about using your slow cooker is that you do just a few minutes of prep and then your food cooks all day by itself while you do other things. Come dinnertime, you just ladle it out and a hot, delicious, nutritious meal is yours.
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 spicy green pepper, such as jalapeno, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder or smoked paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp oregano
- 900g (28oz) can chopped tomatoes or 4 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 500g (1 lb) dry black beans
- dash hot sauce to taste
- 1-2 drops liquid smoke if desired
- 8 cups vegetable broth or water
- salt and black pepper to taste (added AFTER cooking. Salting the beans while they are still cooking will keep them hard)
- The night before you want to make the soup, put the beans in a large bowl.
- Check them over for shriveled beans, dirt clods, rocks etc.
- Cover the beans with cold tap water and let sit uncovered on counter overnight.
- In the morning, drain the water off and rinse the beans in fresh water.
- Add all ingredients except the salt to your slow cooker in the order listed above.
- Set slow cooker to high, cover and leave for 4-6 hours.
- Check the beans are soft and adjust seasonings to your taste, adding salt here.
- Using an immersion blender, puree about half of the soup. This is optional, you can leave it all unpureed if you prefer.
- Serve as is or topped with chopped fresh tomato, avocado slices, chopped fresh cilantro (cusbara) or parsley, salsa, vegan sour cream or shredded vegan cheddar.