- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 large carrot, scrubbed or peeled and finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño or serrano chili, seeded and finely sliced (leave out if you want your soup mild)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (or all-natural taco seasoning, whichever you have on hand)
- 1 15-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano tomatoes (include the juice in the can)
- 1 25-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or use two 15-ounce cans)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 quart veggie or chicken stock (or bone broth for added protein)
- 2 cups filtered water (or more stock if you have it)
- 2 cups already cooked quinoa* (from about 2/3 cup dry quinoa)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- sliced avocado for garnish
- Before you make the soup, prepare the quinoa per the instructions below if needed. I find it’s best to prepare the quinoa separately then add to the soup to prevent the starch from taking over the soup liquid. Cooked quinoa can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.
- Preheat a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Once preheated, add the extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few turns of the black pepper grinder and sauté until soft and the onion is translucent about 5-7 minutes. Turn the heat to low (to prevent burning the spices) and add the garlic, cumin, and chili powder; cook 2 minutes until the spices are fragrant. Add the jalapeno or serrano if using and saute another minute.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and add the tomatoes with their juices to deglaze the pan, using your wooden spoon to scrape up everything on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the drained and rinsed black beans, stock, water, 2 teaspoons sea salt, about 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and quickly reduce to a simmer. Add in the already cooked quinoa if it’s already prepared. Simmer at least 20 minutes to let the flavors combine. Adjust seasoning to taste if needed.
- When you dish up, be sure to reach the bottom of the pot to scoop up all the good stuff. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a few slices of avocado.
- Store leftovers in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or in the freezer up to 3 months. Enjoy!
- TO PREPARE QUINOA: Makes about 3 cups of cooked quinoa: Rinse and drain 1 cup of dry quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer until the water runs clear, about 45 seconds. Place the rinsed and drained quinoa in a 3- or 4-quart pot with 2 cups (less 2 tablespoons) of filtered water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Turn on the stove and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, allowing the quinoa to absorb all of the water. This takes about 15 minutes. Set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes as a reminder as the quinoa will burn to the pan if left too long. After 15 minutes, stir and allow to sit another minute or two until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water and the tail of the quinoa grain has sprouted.
Pay attention to what’s in your spices and other ingredients, only use ingredients without fillers and preservatives. Especially your chili powder or taco seasoning, look for simple ingredients without any added sugar. I get my chili powder from the Savory Spice Shop because they don’t add fillers or preservatives and their spices are freshly ground and taste great.
Quinoa is technically a seed but cooks like a grain, and some people don’t digest grains very well. You can substitute the quinoa for 1 cup of cauliflower rice if you prefer. Just add an extra cup of liquid with the 1 cup of cauliflower rice directly the pot at the end and simmer 20-30 minutes until the cauliflower rice is cooked through.
*Cooked quinoa keeps in the refrigerator up to 5 days, so make extra for meals and salads later in the week. 1 cup of dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked.