Spicy Black Bean Soup

Do you ever get a cooking itch you just have to scratch? Like you get something in your head and you just can’t crush the desire to make it until it happens? That’s what happened to me a few weeks ago upon realizing I had never cooked with dried beans (seriously, WTF).

Delicious Vegan Spicy Black Bean Soup

So one recent Saturday, I was digging through the clearance food items at Target (shocking, I know) and happened upon a 1 pound bag of organic black beans for $1.42. And I took it as fate.

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Cue the urge to make black bean soup. Spicy, hearty, black bean soup. Yum.

Black Bean Soup - Vegan!

This recipe is sort of inspired by Panera Black Bean Soup. But I gotta say it – this might be a little better (sorry/still love you Panera).

Easy Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup

This was my first time using dried beans for anything, and I must say, I totally understand why people prefer using dried beans over canned. The beans turned out al dente and were less mushy than canned beans.

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Yes, it took longer, but if you have the time (and you really don’t have to babysit the soup), I’d say it’s worth it!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean soup

I made this soup super spicy, but you don’t have to. The recipe includes ranges of spices to use and you can base how much you use on your taste preferences. Personally, I like it HOT HOT HOT so that’s just how I made it.

Vegan Black Bean Soup - Kbaked

This soup is excellent with some cubed avocado and cilantro on top. You could also top it with shredded cheese or vegan cheese, and tortilla chips. Up to you!

Black Bean Soup - Vegan!

Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Title Card

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time: 1-3 hours, depending on if you use dried or canned beans
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients – Soup:

  • 1 cup dried black beans or 2 cans black beans
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 – 1 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric (adjust all species to preference)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro & avocado for topping, plus any additional desired toppings (suggestion: vegan cheese, crushed tortilla chips)

Method:

  1. If using dried beans, soak for one hour in 4 cups water. Boil for 10 minutes and allow to simmer for additional hour.
  2. Place poblano pepper in foil and broil in 500 degree oven until charred.
  3. Meanwhile, dice onion and bell pepper. Mince garlic.
  4. Heat oil and onion and garlic on stove and cook on low heat until onions are translucent.
  5. Add spices and continue to cook. Add bell peppers and cook until peppers are soft.
  6. Remove charred pepper from oven. Peel off skin. Remove seeds. Dice. Add to other peppers.
  7. If using canned beans, rinse and drain. Add to large pot with 3 cups water or veggie broth.
  8. Add nutritional yeast, aminos/soy sauce and onions/peppers to beans and allow to simmer on low heat for one hour.
  9. Add juice of one lime. Top with cilantro and avocado and serve.

PS: You Can watch me make this on YouTube!

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3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

Taco Tuesday is such a thing. Except that I rarely take part in Taco Tuesday because Tuesday is also half price sushi night so it’s usually sushi on Tuesdays and tacos on Wednesdays. At least in my world. And it works for me. I’m determined to get #tacowednesday trending.

Easy Veagn 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

But truly – tacos are good any #dayoftheweek. And although I absolutely DESPISE going out for American-ized Mexican food (the stuff covered in grease and cheese aka a fast track to spending the rest of the day on the potty), I do adore California style Mexican food, full of fresh flavors and colors. Like fresh non-Taco-Bell-esque Tacos. I actually adore these kinds of tacos. They’re the perfect meal – full of flavor, spicy and satiety, tacos are always a great option for any meal.

Tofu Tacos - Vegan

When you think about a taco, you hit almost every food group, and if done correctly, tacos make a darn healthy meal.. Think about it: protein (tofu in my case), fruits (tomato counts, right?) veggies (lettuce), healthy fat (avocado), legumes (black beans), and whole grains (corn tortilla). What a #win.

5-Minute Vegan Tofu Tacos

So I like to whip me up some tacos, not only because they are delicious, filling, and healthy, but because they are so gosh darn easy. This recipe literally takes 10 minutes, start to finish. To me, it feels like the equivalent of heating up a frozen pizza. It’s that simple and, arguably, faster.

Vegan 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

I love me all sorts of vegan fillings in my tacos. Black beans are always a favorite, but after having that as the only option for 5ever as a vegetarian option, I set out in search of something else.

Easy Vegan 3-Ingredient Tofu Tacos

And then I discovered tofu tacos. The texture of tofu adds a creamy yet satisfying element to a taco filling, and provides a lovely blank palate to pick up taco seasoning. Ps Trader Joe’s taco seasoning is incredible. It’s a product of South Africa and has a lovely spice to it. Probably the best on the market. TJs does it again.

Tofu Tacos

Make these tacos any day of the week for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The best part is that it literally takes less than 10 minutes start-to-finish and only requires simple ingredients you probably have in your house. yay.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Level: easy

serves 4

Ingredients – Tofu Filling:

  • 1 14-ounce package firm tofu
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I love Trader Joe’s!)
  • 1/3 cup salsa of choice

Toppings / Extras:

  • 8 tortillas
  • sliced avocados
  • diced tomatoes
  • salsa
  • cilantro
  • vegan cheese sauce

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, warm salsa. Open tofu and pour off extra liquid if tofu is set in liquid.

2. Cut tofu into 4 pieces. Using fingers, crumble tofu into saucepan. Pieces can and will be uneven. Go with it. Add taco seasoning and stir until all tofu is evenly coated with salsa and taco seasoning.

3. Simmer over medium heat until tofu is evenly warmed, any excess liquid has evaporated, and all tofu is evenly coated with seasoning.

4. Fill tortillas with a heaping scoop of tofu filling. Top with beans, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and whatever else your heart desires. 🙂 Enjoy !

Black Bean + Butternut Squash Swiss Chard Wraps

On Friday night my mom brought home a bunch of reduced-cost vegetables from our local grocery store, Sendiks. When I saw all the goodies she brought home I was giddy inside. Love me some produce, and love me a deal.

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Sendiks is awesome in that they put all this perfectly beautiful produce on their large “Reduced Produce” table far before most grocery stores would. If there’s a single bruise or a bag of lettuce is like, a week away from expiring, to the Reduced table it goes.

I actually prefer to buy my bananas from the Reduced table. Because they’re just starting to speckle and get ripe and not green like regular store-bananas. I’m not into green bananas. I’m more into spotty browns.

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So in addition to a large bunch of dandelion greens for $0.56 and a batch of practically free potatoes, she snagged a large bunch of beautiful Swiss Chard for $0.46. Can you believe that?! Me either. What a #blessing.

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I forgot how much I like Swiss Chard. It’s such a lovely change of pace to the greens I eat regularly. I haven’t purchased it on my own in years because I tend to not like cooked greens, and typically associate Swiss Chard with being cooked. On Friday night, I had an epiphany: it can be eaten raw. This followed by realizing just how outstanding it is raw. It’s crunchy, tangy, and a bizarre mixture of earthy, sweet, and bitter.

Thus, I was inspired to make wraps with it, and this recipe was born. I used Target Brand’s Simply Balanced frozen Butternut Squash cubes that happened to be literally chillin’ in our freezer. This worked really well and saved a ton of time. Butternut squash cubes are one of the few vegetables I will eat frozen and not fresh. These would also be delightful with cubed sweet potatoes or any other winter squash you have on hand.

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Black beans add a nice heartiness and earthiness to the sweet squash. A blend of spicy, warm, umami flavors compliments both the squash and black beans, and really brings together the dish. I added a smudge of hummus for a creaming contrast, and some pomegranate seeds for a colorful pop of juicy tangy sweetness. It was blissful.

This makes a wonderful light and energizing lunch, or could work well as a server or side to dinner. Make these wraps and make them your own. I encourage you to also listen to rap music while assembling your rap. It helps set the tone for your tastebuds and the whole rest of your day.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25-35 minutes
Level: Easy

makes 4 chard wraps, serves 2

Ingredients:

  • one 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup cubed butternut squash or sweet potato (I used organic frozen pre-cubed butternut squash ~ but time saver and worked super well with this recipe!)
  • 4 large swiss chard leaves (or really any large leafy green will do)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 6-8 tablespoons hummus (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate perils (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Cube butternut squash or sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch cubes. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven and roast until browned and crisp, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Transfer back to bowl.

2. Drain and rinse black beans. Add beans to bowl with squash cubes. Sprinkle cumin, turmeric, chili powder, curry powder, and toss until all black beans and squash are coated evenly.

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3. Wash and dry swiss chard leaves. Pat dry. Spread 1-2 tablespoons hummus on each. Add about 3/4 cup filling to each leaf.

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4. Add pomegranate seeds, hot sauce, or anything else you may desire. Roll up and enjoy! 🙂

Christmas Avocado Toast [with Pomegranate Seeds + Red Pepper Flakes]

Avocado toast is the epitome of what’s #trendy for food. I remember being surprised when I first moved to NYC, seeing it on cafe menus. I thought for some reason that I was a genius and had invented this snack. I didn’t. lol. It’s been around 5ever.

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I also remember being a little surprised by how much it cost. It’s like, $8 in a lot of cool cafes. And now it’s like a thing. Who has the best avocado toast? Is your bread homemade? What’s on top of it? The finest sea salt? The highest quality cracked pepper? Single origin olive oil?

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The one I had at LPQ this summer was amazing with some pickled vegetables and Tuscan olive oil and such. Other than that, I usually make avocado toast at home. Because it’s easy, fast, and costs about $7 less than when it’s purchased at a cafe.

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The other day I happened to be eating a pomegranate while making avocado toast. I decided adding some pomegranate seeds would make a nice color pop. My toast already had crushed red pepper flakes and sea salt on it, because that’s my go-to for avocado toast, so I kept all those babies in place with the pomegranate.

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when hunger happens while taking photos…

I was a bit shocked at how delicious the tangy sweet pomegranate seeds played off the spicy pepper flakes and the creamy avocado. The sea salt, per usual, tied it all together, making the avocado flavor pop a bit. The first bite was like a discovery journey: “What’s happening in my mouth right now? so many different flavors and textures, but somehow they all work!! THIS IS AMAZING. MUST EAT MORE.” 

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So I did. This was my go-to lunch and/or snack all weekend long. I ate like 6 pieces of this exact. Toast. I then realized how festive and beautiful it looks for the holiday season and realized this would make a lovely and gorgeous appetizer on a party spread. It comes together quite quickly and with minimal prep, and who doesn’t love avocado toast? It’s such a win for the appetizer world. Just cut it into fancy triangles or something and you’d be good to go.

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Otherwise just make it like a holiday party every day in your mouth and make a slice for yourself. You will not regret this toast. Plus, think of how cool it’ll look on Instagram. #justsayin. Enjoy this energizing, nutrient packed toast for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or a snack. Eat up homies!

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Prep Time: 1 minute

Cook Time: 1 minute (to toast bread)

Level: easy

Yield: one piece of avocado toast, can easily be doubled, tripled, or multiplied by 10 and cut into triangles for a party

Ingredients:

  • one slice whole grain bread or bread of choice
  • 1/4th medium avocado
  • 1/2  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (a shake or two straight out of the shaker will do the trick)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds
  • dash sea salt

Directions:

1. Place bread in toaster. Allow to toast until desired toastiness is achieved.

2. Meanwhile, mash 1/4th avocado in a small bowl with a fork.

3. Remove toast from toaster. Sprinkle red chili pepper flakes and sea salt. Sprinkle and/or artistically decorate with pomegranate seeds.

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4. EAT. 🙂

Spicy Sunflower-Infused Waffle’d Falafel Balls [Vegan]

Reason #1 you should make these: The name. Waffle’d Falafel Balls. Or Wafalafel. Whatever you call it, it’s great.

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Go ahead, say it out loud: “I made falafel waffle balls!” *instantly* you feel awesome. And a bit silly. Two great things to improve your mood and the mood of anyone lucky enough to share these with you.

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Which brings me to reason #2 you should make these: they are honestly ridiculously amazing. I [nearly] had to slap my mom’s fingers off them when I was taking photos. Although baking them in a waffle maker is totally unnecessary, it does wonderful things for the texture by providing more surface area for browning/crispiness and creating more dense and more airy pockets and gets a nice Maillard reaction going (which I explained better when I used the waffle iron to make Chocolate Chip Waffle Cookies here). You have my permission to make this recipe and simply bake them in the oven. They will still taste magnificent even though they would be as fun to say or quite as interesting to eat, but I think you’ll still enjoy them, and so will your body.

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Leading to reason #3 you should make these: they are quite nutritious! Chickpeas are powerhouses of protein, fiber, and quality carbohydrates which will give you oodles of energy to power through your day without leaving you feeling weighed down. If you aren’t already friendly with beans and legumes, I suggest you start eating more. They provide protein and satiety while also delivering the goodness of plants via an array of vitamins, and minerals. Aka, they win. Eat up friends, and don’t be afraid to toot. #worthit

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I made these vegan by replacing the egg typically seen in falafel recipes with one tablespoon chia seeds and 2 tablespoons water, which provided some viscosity and emulsification to the mix. I also ground up sunflower seeds for a boost of palatable fat, a more interesting texture, and a complimentary earthiness to dance with the chickpeas.

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These would be great on a salad, as part of a snack plate, or tucked into a pita or to bulk up a sandwich. Or, you can do what my mom did and just eat them plain. That works too. However you eat them, baked or waffle’d, enjoy these tiny nutritious nuggets of pure joy.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy
makes about 8 small waffle patties – serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (15oz), drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (can also use tahini instead)
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 2 tablespoons water (or 1 egg, if not vegan)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder or cumin
  • a hearty squeeze of Sriracha or other hot sauce (if you like it hot, which I do ;-))
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Plug in your waffle iron and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place chia seeds and water in a small bowl to congeal and set aside.

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3. Drain and rinse can of chickpeas.

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4. Chop green onions and cilantro.

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5. Place sunflower seeds in a food processor and grind until fine. Slowly add teaspoon of oil until the sunflower seeds become a peanut-butter-like paste.

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6. Add chickpeas, onions, cilantro, spices, chia/water mix, juice of half a lemon, and Sriracha to food processor. Whirl until you get a nice mushy paste that is slightly wet and sticks together.

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7. Roll into donut-hole sized balls and place each in a quarter of the waffle iron. Close and allow to cook until golden brown and firm, about 2-4 minutes.

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8. Transfer to baking sheet and place in oven for about 10 minutes to crisp them up a bit. This is optional, but I like things crispy, so I did it, yo.

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9. Allow to cool and eat on a sandwich, pita, or salad. Or straight to the face!

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