Rockin’ Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream

MAKES 6 SERVINGS • PREP TIME: 15 minutes (after soaking the beans overnight) • COOK TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes

A staple of Latin cuisine, this black bean soup rocks because it’s a nutritional powerhouse. Black beans are rich in protein and dietary fiber, and recent studies link black bean consumption to reduced rates of pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers. Cooking the beans with kombu, an easy to find dried Japanese seaweed that breaks down the bean’s sugars, eases gas and bloating while softening the bean’s exterior. As for taste, I guarantee your taste buds will say “more, please!”

2 cups black beans
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups diced yellow onions
Sea salt
1 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons seeded and finely diced jalapeño pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 cups Magic Mineral Broth
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 6-inch strip of kombu
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3 corn tortillas, for garnish
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Avocado Cream, for garnish (below)

Place the beans in a pan or bowl with water to cover and soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, minced garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sauté for 1 minute.

Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to deglaze the pot and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
Add the remaining 7 1/2 cups broth, along with the black beans, smashed garlic, kombu, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.

Test a bean, and once they are at least halfway cooked, add another ¼ teaspoon salt. (If too much salt is added too early, it will inhibit the softening of the beans.) Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, until the beans are nice and soft.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the corn tortillas into strips and arrange them in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake for 5 minutes, until slightly golden.

Using a slotted spoon, fish out and discard the kombu, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf, then remove half of the cooked beans and set aside. Puree the remaining beans and the broth in a blender, in batches if need be, blending until the beans are as smooth as velvet.

Return the soup to the pot over low heat, stir in the reserved beans, and gently reheat. Do a FASS check, and if it needs a little extra pop, add another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of lime juice. Serve garnished with the tortilla strips, a sprinkling of cilantro, and a dollop of the Avocado Cream.

COOK'S NOTE: You can use canned organic black beans, but make sure you give them the spa treatment first: Rinse, spritz with lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt. Add cooked beans just after sauteing the vegetables.

Avocado Cream

MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP • PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: not applicable

Putting avocado and cream in the same title is almost redundant; avocados by their very nature have one of the creamiest textures in the fruit kingdom, as any guacamole lover can attest. Avocado has fantastic proportions of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, especially potassium. In fact, avocados contain more potassium than bananas, making them ideal for combating the potassium loss that can occur because of dehydration. Whether on a cracker or over a dish, this creamy dollop guarantees you both fantastic taste and superb nutrition.

1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro (optional)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Do a FASS check. You may want to add some extra lime juice or a pinch of salt.

Also makes a great sandwich spread. 

COOK'S NOTE: Want a little heat? Add a pinch of cayenne. Want a bright taste? Add a few tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro or mint.

Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009, 2017 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.