Making soup is one of my favorite ways to prepare for a busy week. Having a batch in the fridge means I’ve got a healthy meal that I can reheat in a few minutes. But soup recipes are often loaded with sodium. Or the opposite, they lack flavor because the salt has been completely cut out. Striking a balance between the two is tricky, but important, since excessive sodium intake contributes to low-grade inflammation, an underlying risk factor for chronic conditions like heart disease, as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
This black bean soup strikes the perfect balance between health value and taste though! Onions, garlic, cumin, fire-roasted tomatoes, and cilantro compliment the legume’s earthy flavor creating a thick, filling soup that provide 11g fiber per serving. And there’s a secret ingredient — butternut squash — that boosts nutrition even more by adding a healthy dose of vitamin C and beta-carotene, two antioxidants that protect cells from oxidative damage.
3cans(15-oz) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1can(14.5-oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3-4cupsless-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1pkg(10-oz) frozen mashed butternut or winter squash, thawed
¼cupchopped fresh cilantro
Plain 2% Greek yogurt (optional)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and saute 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic and cumin; saute 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the beans, tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Add thawed squash, cilantro, and salt, stirring to combine. Transfer half of the soup to a blender. Remove the center piece to let steam escape, and secure lid. Place a clean dish towel over opening, and process until smooth. Return pureed bean mixture to saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until hot throughout. Ladle into bowls. If desired, top with a dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle with cilantro and/or pepitas.
Carolyn is an author, registered dietitian, and James Beard Award-winning food and health journalist. NeuroReserve is delighted to partner with Carolyn to develop brain healthy recipes for Brain Table. Carolyn is the founder of Meals That Heal, an online platform providing numerous new recipes, evidence-backed resources, and time-saving tricks to make getting dinner on the table quicker and easier. She is also the author of Meals That Heal cookbook that includes over 100+ quick and tasty recipes to cool inflammation, balance gut health, and detox the body. She is a contributing editor for Eating Well, Cooking Light, Allrecipes and eMeals and has been featured in many other publications. Carolyn is a busy mom of two who knows the necessity of having quick, healthy meal ideas. Carolyn’s philosophy on food is that eating and living well isn’t about perfection. It’s about doing the best you can with the resources you have.