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I’m back from a mini vacation to Mexico, where I was inspired to cook more with cilantro, jalapeno, chiles, cumin, lime, and other tantalizing flavors. This soup is based on a recipe by Dr. Fuhrman. I substituted a bit of what I had on hand for some of the things called for in the recipe, and the results were magnificent.

This is not the typical thick soup that most people think of when they think of black bean soup. It’s brothy and chock-block-full of colorful vegetables. Serve it alone or with a hearty slab of cornbread.

Black Bean & Quinoa Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 large carrot, chopped
5 cups low sodium or no-salt-added vegetable broth
3 cups cooked black beans
1 block frozen spinach
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 avocado, chopped

In a soup pot, heat 2-3 tablespoons water, add onion and green pepper and water saute until tender, about 5 minutes, adding more water if needed to prevent sticking. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add the tomato, cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes, until tomatoes soften. Add carrots and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, stir in the quinoa, reduce heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add black beans and spinach and continue cooking until spinach is defrosted and everything is piping hot, about 10 minutes. 

Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve garnished with chopped avocado.