The presentation of this easy, offbeat soup, filled with spiced beans and grain (quinoa or bulgur) is like a taco turned inside out, is fun and dramatic. It’s perfect for a chilly weeknight meal, served with a colorful salad and a green veggie. Adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons. Photo by Theresa Raffetto.
- 1/2 cup raw quinoa or bulgur
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
- 4 cups cooked or canned pinto beans (from 1 1/2 cups raw beans
or two 15- to 16-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
- 28-ounce can salt-free crushed tomatoes
- 1 to 2 fresh hot (jalapeño or serrano) chilis, or 1 mild chili (poblano),
or 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, optional
- 1 tablespoon good-quality chili powder, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt to taste
- A sprinkling of grated cheddar-style nondairy cheese
(Daiya cheddar or pepperjack are particularly good in this), or nutritional yeast
- Thinly shredded romaine or green leaf lettuce
- Finely diced firm, ripe tomatoes (about 1 cup)
- Large triangular stone-ground tortilla chips
- Picante sauce or other hot seasoning
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the grain of choice and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.
Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until all are golden.
Add the remaining ingredients, except the garnishes, plus the cooked grain and 3 cups water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove from the heat. This should have the texture of a thick chili, but if too thick, stir it a little more water.
Assemble each serving as follows: Fill each bowl about 2/3 full with soup. Top with some grated cheese, shredded lettuce, and diced tomatoes. Line the perimeter of each bowl with several tortilla chips, points facing upward, for a kind of star-shaped effect. The tortilla chips can be used to scoop up the solid parts of the soup or just nibbled along with the soup. Pass around a bowl of extra tortilla chips and hot seasoning for embellishing individual portions.