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.
- ½ 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 ½ 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 one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
- ¼ 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
- Grated cheddar-style nondairy cheese Daiya cheddar or pepperjack are particularly good in this
- 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 ⅔ 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.
Per serving: Calories: 405; Total fat: 12g; Protein: 16g; Fiber: 20g; Carbs: 64g; Sodium: 228mg