Simple Dinner: Tomato, Corn & Black Bean Soup
Quick and versatile- this soup is ready to eat in just 30 minutes. The toppings are what makes this soup special, so don’t hold back!
Well. I suppose I knew this day might come. When we decided to move to Asturias from the Valencian region all of our Spanish friends and coworkers told us essentially the same thing: prepare for bad weather. However, it’s a little hard to take them seriously when they cancel plans if there is ever rain. Seriously…our friend told us that he didn’t even need to send a text to the friends he had plans with. If it rained, everyone knew it was canceled. To be fair it basically never rained in Alicante and our sample size wasn’t necessarily large enough to be able to publish the data. But still.
When we got here, we had nothing but beautiful days! High 60’s in November with sun, consistently! Can you imagine? My coworkers told me not to get too excited because this was unusual. I figured maybe they didn’t realize how tough I am from 20+ years of Midwest winters! Well…as my dad says, all in good time.
And here we are, in good time apparently. Since Thursday it has not stopped raining for more than an hour or so. And not just sprinkling or a light drizzle. This is a rain/hail combination that literally flips the umbrellas inside out! Honestly it was kind of exciting to get stuck in it and rush under a store awning to wait out the worst of it, watching the brave souls running through it… real camaraderie. Jackson might disagree, since he was one of the brave souls running through it, so packed down with groceries that he gave up on his umbrella. Less comradery, more last person standing vibes.
So, I bought myself rain pants for my commute and we hunkered down to have a cozy weekend. If you read this post with my butternut squash soup recipe, you already know I love being cozy and I love soup. This weekend called for both!
Black beans provide you with essential nutrients like folate, fiber and protein! My friend convinced me that making black beans from dried beans was the way to go- less waste, lower cost and nutritional benefits (thanks Ally)! She makes a big batch and freezes them in 1 cup portions. Genius. Of course there is nothing wrong with using a can of black beans in this recipe, but if you’re interested in doing this too here is the recipe I use. I also soak the beans overnight, but you wouldn’t necessarily need to. Another change is that I just use water instead of adding broth.
I just found dried kombu at my favorite bulk food store and used it both while soaking and cooking the beans. Kombu is a type of seaweed and adding it to these beans helps with digestion. I don’t know the exact science behind it, but this gives the gist.
I discovered a new cheese here in Spain because of this recipe and I am not looking back. I couldn’t find the type of cheese I would get in the US, but picked up a comparable one. What I ended up with was a smooth and rich sheep cheese that we can (and do) eat by the spoonful!
Cilantro is a tiny garnish that makes a big difference in flavor. I know people generally love it or hate it and I am definitely the former. I recently started chopping the whole thing, stem and leaf, to put into dishes. The stems have the exact same flavor and if you chop them small enough you don’t even notice. It also stretches your cilantro a bit further, so there is no waste.
This recipe is adapted from Cookie and Kate’s tortilla soup. A lot of the base flavors are the same, but with simpler ingredients that I can find more easily!
Tomato, Corn and Black Bean Soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup white onion, diced (½ large onion)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups black beans (1 can of black beans is a fine sub if you're not making from dried beans)
- 1 15 oz. can corn
- salt & pepper, to taste
- queso fresco
- tortilla chips
- Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once it is hot, add the onion and garlic. Add a pinch of salt and pepper as it cooks. Cook until the onion is softened and translucent- around 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth. Simmer for another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the black beans and corn and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until it has thickened slightly (slightly). Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle servings into bowls and add toppings! Optional: Mix in your desired amount of cheese and a quarter squeeze of lime juice. Top with cilantro, sliced avocado and crushed tortilla chips.
- Looking to make it vegan? Simply omit the queso fresco.
- Toppings are what makes this soup amazing. Don't be afraid to add even more things on top like salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or pickled radishes to name a few!
- Cotija is a nice crumbly cheese as well if you can't find queso fresco.