Black Bean Soup

This smooth black bean soup is packed full of flavor and nutrients -- it's a win-win. The simple-to-make recipe can be modified based on your tastes, and since it's all blended together afterward, you can add almost any kind of vegetable you want in order to add more nutrition. Adding spinach or broccoli is a great way to get your family to eat their greens if they're usually fussy about seeing that color on their plates.

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hours 10 minutes
Yield: 14 servings

    2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola or extra virgin olive oil
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/3 cups onion, roughly chopped
    3 cups roughly chopped fennel bulb
    3 cups pureed tomato (roughly 6 small tomatoes, blended)
    1 cup water
    1 15-ounce can vegetable broth
    3 vegetable bouillon cubes
    2 20-ounce cans black beans
    3 carrots, diced
    2 medium gold potatoes, diced
    1 medium yam, diced
  1. Add oil to a large stock pot on high heat. When the oil glistens add garlic, onions, and fennel, and sauté for about five minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent but not brown.
  2. Pour in a quarter of the can of vegetable broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot, stirring continuously.
  3. Add the remaining broth and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, making sure there is enough liquid to cover all the solids. Cover, and bring to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, remove the lid and stir ingredients from the bottom up to the top occasionally. Cook for 45 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are soft, then remove pot from heat.
  5. With a ladel, transfer the mixture in batches from the pot to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, and place in a large ceramic bowl.
  6. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or grated cheese over the top.
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