Six O’Clock Solution: Black bean soup for body and spirit

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The foods of autumn warm both body and spirit, and are never better than in a serious soup like this one from More Mandy’s (Appetite by Random House, $35), the second cookbook from the Montreal-based chain Mandy’s Gourmet Salads.

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This sustaining soup is one of 19 in the book by Mandy Wolfe, sister Rebecca Wolfe and collaborator Meredith Erickson. They say the recipe was inspired by one in The Moosewood Cookbook, the landmark vegetarian collection originally published by the Ithaca, NY restaurant of the same name in 1974 and due out next year in a 50th-anniversary edition.

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The Mandy’s authors say a recipe should have four equal parts: creaminess, crunchiness, tartness and fat. For the latter, they suggest a topping of diced avocado. To make it a main course, they vote for strips of seared beefsteak, or chunks of cooked salmon.

Black Bean Soup

Serves 4

3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil

2 cups (500 mL / 2 medium) chopped onions

1 cup (250 mL / 2 medium) chopped carrots

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1 cup (250 mL / 1/2 medium) chopped red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon (.5 mL) cayenne


freshly ground pepper

2 cans (19 ounces / 540 mL each) black beans, drained, rinsed

3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth

1/3 cup (75 mL) fresh orange juice

Zest (grated peel) and juice of 1 lime

fresh coriander leaves

In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-low heat and cook onions, carrots, 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the red pepper, and the garlic, stirring occasionally, until onions soften and become translucent, about 5 minutes.

Stir in cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook until the spices are fragrant.

Add 3 cups (750 mL) of the black beans to the pot, reserving the rest for garnish. Add vegetable broth, bring mixture to a boil, lower heat to very low and simmer mixture until carrots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

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