When you are hankering for all the goodness of refried beans, but are looking for a lighter dish, check out this traditional bean soup. With the availability of prepared stocks and broths in our supermarket aisles, skipping the condensed soup section for a fresher and healthier option has never been easier. Using the skills needed to chop up a salad and heat up a pot, with a little extra time, you’ll have a wholesome meal perfect for a casual supper or Sunday dinner.
If you are counting calories, seek out low sodium ham as an option to the bacon and low or fat free sour cream for garnish. That will further reduce the fat content. Sodium content is in your control, as well. The fresh veggies often provide the snap of flavor we customarily substitute with a heaping helping of salt.
Makes enough for 2 to 4 servings.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: Approx. 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 6 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 14.5 oz. water
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken broth
- pinch of oregano, cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 15 oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
Topping (optional–it’s spicy!):
- 1/3 cup minced green onion
- 2 tsp minced red chile
- 1 tsp lime juice
- Sour cream
- chopped green onion
- Chop six slices of bacon and place into a cold 6 quart soup pot. Don’t add oil, the bacon has plenty. Turn on heat to medium high, cook and stir until bacon is not quite crispy. This is soup, crisp bacon will just get soggy again.
- Add chopped onion and stir in. Cook for about 5 minutes until they turn glassy and a touch brown. Remember, color is good.
- Add minced garlic. Stir for a couple minutes. You’ll smell that lovely garlic aroma.
- Add stock. Turn up heat a tick and stir in the oregano, cayenne and salt to taste. *If you are watching your sodium, use low or no-salt stock. Rinsing canned beans also reduces the sodium.
- Stir in beans and water. Return the pot to simmer, not boiling. Reduce heat to maintain the simmer. Stir every now and then for the next 20 to 30 minutes. Mash about half the beans in the pot while stirring to thicken it up.
- Add black pepper and cumin. Add salt to taste.
- Mix together green onion, red chiles and lime juice. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to let flavors mingle.
Ladle into large warmed bowls. Add a spoonful of topping and garnish with dollop of low fat sour cream.