cabbage & black bean soup

I love a hearty soup, particularly a vegetarian or vegan one which has the added benefit of making me feel full of health, as well as full of soup. 

Beans are a favourite addition but it was the inclusion of cabbage that most intrigued me about this – it’s not something I tend of thick of when I’m seeking soup inspiration. 

In this thick soup, from Sprouted Kitchen, the cabbage is surrounded by the rich flavours and textures of the black beans and squash – it adds a welcome hint of lightness, as well as a change of texture (as suggested, I blitzed the soup a little which made it lovely and thick, but I was careful to keep some of the beans and cabbage intact). 

The garnishes are a great way to perk things up and bring some freshness to the meal – I prefer to keep the tortilla strips on the side so they stay crunchy, dipping them in as I go. 

Sprouted Kitchen’s Black Bean & Butternut Soup (serves 4-6)
Some of my measurements are pretty vague, but in a stew-like soup, perfection is not necessary. Taste as you go, add more spice if necessary but beware that both chipotle and cayenne are SPICY, so start small. You can cook your beans from scratch or used canned for the sake of time.
1 tablespoon coconut or extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 a small head of cabbage, chopped – I used red
3 cups cubed butternut squash (or sweet potato) – I used leftover roasted squash, adding it at the end of the cooking time and using some for a garnish
750ml vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper – I used this plus a heaped teaspoon of smoked chipotle paste
400g tin of cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
salt to taste
avocado, for garnish
coriander, for garnish
For the tortilla crispies:
3 corn tortillas
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt

In a heavy bottomed pan, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cabbage, squash and stock. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes for the vegetables to cook.

Add the spices and the beans and stir. Let everything continue to cook another ten minutes for the flavours to blend. Salt to taste. At this point, I did a few pulses with my immersion blender through the soup, because I wanted to thicken up the broth a bit. This is optional, but makes it seem a bit thicker. You could alternatively, run just a bit of the soup through a blender or food processor, and add it back in to the pot. A sprinkle of cornmeal will help thicken it as well.

For the tortilla crispies, preheat the oven to 190c. Stack them and slice into thin matchsticks. Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle the salt and toss gently to coat. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are light brown and crispy, giving the pan a shake halfway through.

Garnish each bowl with some diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and some of the tortilla crispies! A sprinkle of goat cheese would be quite nice as well