December: Black Bean & Vegetable Stew

Recipes are everywhere you look – I found the recipe for this black bean and vegetable stew on back of a can of black beans. Since then, it has become a winter staple because it uses your favorite ingredients or whatever you have on hand. Seriously, I cannot emphasize how easy, delicious and versatile this soup is; it’s a great beginner recipe, and it will feed an army.


Recipe: Black Beans & Polenta

Source: A can of Westbrae Natural black beans


Modifications, Testing and Recommendations: I can’t recall ever buying a can of Westbrae Natural beans, but apparently I did once by accident and it changed how I make hearty vegetable soups. Although this recipe is not included on their website, they have some other great vegetarian recipes that look pretty good. I recommend doubling all the ingredients listed above to balance out the other vegetables you want to add.

The recipe included is the bare minimum you need to get started. Over the years, I have tried a ton of different ingredients in this soup, and they’re all excellent. Chop up everything into bite-size pieces and cook until the ingredients are soft (especially carrots or potatoes). If you want to add a lot more vegetables, just use more water or broth to maintain the desired soup consistency. I’ve even made two large pots simultaneously: one vegan and one with chicken. This soup is whatever you want it to be!

  • Frozen corn and peas
  • Diced potatoes
  • Chopped celery and carrots
  • Other beans and lentils – cook before adding
  • Vegetarian sausage
  • Pasta or leftover rice
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh herbs
  • Peppers or chilis – I love Mama Lil’s spicy pickled peppers
  • Hominy
I added celery, carrots, corn, peas, green lentils, mushrooms and Mama Lil’s spicy peppers to the original recipe.

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