Summary: Sometimes, you want to whip up a delicious, filling vegan meal without a lot of fuss and expense. Maybe you have less than an hour to prepare a dish that your whole family -- or table of friends -- will love. Never fear! This stellar red bean-based dish utilizes cauliflower "rice." In other words, the finely shredded cauliflower looks like rice, and its texture is quite similar. You and your guests will be amazed! The whole process is much easier than you might think.

Sometimes, you want to whip up a delicious, filling vegan meal without a lot of fuss and expense. Maybe you have less than an hour to prepare a dish that your whole family — or table of friends — will love. Never fear! This stellar red bean-based dish utilizes cauliflower “rice.” In other words, the finely shredded cauliflower looks like rice, and its texture is quite similar. You and your guests will be amazed! The whole process is much easier than you might think. Here’s how:

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green, red, or yellow bell pepper
1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 15-ounce cans of red beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Optional garnishes: chopped cilantro, avocado, sliced jalapenos, chopped arugula, chopped tomatoes, salsa, diced scallions, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add chopped onions. Fry onions on medium heat for about five minutes until they become translucent. Add chopped pepper and celery and continue frying for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are cooked through. The aroma will be heavenly! Meanwhile, place cauliflower chunks in food processor and grind them until they attain a granulated, slightly powdery consistency. You won’t believe they aren’t actually rice! Add the cauliflower “rice” to vegetables, along with the red beans and spices. Fry for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. You can adjust the seasoning level according to your individual tastes. We like ours spicy, but you may feel differently. Experiment and enjoy!

This delightful dish pairs well with gluten-free corn tortillas and an almost endless variety of toppings. We garnished ours with sliced avocados, chopped cilantro, and thin slices of jalapenos and were delighted with the results. Other topping choices include chopped tomato, scallions, salsa (homemade is best) and chopped arugula. Use your imagination! You can also enjoy this dish with gluten-free, vegan beer or wine (check www.barnivore.com to see if your beverage is vegan).

Your simple, but scrumptious meal will serve 4-6 hungry people. You can store it in your refrigerator, reheat the leftovers, and enjoy them for a couple of days. They will taste just as delicious as before! The dish is amazingly filling and satisfying, and your guests will be delighted by its robust flavor. You’ll want to make it again and again! Be sure to save room for dessert.

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Summary: We love making soups in the winter. They’re warm, hearty, and help us feel better on a cold evening, especially at the end of a long day. If you’re under the weather, a good soup can nourish you like nothing else on the planet. We recently discovered this black bean tortilla soup at a friend’s holiday party and were so wowed that we begged her for the recipe. She was delighted to share it, and so are we. The concoction only takes about 45 minutes to prepare, so it’s a great dish if you’re on the run.

tortilla soup

We love making soups in the winter. They’re warm, hearty, and help us feel better on a cold evening, especially at the end of a long day. If you’re under the weather, a good soup can nourish you like nothing else on the planet. We recently discovered this black bean tortilla soup at a friend’s holiday party and were so wowed that we begged her for the recipe. She was delighted to share it, and so are we. The concoction only takes about 45 minutes to prepare, so it’s a great dish if you’re on the run.

SOUP INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 28-ounce can, stewed tomatoes (check label, make sure no chemicals are added).
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon sea salt (not iodized!)
2 cans black beans (or 3 cups boiled black beans, if you have time)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

GARNISHES
3 small corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large pan and add chopped onions and garlic. Fry on medium heat until onions and garlic are slightly brown. Your kitchen will smell terrific, and you’re just getting started! Add vegetable broth, stewed tomatoes, both chili powders, salt, and cumin. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are cooked through.

Add black beans and corn and continue simmering for 10 minutes until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Meanwhile, cut tortillas into thin strips. Place strips in olive oil in a medium-sized frying pan (cast iron is great!) Fry strips on both sides until brown and crispy, then remove from pan. Place them on paper towel to absorb excess olive oil.

Serve soup in festive bowls with avocado slices, a squeeze or two of lime juice, a liberal dash of cilantro, and as many tortilla strips as your heart desires. We love tortilla strips and find that it’s hard to put too many into this soup. But eat fast, because they do get soggy.

Serves 4-6 hungry guests. This soup is especially good with vegan, gluten-free cornbread and/or beer. If you do end up with leftovers, you can freeze them, or devour them in the next couple of days. You will be utterly delighted by this simple, inexpensive, and satisfying meal. Stay warm and enjoy!

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