Friday, April 8, 2011

Integrated Bean Soup

Welcome to new subscribers Kristin, Katie and Eva! (And a special thanks to Kristin for including last week's recipe, Low-Fat Strawberry Scones, on the favorites list in her "Delightfully Dowling" blog. I hope to be worthy!)

Normally, the recipes here on Kissing the Cook are tasty, reduced-fat dishes made with as many from-scratch elements as practical. This week’s offering, Integrated Bean Soup, is still tasty and low-fat, with one difference: it uses mostly packaged and canned (but still healthy) ingredients in a specific attempt to be fast to make. Think of it as channeling my inner Sandra Lee.

With so many types of good-tasting, nutrition-packed beans available, limiting a soup to only one is not only unnecessary, it seems downright discriminatory. This is a recipe of inclusion, bringing together black beans, white beans, pink beans and, just because we feel like it, yellow corn. (Note, too, that this isn’t a terribly scientific recipe; if there’s anything else you want to add, have at it!) Add a little bacon (because bacon makes almost everything better), and a bottle of your favorite beer (because beer makes better the few things bacon doesn’t), and a few other simple ingredients, and you’ve got a fast, easy, and delicious soup that’s as good as a topping for rice or noodles as it is served in a bowl with a good bread on the side. (It saves well too; when I make this, I freeze individual portions and bring it to work for lunch for a week.)

This recipe makes five meal-size servings.

Chop 5 – 10 slices of turkey bacon and put into a soup pot with a splash of olive oil. (If you’re using regular bacon instead of the turkey kind, you can omit the olive oil since the regular bacon is higher in fat to begin with.) Cook over medium heat until the bacon starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes.

Stir in two chopped medium onions. When the onions are translucent, stir in six minced garlic cloves and cook for about another minute.

The preparation is done. Now comes the onslaught of ingredients:

Add all of the following: a 14.5 oz. can of vegetable broth; a 15.5 oz. can of black beans (drained); a 15.5 oz. can of small white beans(drained); a 15.5 oz. can of small pink or red beans (drained); a 15.5 oz. can of sweet corn (drained); 1-1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes (including juice); 2 tablespoons of barbeque sauce; 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce; 1 tablespoon chili powder, and a 12 oz. bottle or can of your favorite beer. (You can go with a high end beer if you like, but a lower-end beer gives this soup a nice rough-around-the-edges quality that I think works well.) Then, just so there’s something fresh in there, add 8 ounces of sliced, fresh mushrooms.

Increase the heat to high. When the soup just starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer. After about ten minutes, season with salt and pepper to taste and add ½ a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped. After about another 5 minutes, when the soup has the desired texture, turn off the heat and add about 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice.

I hope you enjoy this easy, delicious soup as much as I do, and in as many ways as you can think of. (As mentioned above, the fact that it’s a fairly thick soup also makes it a very versatile topping for rice (as in the photo at right), pasta, etc.) If you’d like a cookbook style, notebook ready copy of this recipe, just say the word and it shall be so.

See you next week! Till then, stay well, keep it about the food, and always remember to kiss the cook. ;-)


  1. Ben, I think there's nothing more comforting than pot of soup at the ready and your soup looks delicious!!


  2. Thank you, Bonnie. I'm glad you like it! In addition to the taste, I like the substantial texture this soup has. And there's something about using the canned ingredients that feels just a wonderfully bit naughty.

  3. I love your soup, Ben. It looks comforting and delicious. Have a good week. Blessings...Mary

  4. Thanks, Mary! This recipe has been a favorite for a long time. I'm glad you like it!

  5. I love bean soup, and yes, beer AND bacon?? I love!!!

  6. I love bean soups! They're so inexpensive to make, full of flavor, low in fat and calories and packed with complex carbs and protein. What's not to like?

  7. Thank you, Kim and Rachael! Beans really are pretty amazing for all the benefits they contain. And, as Kim noted, once you add beer and bacon to pretty much anything you are practically guaranteed a winner. (Not to tease, but there is another beer-based recipe scheduled for the week after next. :-) )