Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers' Day

Happy Mothers' Day!  I always move the apostrophe after the "s" because this is a day celebrating all mothers (including Mother Earth) and not just one.  My own mother prefers to celebrate the day before so as to avoid restaurant crowds and we brunched yesterday with my brother, my 9-month-old niece, and my cousin.  This is my sister-in-law's first official Mothers' Day.

One of my favorite vegan cookbook authors, Dreena Burton, happens to be the mother of three vibrant, hockey-playing daughters in Canada.  She has written a number of blog posts about parenting and her cookbook, Vive le Vegan, features an entire section on the subject of feeding vegan babies and toddlers.  In fact, each of her five cookbooks are full of delicious, healthful recipes that are also mindful of picky children's palates.  So it seemed appropriate to share her new eBook today.

Plant-Powered 15 is a collection of oil-free recipes of the weekday variety, including breakfast foods, salad dressings, pasta, burgers, easy desserts, and the above Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes (photograph by Nicole Axworthy).  Dreena was kind enough to offer the recipe to my readers.  May this soup be a nourishing meal for you and those you love.

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes

This soup has an irresistible quality, the flavors are deep and earthy with some
sweetness from the potatoes. Don’t let the number of ingredients intimidate you - they
build layers of flavor, but this soup is not at all difficult to make!

1-2 tbsp water
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups chopped onions (one large onion)
1 1/2 cups combination of chopped red peppers and green peppers
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste (generous is good)
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp allspice (rounded)
1/4 tsp (or less/more, to taste) red pepper flakes
4 medium-large cloves garlic, minced or grated
4 1/2 - 5 cups black beans (reserve 1 cup; this is three 14 or 15 oz cans)
3 cups water
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 - 1 tsp pure maple syrup
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups cubed (in small chunks, about 1/2”) yellow sweet potato (or can substitute
white potato)
Chopped cilantro for serving
Extra lime wedges for serving
Chopped avocado tossed with lemon juice and dash of salt, for serving

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add water, onions, red and green peppers, salt
and pepper, cumin seeds, oregano, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Let cook for 5-
7 minutes until onions and peppers start to soften. Add garlic. Cover, reduce heat
to medium, and let cook another few minutes to soften garlic - if sticking/burning,
add another splash of water. After a few minutes of cooking, add 3 1/2 cups beans
(reserving one cup of beans), water, tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, and maple syrup
(start with 1/2 tsp). Using an immersion blender, puree soup until fairly smooth. Increase
heat to bring to boil, add bay leaf and diced sweet potatoes, then once at boil reduce
and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add remaining cup of black beans and extra maple
syrup if desired (taste test). Stir through, let simmer for another few minutes, then serve,
topping with cilantro if desired and with lime wedges. Also delicious to top soup with

some chopped seasoned avocado or a simple guacamole. Serves 4-5 as main course.

Sweet Potato Tip: Sometimes I have leftover sweet potato home fries that have been
seasoned with just sea salt. If so, I take a recipe and chopping shortcut and simply add
these to my soup during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, just to heat through.

Recipe from “Plant-Powered 15” by Dreena Burton. For more recipes and information,

Photo credit: Nicole Axworthy