Black Bean Soup

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Enlightening Entrees!

This healthy black bean soup recipe is easy to make with canned beans. Thanks to some basic aromatics and Cuban spices, it's incredibly flavorful and delicious. This soup is naturally vegan, vegetarian and gluten free. The recipe yields quite a bit of soup (6 to 8 servings)—it is easily halved, or you can freeze the leftovers.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped fine
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
4½ teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (use ¼ teaspoon if you're sensitive to spice)
4 (15-ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, to taste, or 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Optional garnishes: diced avocado, sour cream, extra cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, tortilla chips and whatever else your imagination can think of...

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat until simmering. Add the onions, celery and carrot and a light sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the beans and broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook, reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the broth is flavorful and the beans are very tender, about 30 minutes.

Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth (beware the steam that escapes from the top of the blender, it's very hot). Return the pureed soup to the pot, stir in the cilantro, vinegar/lime juice and salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish and serve.