Red beans are creamier and taste slightly sweeter than the other beans and so they are mostly used only in desserts, especially in Asia. But it is really unfair to the tiny reddish pearls which are chockful of nutrients and antioxidants. This red bean soup recipe is an effort to elevate the red beans to the group of savoury soups and impart complementing flavours and take advantage of the health benefits of the red bean, in addition to its amazing colour, buttery flavour and creamy texture.
The red bean can be used instead of the kidney beans in Lemon-garlic quinoa with kidney beans or in place of the black-eyed beans in Minestrone soup with Asian spices. Just take note of the cooking time, since red bean cooks faster.
Add some gluten-free brown rice pasta and a couple of vegetables, you get an amazing, wholesome, plant-based meal in the form of a vegan soup.
Ingredients (for 4 bowls of red bean soup)
Dried red beans – 1/2 cup
Brown rice pasta – 1/2 cup
Onion – 1 large, grated
Tomato – 1, pureed
Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
Carrot – 1, diced
Potato – 1, diced
Chilli pepper – 1 whole
Bay leaf – 1
Cumin powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Cilantro for garnishing
salt and pepper to taste
Soak red beans overnight. Cook them in a pressure cooker: add 1 and a half cups of water to the soaked and drained beans, lock the pressure cooker lid in place and cook on high heat until maximum pressure is reached, then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit until the steam is completely released. You can also cook the red beans in a regular pot, it takes longer to cook, around 25 to 30 minutes.
Take 2 tablespoons of the cooked red beans and mash with some water using a blender to a smooth paste.
Cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions, drain and keep aside.
Heat olive oil in a deep pan or soup pot, saute the onions and garlic on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes without letting it brown. Add the tomato puree and mix until the mixture thickens. Add the diced carrot and potato, whole chilli pepper, bay leaf and water from the cooked red beans. Simmer on low heat until the vegetables are cooked.
Once the vegetables are cooked, remove the chilli pepper and bay leaf. Mix in the cooked red beans, red bean puree, pasta, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Add in more water if the soup is too thick. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
If you’re not particular about gluten, regular or whole wheat pasta can be used.
To get a richer colour, purple carrots can be used instead of the regular orange ones.
The chilli pepper imparts a unique flavour and doesn’t give much heat to the soup since it is boiled whole and removed soon after. However, you can omit it if you are sceptical.