I remember a traditional black bean soup in my favorite Cuban cafe on West 72nd street. The deep, dark flavor was indescribably delicious, but oh boy it gave me gas. Well, this recipe resolves that! Sprouted beans are easy and digestible. When I learned this simple technique, my digestive issues vanished. Hooray! Even better, sprouting boosts protein content and reduces carbs. All types of sprouted beans are a potent source of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, especially important in fall and winter. Sprouting is so easy! See the 2-Step instructions below.
A few words of advice on beans. Beans aren’t considered Paleo, however many of our ancestors ate them, especially in Latin America. Here are 5 secrets to great beans: #1 secret- soak and almost sprout them. #2 – Go easy on your portions, don’t eat a lot at a time. #3 -Food combining is critical as beans contain both protein and carbs. So for best digestion, eat beans with cooked vegetables, not meats or other proteins. #4 – When cooking, wait to add salt to your beans until the end, when they’re really soft, so they’ll cook faster. If you add salt at the beginning, they’ll take twice as long to to cook. #5 – Add fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fresh ginger, bay leaf, or a 3” strip of dried kombu seaweed to beans while cooking to soften and make them even more easily digestible. I usually make a big pot of soup and freeze it in lunch-size portions. Then I can look forward to a bowl of my favorite soup on a rainy day. Serves 6.
Soak the beans in filtered water for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. A Mason jar with a screen lid works well.
- 2 cups dry black beans
- Filtered water to cover
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup olive oil or grass-fed butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 6 slices bacon, GMO-free, sugar-free, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (optional)
- 3 green onions, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt or more as needed to taste
- Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- Garnish with chopped cilantro or green onion (optional)
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- Sort through the dry beans, removing any rocks. Rinse well. Put the beans into a quart Mason jar, and fill the jar 3/4 full with filtered water. Let it sit upright for 12 hours or overnight.
- Then drain the water and rinse well. Put the jar upside down at an angle to allow air inside, so the beans can drain, in a darkened cupboard. I usually set it in a bowl - see photo. The beans need 3 days to sprout, so for 2 1/2 more days, rinse the beans daily and leave them upside down at an angle. You may see tiny roots coming out, or maybe not. This does not matter. At the end of 3 days, drain again, rinse well, and place the beans into a soup pot.
- Cover the soaked beans with filtered water in the pot, and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer. Meanwhile, add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and oil. Add optional peppers, if desired. Do not add salt until the beans are soft enough to melt in your mouth - about 1 to 1 ½ hours. At that time, sauté the bacon - if using, and add to the soup. Add green onions and vinegar or lemon juice. Season to taste.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro or green onion. Serve with a dollop of Coconut Sour Cream, if desired.