Smoky flavor plus nutritional powerhouse ingredients of black beans, pumpkin and tomatoes, this frightfully hearty soup can be made with things you probably have in your pantry. Better yet, it goes together in just a few minutes. For a vegetarian or vegan version, use homemade vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. If you don’t have smoked spices, use regular black pepper and paprika. Optional garnishes make it fun and customizable for everyone. For an extra-smooth soup, puree it again at the end.
1/4 teaspoon Ground chipotle pepper, or more for heat.
Kosher salt, to taste
1 15oz can organic pure pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
2-3 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar
Puree beans and tomatoes with half of the chicken broth in a large capacity blender, like a Vitamix. If you have a smaller capacity blender you may need to do it in two batches.
In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium low heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, translucent and fragrant.
Add spices, stir and cook for a minute or two.
Stir in black bean-tomato puree, pumpkin, the rest of the broth and sherry (if using). Simmer uncovered until blended and thickened, about 15-2- minutes. Add vinegar and serve.
optional garnishes: grated cheese, crumbled quest fresco, diced fresh tomato, sliced green onions or chives, crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, diced avocado and chopped cilantro
To make the fun web design, here’s what to do. Use a thinned combination of low fat sour cream, yogurt, or as I did, a combination of yogurt and a little pumpkin puree thinned with water. It needs to be liquid enough to squeeze out and hold shape, but not too thin so it disappears in the soup. Use a funnel to pour the “cream” into a small squeeze bottle or plastic zip bag with a tiny corner snipped off. Start in the center and swirl circles outward. Next take a chopstick or something similar and pull streams out from the center to create a web. Practice on a small plate if you need to. This also works with many other sauces, especially dessert sauces for painting a pretty plate.