Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream

As a food blogger, I sometimes have to make decisions, which I’m not particularly good at doing. I must decide if I’m posting regularly enough, if I have something interesting enough to post, if I have something original enough to post…it’s a hard knock life. Okay, it’s not all that hard. But sometimes I think no one will possibly be interested in what I’ve made and I have to decide if it’s worth posting. There are a million black bean soup recipes on the internet and in every basic cookbook. Who needs another one? Especially one that has nothing original about it. It’s true I didn’t consult any recipes when I made black bean soup tonight – I just made it. But it’s also true there’s absolutely nothing special about it. However, it’s also true that after getting a second helping, Mark said it was “totally awesome” and I rather agreed, and in cases like that I err on the side of posting instead of not. For one thing, I do sometimes refer to my own blog to recall how I made something I want to repeat, or improve, so if nothing else I’m doing it for myself. But for another thing, I like reading other blogs even when they are about something I’ve made a bunch of times before. For one thing, I think it’s interesting to see how other people think and cook even basic things, and for another, even if I don’t learn anything, sometimes I’m simply reminded I haven’t had something in a while. So, I’m sorry, but tonight I haven’t made anything that will make you gasp in surprise, and I haven’t visited anywhere exotic or special, and my cats haven’t even done anything particularly photogenic. All that’s happened is I made a simple black bean soup and it was good. And that’s tonight’s post.

Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream

10 oz dried beans, cooked (I quick-soaked mine for an hour in boiling water, then cooked in the pressure cooker for about 8 minutes) (this is probably about the equivalent of 2 cans)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 huge or 2 normal-sized carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 ear of corn, shucked and kernels cut off
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp cumin
6 cups vegan broth, either vegetable or “chicken” flavored
1 cube frozen cilantro, or 3 Tbsp fresh, chopped
juice of one lemon, plus additional lemon wedges for serving

Avocado Cream
1 avocado
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
juice of 1/2 lime

Blend together the avocado cream ingredients and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, saute the onions, carrots, and celery in some hot oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. When the vegetables are soft, add the garlic and saute another minute or two, then add the rest of the soup ingredients except the lemon. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for half an hour, then puree, making it as smooth or chunky as you prefer, using an immersion blender. (Or let cool slightly, then blend in batches in a regular blender.) Stir in the lemon juice. Serve topped with the avocado cream and with lemon wedges on the side for drizzling.

Another sign I shouldn’t be boring the internet with another black bean soup recipe is the fact it was IMPOSSIBLE to take a photo of it. I’m a pretty mediocre food photographer, but I was struggling even more than usual tonight. The problem is I have no patience when I’m hungry, which is why my blog will never be as beautiful as Hannah’s of Bittersweet or Ksenia’s of Tales of a Spoon, or a lot of other food bloggers out there. Moreover, the avocado cream was heavier than I thought and sank into the soup. What you’re seeing in the picture is just, as they say, the tip of the iceberg. Then I accidentally dropped the lemon wedge into the soup and it also sank. It is, however, supporting the second, visible lemon wedge. And then the lighting, which is the same lighting I take 95% of my final-dish pictures in, was just horrible today, more so than usual for an unknown reason. And black bean soup is really boring-looking to being with. IT WAS VERY HARD BEING A FOOD BLOGGER TONIGHT. But this is it! I’m keeping it real! This is my crappy picture of my delicious-but-not-innovative black bean soup! ENJOY!

It’s a good thing I have cats to fall back on. They are like a crutch for the uninspired food blogger. Look, it’s Gomez! He’s more interesting – and far more beautiful – than my food!


  1. Jain Said,

    July 9, 2011 @ 6:57 am

    “i eat food” is my very favorite food blog and I’m always pleased to see a new post. I love the step-by-step prep photos; you changed my life with the cast iron, bread, and sauerkraut tutorials; your writing style is entertaining and fun to read; and your photos are (usually ;o) terrific. I’m a groupie and I’ve forwarded your blog to lots of folks. Which is my long-winded way of saying please don’t ever hesitate to post an “ordinary” recipe.

    Avocado cream is new to me and I never would have thought to plop it on black beans… yum!

    That’s a beautiful photo of Gomez – I have black dogs and they’re notoriously hard to photograph.

  2. susan Said,

    July 9, 2011 @ 7:07 am

    I never blend my black bean soups and now I will give it a try, something new for me!

    Gomez looks so soft and perfect.

  3. Josiane Said,

    July 9, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    I say your simple black bean soup was absolutely worthy of a post! Shame on it, though, for giving you such a hard time taking its picture. 😉 No, seriously, I’m no photography expert but I quite like the pic; there’s something in the way the light hits the bright avocado cream after having caressed the dark soup…

  4. renae Said,

    July 9, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    Jain, thank you for your kind words! When I’m feeling uninspired, it’s nice to know there are people out there who appreciate even the more mundane posts.

    Susan, Gomez is very soft, and he didn’t earn the nickname Perfection for nothing!

    Josiane, thank you, too – I know I’ll always get an encouraging comment from you and it means a lot.

  5. FoodFeud Said,

    July 10, 2011 @ 12:15 am

    I like to read other people’s renditions of classic recipes anyway – plus a black bean soup is something I rarely search out but always enjoy stumbling upon, so this is definitely worthwhile! We all need a little prodding in the right direction if nothing else.
    Also, it’s fun to hear about your photography mishaps or your blogging laments – I’m a huge klutz and I always wonder if there’s anyone else out there who spills half their plate on the floor after taking a gorgeous photo, or if the avocado cream sinks seconds afterwards 😉
    Keep up the great work (and cat photos!)

  6. radioactivegan Said,

    July 10, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

    I love black bean soup, and any totally awesome version needs to be shared! Plus, any excuse to post more kitty pictures is okay by me.

  7. Stephen Said,

    July 10, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    I’m going to make this for Fred.

  8. labwriter Said,

    July 18, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

    Black bean soup is one of my very favorites. You could probably call me a soup freak, since I love to eat soup and to collect soup recipes. I would have to agree that this recipe looks “totally awesome.” I usually put a shot or half-shot of sherry in my bb soup, but that’s for winter. Your avocado cream is the perfect addition for this soup in the summer.

    I also want to say that I hugely enjoy your blog. Food photography is hard, as anyone knows who has tried it, and I would say, don’t sweat it. Your recipes are so good and your pics are great.

  9. Sailu Said,

    September 20, 2011 @ 2:42 pm

    I love the idea of Avocado cream. Simple pleasures of life. Lovely!

    Sailu @ Indian Recipes and Indian Recipes for Kids

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