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Cuban Black Bean Soup

Cuban Black Bean Soup

Joyce Sunde


  • 1 small onion chopped

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder

  • 2 teaspoon of cumin

  • 2   15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup of frozen corn

  • 3 cups of vegetable broth

  • ½ cup of prepared salsa of choice

  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice

  • ½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro


Line your soup pot with a thin layer of veggie broth. Saute your onion over a high heat until it's translucent, or for about 2-3 minutes.

Add the chili powder and cumin, stirring to combine. Then add the beans, corn, vegetable broth and salsa.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Garnish with chopped green onions, vegan sour cream or broken corn chips, if desired.

You can also drizzle with hot sauce or add cayenne pepper to taste, as well.

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Special to the Press-Citizen

'I can't imagine ever going back': These vegan recipes sure to please even the carnivores in your family.

Nine years ago, motivated by a goal to lose some weight, I watched the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and came away confident that I could embrace a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle and achieve optimum health at the same time. 

To accomplish this — and with Lent approaching — I decided to switch to a WFPB diet on a trial basis, as I knew I could give up anything for six weeks. Within 7-10 days of the change, all my cravings for salt, sugar and fats had vanished and were replaced with cravings for fresh fruits and vegetables. By the time Easter rolled around, I knew I could eat this way permanently, and I never looked back. And, yes, not only did I lose excess weight, but I have also kept it off. I have never felt better.

I keep my diet and food choices simple by eating close to nature (meaning raw or with minimal preparation), shopping in the produce aisles and health food sections of grocery stores and at farmer’s markets. I choose organic when possible, unless it is cost-prohibitive, and avoid almost all processed foods. I opt for frozen fruits and vegetables over canned, and I limit canned foods to mostly limited to one-ingredient items, such as beans, pumpkin, etc. — with no added salt.

To consume only lightly processed foods, the key to making healthy choices is to not read the front of the product label but rather to go to the list of ingredients. Aim for products with a short ingredient list — preferably four ingredients or fewer — with names that are recognizable. Look for words ending in “ose,” which means sugar. Watch for animal products, which may come in the form of lactose, casein and lactic acid. If cholesterol is greater the 0%, that is an indication an animal product is present.

Try to eat seasonally and locally. Consume lots of fresh salads with healthy greens, such as spinach, kale or Swiss chard — beets, collards, dandelions and mustard greens are good options, too, if you're feeling adventurous. Eat fresh fruits, berries and melons in the summertime. Fall and winter invite hearty soups, stews and pasta dishes chock full of root vegetables, beans or lentils. Stir-fried veggies served in a bowl with rice, quinoa or couscous is another great option and is quick and easy, too.

A favorite meal of mine that is super easy is black beans, "dirty rice" (a local grocery store brand is vegan) and roasted sweet potatoes or squash. Cuban Black Bean Soup served with vegan cornbread is another favorite and is on the menu every Christmas Eve at my house. Even the carnivores in my family love it.

I prefer to make most of my meals at home where I have control over the ingredients and preparation. To facilitate the process, I recommend having a good quality chef’s knife (and learn how to use it properly) and a cutting board to make chopping and dicing easier and quicker. Also handy is an Insta-Pot or similar electric pressure cooker for making beans from scratch and to shorten cooking times for soups, stews or pasta dishes. Other recommended small kitchen appliances are a food processor, rice cooker and a good, quality blender.

This journey I set out on nine years ago has truly been an experience with many unexpected benefits that reach far beyond my health and weight goals. Since I do not eat out as often as before and by not purchasing processed foods, meat or dairy products, my grocery bill is much lower. My life has been enriched by participating in the Vegan Community of Eastern Iowa Meet-up Group, where I enjoy the comradery of like-minded friends who share ideas, food and recipes. The more I read and learn about whole-food, plant-based veganism, the more I appreciate that one simple lifestyle change can have long-term, world-changing, lasting effects. It is good for the environment, animals, wildlife, water conservation and our ecosystems, as well as helping to alleviate world hunger.

My commitment to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle has not only improved my physical health, but my spiritual and mental well-being, too. I can't imagine ever going back.

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