Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Spicy Black Bean Soup
One of the readers of Finding My Fitness sent me this recipe a while back, and I pulled it out over the weekend. It turned out really well, my only tip is to make sure the beans are cooked fully!

It’s a hearty, filling, spicy soup (the spice can be modified to your taste) that I could see myself making over and over again.

I decided to do it as a fully vegetarian dish. I’m the kind of guy who says I would be sad if I could never eat meat again, but if the meals were like this, I probably wouldn’t miss it.

One of these days when I put together my slow-carb vegetarian recipe list, this will be in it.

Enjoy!

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Spicy Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 qt vegetable stock
  • 4 cups black beans, cooked, rinsed, and drained
  • 2 Cups Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup spicy salsa (the one I used is a chipotle, which I think enhanced the flavor a lot)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil to large soup pot and heat.
  2. Add onion and chili powder and stir till the onions are soft.
  3. Add the stock, then the black beans, tomatoes, hot sauce, salsa and bring to the boil. Bring the heat down so it is simmering and leave for 30 mins. Add salt & pepper to taste. Stir regularly!
  4. When it's cooked enough, use an immersion blender to more or less puree the soup.

Will puts some sour cream in his if it’s too spicy (which you see in the photo), but it’s not necessary. If you *need* something like that to make it smoother, I’d use some full-fat greek yogurt instead. But if you can handle dairy and aren’t impeded in your fat loss, I can’t stop you from using sour cream!

What’s your favorite vegetarian soup recipe?

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Slow Carb and Paleo Asian Lettuce Wraps

I love Asian food, but going out to eat regularly just isn’t an option when you have no idea what is going into your food and have no control over it.

Sure, some items on the menu are going to be better than others, and they certainly aren’t as bad as downing a loaf of bed, but when you’re trying to be strict with your Slow Carb or Paleo diet, these little sneaky condiments can completely derail all your positive efforts.

Lots of restaurant Asian dishes contain MSG and sugar.  Most contain soy sauce and/or oyster sauce, both of which have wheat/gluten in them.

This is an easy mid-week meal I can prep in about 15 minutes when I’m craving Asian food and don’t want to worry about “mystery ingredients”.  I love this recipe because it is so simple to switch up the flavor combos  with different spices or add whatever veggies you have sitting in the fridge.  It also travels well for work-lunch leftovers and can be eaten hot or cold.

Slow Carb or Paleo Lettuce Cups

Ingredients

  • Lettuce leaves (Boston lettuce or Napa Cabbage works well)
  • 1 Tbs macadamia nut oil
  • 1lb ground meat (works well with ground turkey, chicken or pork mince)
  • Minced garlic 1-5 cloves (I use about 5 cloves, but not everyone likes garlic like I do!)
  • ½ Red Onion or 1-2 shallot, finely chopped
  • ½ Tbs ginger, finely minced (I use fresh if I have it, but out of a jar is fine too)
  • 1 Tbs tamari or soy sauce (preferably gluten free!)
  • Cilantro (or coriander as they call it down under) to garnish.  You could also use Thai basil or mint.
  • Chilli Garlic Paste or Sambal Oelek to taste

***Extras and variations***

For some extra protein and crunch, I add chopped nuts at the very end.  Peanuts work well for Slow Carb-ers.  For Paleo-ites, try macadamia nuts.

Diced veggies like zucchini, green beans or mushrooms (or whatever is about to go “off” in your fridge) make great add-ins.  Just toss them in for a few minutes after you’ve added the spices and sauces!

For super crunchy shells, I’ll sometimes use raw cabbage.  It’s sweet and doesn’t fall apart as easily as lettuce.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large fry pan on medium high.  Add onion  and cook till translucent but not too soft (about 2 minutes).  Add garlic and ginger and cook or another minute being careful not to burn garlic.
  2. Add meat and cook until browned.  Drain any excess grease if you wish.  I usually don’t have much, so I’ll leave it in for flavor.
  3. Add soy sauce/tamari and chilli paste
  4. Add any extras you wish.  I normally add chopped nuts and cilantro.  Sometimes I’ll add some fish sauce or a squeeze of lime.  Zucchini and mushrooms are great too if you’re looking to add more veggies.
  5. Put filling into a serving bowl and serve in lettuce cups.

Fluffy Slow Carb or Paleo Scrambled Eggs

Fluffy Paleo Scrambled Eggs

I’m in California visiting family and friends for the next week. There’s been a bit of a heat wave so we’ve been cooking up some great Slow Carb and Paleo food on the BBQ. I’ll be posting a few of those recipes in the upcoming weeks.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this video teaching you how to make the perfect scrambled eggs. Since most of us eat eggs several times a week, and this is such a basic dish, there really is something to be said about doing it well.

Enjoy, and if you have any tips on how you like to prepare your scrambled eggs, please leave a comment for others to try out.

The BEST Fluffy Scrambled Eggs!

3 Easy and Delicious Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipes

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipe

I don’t have a lot of time to shop for food during the week, so I keep a lot of frozen chicken in the freezer that I can pull out in the morning so it’ll defrost while I’m off at work. These are a handful of my go-to recipes

Chicken and Mushrooms

This is a simple two-ingredient recipe (excluding your basic pantry items) where the ingredients really shine through. For such a simple recipe with no spices, the taste is shockingly delicious. No really, it is. It made me come to the realization that I tend to drown a chicken and mushroom dish in wine sauce and am normally tasting my sauce, not the ingredients.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken and Mushrooms
Chicken and Mushrooms

Check out the video recipe here and go for it. As simple as it is, I promise you won’t be disappointed

FYI – I used chicken thighs (no skin) instead of his recommended chicken breast (skin on), and it turned out great. I’d recommend using free-range organic chicken and organic grass-fed butter. Not necessary, but it’ll make the dish all the more delicious.

Tarragon Chicken

Mmmmmmmm. Total French-cooking comfort food! This is one of those dishes to make you appreciate that you aren’t watching your calories or fat content.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipe
Tarragon Chicken

This Nigella Lawson recipe is great for those who want to simplify this traditional French dish.  For those Slow Carb-ing, you may want to halve the cream to keep it within Tim Ferris’ suggested serving size. I don’t bother, but I also don’t make rich dishes like this more than once a week.

Check out the recipe on Food Network here.

Roast Chicken Two Ways

There are so many different ways to roast a chicken, ranging from simply seasoning the bird and popping it in the oven to a bit more complex methods of messing around with special racks, trussing and basting.  It’s a bit overwhelming knowing where to start if you’re a novice chef.

Slow Carb and Paleo Chicken Recipes
Roasted Chicken

When I learned Thomas Keller does a pretty basic roast chicken (no basting, no buttering), it confirmed to me that there is absolutely no reason to get all fancy with it. If it’s good enough for Thomas Keller, it’s good enough for me…and you.

Check out a video as he walks you through it here

Thomas Keller Perfect Roast Chicken

I love that roasting a chicken is a low-involvement process. Once the bird is in the oven, you can set the timer and don’t have to think about it until it’s done.

Now for the chicken “two ways” :

#1 Classic Roast Chicken – If company is coming over, I follow Keller’s basic roast chicken recipe. And, if it’s just for me, sometimes I can’t even be bothered to truss the chicken. Instead I simply turn it upside down so the breasts are on the bottom (keeps them juicy), season with salt and pepper and roast it. It’s still pretty good.
#2 Curry Roasted Chicken – For those times, when a roast chicken sounds a bit blah, and I’m looking for some kick, I use this equally simple method. Find a jar of curry paste with no added sugar or other fillers (check ingredients and carb counts.) I use Valcom.  Coat the chicken with paste and roast on the bottom rack of your oven for approximately 50 minutes at 425F.

On occassion, I’ll make fresh curry paste, but it’s a bit of an effort so if I do that, I’ll normally use the paste to make an actual curry.  This is really just a quick fix.

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Slow Carb Spinach with Bacon, Garlic and Onions

Slow Carb Diet Spinach

Spinach is a staple for most people on the Slow Carb Diet, but plain old spinach all the time can get a boring rather quickly.  Here’s a quick little side dish I came up with to make the spinach a bit more enticing and possibly even the highlight of your meal.

Slow Carb Diet Spinach
Slow Carb Spinach and Bacon

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs macadamia nut oil
  • 1 small onion,  diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 24 oz (about 10 cups or two 12oz bags) of raw baby spinach
  • 1 cup chopped, diced bacon

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan.
  2. Add onions and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 more minutes.
  4. Add bacon and continue cooking until bacon is cooked through.
  5. Add spinach in batches, and keep adding more as the spinach cooks down.  You can add as much or as little as you want.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Slow Carb Blackened Salmon (or chicken)

Slow Carb Blackened Salmon or Chicken Recipe

Cajun-style seasonings are a great way to liven up a salmon fillet.   If you don’t care for fish, this same seasoning can be used on chicken as well.

I like to grill up several pieces and serve over a bed of fresh, uncooked baby spinach.  If that doesn’t appeal to you, serve with cooked greens or a salad.

Slow Carb Blackened Salmon or Chicken Recipe
Blackened salmon on a bed of fresh baby spinach

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • ¼ Tbs cayenne pepper
  • ½ Tbs onion or garlic powder
  • 1 t sea salt
  • ¼ t white ground pepper (black is fine if you don’t have this)
  • ¼ fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ t Italian herbs (basil, thyme, oregano and/or herb blend)
  • 4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 Tbs ghee or macadamia nut oil

Directions

  1. Mix all spices in a small bowl.
  2. Coat salmon fillets evenly with the spices on both sides.
  3. Heat ghee or oil in a large, heavy skillet.   Over high heat, cook salmon until blackened about 2 minutes.  Turn fillets and reduce heat to medium.  Continue cooking until blackened and fish is easily flaked with a fork, about 2-3 minutes.

Alternative Slow Carb Breakfast – Chilli Omelette

Slow Carb Breakfast Chilli Omelette

I’m always looking for alternative breakfast ideas for the Slow Carb Diet.  With leftover chilli sitting in the fridge at least once a week, I thought, why not turn the chilli into breakfast – a great way to get protein, beans and veggies in quick.  This omelette takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and gives you a break from the standard scrambled eggs.

Slow Carb Breakfast Chilli Omelette
Slow Carb Chilli Omelette

Ingredients

  • Leftover chilli (or a can of chilli with no sugar or other added junk)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites

Directions

  1. Whisk eggs, egg whites, salt and pepper until well combined.
  2. Heat skillet to medium-low and add oil or ghee.
  3. Add eggs and cook until bottom and sides are set but center is liquid, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Spoon chili over eggs, covering eggs, and cook – covered – until eggs are almost set, 4-6 minutes.
  5. Let sit 5 minutes. Cut omelette into 2-4 wedges before serving.

Slow Roasted Puerto Rican “Pernil” Pork Shoulder

Slow Carb Pork Recipe

I found this recipe in a roundup of NY Times “Minimalist” recipes.  I cooked the pork a bit longer than the recommended 3 hours, and it was flavorful and tender, as expected from a cut of meat that cooks for hours over a low heat.

I served the pork over a roasted garlic and butter bean mash and raw cabbage slaw.    The recipe made enough for my boyfriend and I have dinner plus a week’s worth of lunches for me.

The butter bean mash wasn’t much of a hit (hence no recipe), but the pork was a winner.  Next time I’ll be trying a different side dish.

Slow Carb Pork Recipe
Slow Roasted Puerto Rican Pork over Garlic Butter Bean Mash

Ingredients

1 pork shoulder, 4 to 7 pounds (or use fresh ham)

4 or more cloves garlic, peeled

1 large onion, quartered

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chili powder

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil as needed

1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar

Lime wedges for serving.

Directions

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Score meat’s skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, chili, salt and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. (Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle.) Blend in the vinegar.

2. Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours (a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours), turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking if necessary.

3. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.

Homemade Slow Carb Sausage Patties

Slow Carb Sausage Recipe

I haven’t been able to find any commercially available breakfast sausages in Australia that are Slow Carb friendly, so today I decided to make my own.  It was quick, easy, and I like that I know exactly what when in them, which isn’t always the case when you go store-bought.

I used ground pork mince for these sausages, but feel free to use turkey, chicken  or beef as well.  You can also cook up a big batch of these to either freeze or refrigerate and reheat as needed throughout the week.

Slow Carb Sausage Recipe
Slow Carb Pork Sausage Patties

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 ½ t salt
  • ½ t white pepper
  • ½ t garlic powder
  • ½ t cayenne pepper
  • ½ t fennel seeds
  • Sprinkle of dried red chilli flakes (if you like them spicier)

Directions

  1. Thoroughly mix all spices into the meat
  2. Form into patties
  3. Brown patties in a skillet over medium heat.

Note: If your meat is pretty lean, you may want to add a bit of oil to the pan first.

How to Cook Lentils for the Slow Carb Diet

In the Four Hour Body, Tim recommends buying canned beans and lentils because they’re quick and easy.  True, and if that’s the only way you’re going to incorporate them into your eating, plan, go for the cans.

The downside to can beans is that there can be a lot of sodium.  Yes, of course you can rinse, but according to Eating Well magazine’s nutritional analysis, rinsing canned beans thoroughly removes up to 35 percent of sodium.  If you’re watching your sodium intake, you may want to try cooking your own.

Canned beans are also considerably more expensive.  On average in Australia, a small bag of dried lentils will yield me 10-12 servings and is about $3.00.  A single can on lentils  range anywhere from .75 to $1.75 – not horrifically expensive by any means, but if your household is consuming lentils at the same rate as mine, this savings does add up.  Things are a bit more expensive in Australia as well, so I’d imagine you can get bulk lentils fairly cheap in the US at a local market or co-op, like Rainbow Grocers in San Francisco.

The basic preparation for lentils is the same, no matter what the end recipe.   I do a large batch and put the lentils into  containers to refrigerate and  then make smaller batches with different seasonings throughout the week.  My favorite recipe is still Spiced Bacon Lentils.   You can also also cook in a broth or stock and add spices in directly during the cooking process.

Here is the basic recipe:

  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in cold water, removing any leaves, twigs, or stones
  2. Cover the lentils with cold water, using 4 cups of water for each cup of lentils.
  3. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Cook the lentils for 35-45 minutes, or until tender.

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