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The world is wild, but the ingredients in your pantry are predictable. This black bean lentil soup recipe combines some shelf-stable ingredients with a couple of fresh items to create a simple and nutritious meal.
What kinds of foods should I be eating during COVID-19?
Ok so I’m not a doctor but what I can tell you is that our family is taking a lot of precautions around the types of food we’re buying. Research shows that coronavirus can live on surfaces at room temperature for up to 24 hours, for refrigerated items 72, and for frozen foods, up to 2 years.
As a household, we’ve made the decision to only buy room temperature items. If we buy refrigerated produce, we leave it at room temperature for 1-2 days and then transfer back to the fridge. This, unfortunately, means our produce choices during this time are extremely limited.
Now, I’m not telling you what to do, and I do want to acknowledge that what my household is doing is more on the extreme school of thought, but this will affect the types of recipes I post for the foreseeable future until the world is sort of back to normal. If you have questions about how we are buying food and the precautions we’ve been taking, I am happy to share those with you. Sound off in the comments below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are my pantry essentials?
My pantry essentials typically revolve around whatever salad I’m making for the week. For example, if one of the salads I’m into has walnuts like this strawberry avocado salad, I’ll buy an abundance of walnuts and then maybe use them to make a pesto sauce for something like cauliflower wellington.
I very rarely have multiple cans of beans on hand with the exception of chickpeas. They often make an appearance as a crunchy element in salads though. Check out these crunchy buffalo chickpeas for inspo there.
Otherwise, I always have a few things on hand – short grain brown rice, lentils – typically black or red, cashews, baking essentials like flour, neutral oil, baking powder, baking soda, etc., vital wheat gluten and well, that’s about it.
What’s in black bean lentil soup?
Only the finest of pantry ingredients of course! First, there are the black beans, and then the red lentils. I’ve actually also used green lentils and found that they work just as well but may require some extra cook time and an extra cup of water since they are a little firmer than red.
The recipe also calls for a couple of fresh ingredients like garlic, a jalapeño, and a red bell pepper. Since all of these items are considered to be “shelf-stable” produce aka they can last 2 days at room temperature without compromising texture, they are on my permanent list of items to purchase during lockdown and will make more appearances in recipes to come.
In addition, the recipe calls for a couple of spices like cumin, sea salt, chili powder, and oregano. I assume most folks have these spices hanging around their house. If you don’t, this recipe is pretty forgiving, you could try to add some paprika, cayenne, coriander, whatever you’ve got on hand really.
Lastly, you’ll need some vegetable broth. If you don’t have any red lentils and are using green, be aware that you might need 5 cups of broth instead of 4. Or add some water instead of broth since 4 cups are nice and handy in those 32-ounce shelf-stable containers.
Black Beans or Lentils? Which one is better for you?
When you look at the calories, they’re very similar. 1 cup of lentils contains 230 calories while black beans have 227. Lentils come in slightly lower in fat, .8 compared to .9. They’re also slightly lower in carbs by about 1 gram. Fiberwise, we’re looking at a 15.6 vs 15.0. Where they differ is protein density. While black beans have 15.2, lentils have 17.9 grams per serving.
While 2.7 grams of protein per serving more than black beans, it’s safe to say that lentils are the superior legume. However, they’re both excellent sources of nutrition and I would be happy to be stuck on a desert island (or in my house) with either ingredient.
How to make black bean lentil soup
This recipe is pretty easy – not exactly a set it and forget it kind of meal, but you can set, forget, and come back every 7 minutes to stir ensuring the bottom doesn’t burn. Start out with a nice large pot and add chopped onion, and chopped garlic with a splash of vegetable broth. After the onions are translucent, you’ll add chopped bell pepper, a chopped jalapeño, along with another splash of vegetable broth. After the peppers are cooked, you’ll add the rest of the ingredients: the black beans (drained), red lentils, vegetable broth, and spices.
Next, you’ll bring the soup to a simmer and cover. If you use red lentils, your soup will be ready in roughly 20 – 25 minutes. If you’re using green lentils, you might have to add more vegetable broth (or water if you don’t want to open a new container of broth) and wait for 35 – 45 minutes until the lentils are soft. Make sure you stir the mixture every 7-10 minutes ensuring that the soup doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make black bean lentil soup! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s Recipe Jam is Napoleon by Riki.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing your creations!
Black Bean Lentil Soup
- Large pot
- In a large pot, add onion and garlic with a splash of vegetable broth. Cook the onions until translucent and then add the red bell pepper and jalapeño and an additional splash of vegetable broth.
- While the peppers cook, rinse the red lentils a few times until the water becomes clear. Once peppers are soft, add the remaining vegetable broth, along with the beans, lentils, salt, cumin, chili powder and oregano. Bring to a simmer and cover.
- Stir the soup every 7-10 minutes ensuring it doesn't stick to the bottom and burn. After the lentils are cooked thouroughly, serve with additional oregano and red pepper flakes.