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It's the second meatless Friday in Lent and Black Bean Soup is on the menu

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The Christian season of Lent lasts forty days; however, with the Holy Day of Good Friday, there are seven Lenten Fridays in all. For observing Catholics, this means seven meatless Friday dinners to prepare.

Last week’s meatless Friday recipe, Vegetable Lasagna, was a good meal to get into the swing of abstaining from meat on Fridays. This week’s suggestion, Black Bean Soup, is also a hearty way to give up meat, yet still consume a nutritious meal.

The following Black Bean Soup recipe is adapted from one found on allrecipes.com. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of cubed ham, which are eliminated in this recipe to make it meatless. To keep the same consistency, an extra can of beans is substituted for the ham. In addition, the chicken broth in the original recipe was changed to vegetable broth, again to eliminate meat. Also eliminated from the original recipe is the garnish of sour cream to save on calories.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 (15 ounce) cans black beans
1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (for garnish)

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until tender.
3. Mix in 1 can of beans and the vegetable broth.
4. In a blender, puree the second can of beans until smooth. Add to the pot.
5. Bring ingredients in the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
6. Mix in the third can of beans, cumin, salt, and pepper.
7. Simmer 20 minutes.
8. Garnish with shredded Cheddar cheese.

Add some tortilla chips or crusty Italian bread and a salad, and dinner is done.

Want to expand your legume recipe repertoire? A great book is "Easy Beans: Fast and Delicious Bean, Pea, and Lentil Recipes" by Trisha Ross.

Check back next Friday for a recipe for the third meatless Friday in Lent. Also coming soon are more St. Patrick’s Day recipes.

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