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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tortilla Soup

In August I am teaching a one-day workshop on Metta (Loving-Kindness) and Hatha Yoga. I've requested that since I am teaching this and we are offering lunch, that the lunch provided be vegan. I just can't get behind the thought of teaching either things when the food isn't also sending the message of great compassion. The only request back was that I suggest a recipe I would like cooked.

In August there will be fresh zucchinis and tomatoes in great abundance. In recognition of these seasonal treats I've suggested that tortilla soup be served. It is light and should not feel too heavy for the work of meditation and yoga, much less the heat of August. At the same time the black beans give the soup some substance to sustain everyone for the rest of the day. The mix of citrus and tomatoes are lively and bright.

The Stuff
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds (*optional)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced
  • 3 large carrots, halved and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 2 small/medium (10") zucchinis, diced
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I used Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes) OR 3 1/2 cups diced, fresh tomatoes
  • 3 cups cooked, black beans (or approximately two 15oz cans)
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 1 t powdered cumin (more if not using cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t sweet, smoked paprika (or more, to taste)
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • lime wedges
The Making

Heat oil in the bottom of a stock pot and add cumin seeds (if using). When seeds begin to darken and pop, add onions. When onions become translucent add in garlic and saute until fragrant. Add in diced celery and carrots, let vegetables cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to caramelize. Add in diced bell pepper and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add water, tomatoes, and zucchini. Cover, bring up to near boil and then reduce heat. Add in lime juice, spices and black beans. Stir, cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender; about 25 minutes. Stir some fresh cilantro into the soup before serving.

While soup is simmering cut tortillas into very thin slices and toast under low broil until crunchy. Set aside as garnish.

Serve soup with more fresh cilantro, the diced avocado, toasted tortilla strips and lime wedges.

Makes about 6 quarts.

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