Winter Pinto Bean Soup 花豆浓汤

Nothing beats fresh produce. Though flash-frozen vegetables have been said to have nutrients locked at source and comparable to fresh vegetables in terms of nutrition, frozen vegetables often end up as back-ups, reserves or for emergencies especially when one is pressed for cooking time e.g. Artichoke and Pea Pizza using frozen vegetables.

Likewise for beans, the texture, taste (and price) of dried beans cannot beat their canned counterparts. But let's say you have 30 minutes to whip up something quick? Something quick like a creamy bean soup, perhaps? And 30 minutes starting from prep. to a done dish.

With dried beans, that can never be achieved. Eliminating the step that dried beans usually needs to be soaked overnight, cooking pre-soaked beans to tender already takes at least 20-30 minutes. In that sense, canned beans do come in handy, very handy. Well, making homemade bean soup in 30 minutes or less, is an intermediate solution - for those who do no have time (or plan) to make the soup from scratch using dried beans; and for those who does not succumb to ready-made canned bean soups which often (and in many cases) are high in sodium and may contain a list of undesirable ingredients.

So, get a good quality (e.g. organic, low sodium) canned beans - that is surely an easier task to finding a good quality canned soup and make a good enough tasty chunky bean soup using some of these cheat-sheets tips e.g. (1) adding some salsa or pasta sauce to create some flavor complexity and intensity; (2) adding fresh tomatoes, onions and garlic and even fresh herbs for...FRESHNESS, (3) pureeing part of the soup for "creaminess" and (4) keeping some beans whole for texture profile. Then think about it, all these found in a soup made in just about 30 minutes?  Bonus, bonus AND bonus!

Winter Pinto Bean Soup 花豆浓汤
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 roma tomato, finely diced
Pinch of ground turmeric, coriander, red pepper, black and white pepper
25oz organic pinto beans
3 tbsp of good quality salsa or pasta sauce (Optional, but this will add the flavor intensity on top of the fresh ingredients used)
Sea salt to taste
Green onions finely sliced to garnish and for freshness

Directions: Saute onion, garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add spices and tomatoes, and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add canned beans, and salsa/pasta sauce. Mix well. When everything(esp the onions and tomatoes) has softened down, turn off the heat. Season with salt. Allow the mixture to cool a little but mixture should be still warm. Put in food processor or blender and pureed the mixture to creamy bean soup (also try Dairy-Free Miso Butternut Squash Soup, using soft tofu instead of dairy milk).

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