This is a hearty, nourishing stew that is perfect for a cold winter day.
1 lb or so of dry black beans, soaked and cooked, cooking liquid reserved (I removed about 2 cups of cooked beans to store in the freezer for another day)
2 big sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 or 3 medium onions, chopped
5-10 cloves garlic (you can leave them whole or mince/crush)
1 bunch of collard greens, stemmed (keep the stems!) and chopped
2 bell peppers, any color, seeded and diced
1 small can tomato paste
Seasoning suggestions: bay leaf, oregano, cumin, cilantro, cayenne, fresh hot peppers, etc. A squeeze of lime is nice for serving, too.
1. Start with your cooked beans simmering in their own broth. Add garlic, onion, bay leaf, and any other dried seasonings you choose to use. Save fresh herbs for the end. Keep it simmering while you chop other things.
2. Finely mince the stems from the collards. I did this by putting them into the food processor whole and pulsing until they were in little tiny bits. I also threw the onions and half the garlic with them, but that’s because I’m lazy, not because it’s necessary. Feel free to chop everything by hand if you are less lazy than me, or don’t have a food processor.
3. Add the sweet potatoes, minced stems, and tomato paste to the pot. You may need to add a little more water at this point too. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft and flavors have melded, 10-20 mins. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then add the peppers and simmer some more.
4. Steam the collard leaves until bright green and tender, or if you have a big enough pot (I don’t), just throw them in the soup with the peppers and cook until they wilt. Add any fresh herbs once all the vegetables are soft. Serve the stew over the steamed greens and garnish with some hot sauce and nutritional yeast, or a squeeze of lime or a dash of apple cider vinegar.
I like this soup because there’s so little waste. Why throw those stems away? When I make collards or kale on their own, I always chop up the stems and saute them with the onions, so I thought, “Why can’t I put them in the soup too?” The results are delicious, and I hardly had to put any scraps in the garbage. Bonus of extra fiber!