Texas Spicy Black Bean and Lentil Chowder

I decided to switch it up and do a soup. Not just any boring soup. Soup can sometimes be boring. I think even chili can be boring. However, when I ran across this recipe for Texas Black Bean Chowder from Better Homes and Gardens, this was a nice shake up of the boring soup game. Black beans, corn, veggies and hot peppers in a creamy soup. Yes please. It’s even vegetarian, but not in a way that would have your meat eaters turning their nose up at it. So a lot going for this recipe. Plenty of protein and vitamin C. But, it’s not a gluten free recipe and it needs vitamin A and the calories are a bit high. No matter. I think I can make this recipe a bit healthier without sacrificing the creaminess of the soup. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed:

  • I increased the servings from 6 to 12 to lower the calories
  • I replaced the flour with cornstarch to make the recipe gluten free
  • I replaced half of the potatoes with sweet potato to increase the vitamin A.
  • I increased the bell pepper to 3 cups to increase the vitamin C.
  • I reduced the cheese to 1.5 cups to reduce the calories
  • I replaced the half and half with lite coconut milk to make more dairy free.
  • I increased the black beans to 2 cans and used a low sodium variety
  • I added lentils to bulk out the protein

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:

Texas Spicy Black Bean Chowder

Serves 12

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 3 cup chopped red sweet pepper

  • 1/2 pound chopped round red potatoes

  • 3/4 pound chopped sweet potato
  • 2 15 ounce cans low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2.5 cups brown lentils
  • 1 cup frozen corn

  • 2 4 ounces chopped green chiles

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth

  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 can light coconut milk

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese (8 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

  1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and sweet pepper; cook 5 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Add next 10 ingredients (through cumin). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes and lentils are tender.
  2. In a bowl whisk together coconut milk and cornstarch; add to soup. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Stir in cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in fresh cilantro.
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