Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cranberry Bean Soup (No Added Fat)

My daughter had vacation last week and I had planned on getting away for a few days to the mountains (my wife had to work), but we had rain forecast. I taught Thursday night and then took advantage of a small window of time to get away to the beach Friday for one night. I had to get back as today was the first annual Triangle Vegfest and I was the opening speaker.

What a great festival! I had nothing to do with organizing this - there was a very well organized person who put it together so well, with speakers like Gene Baur, Karen Davis, local slow-cooking author (what a nice blog!) Kathy Hester; outdoor activities including live bands; many vendors; food demonstrations; yoga classes; and more.

We got home with a tired kiddo; I made a quick meal for her while I prepared a bean soup. It is suddenly a bit cooler today, and I was in the mood for a hearty bean soup. Sometime soon I'd like to make a multi-bean soup, but for today I worked with cranberry beans.

I didn't have any soaked beans, so increased the cooking time from 20-25 minutes to 28 minutes. Initially, I had thought of cooking in two parts, adding vegetables like carrot and some greens for a second 3-minute high-pressure cooking, but decided to use broccoli stalks chopped fine and perhaps overcooked bell pepper strips and rely on the flavor, particularly of the stalks, to just do one cycle (of course, onion was included; if my Dad weren't visiting, I'd add garlic). Here is what I did.

  • 3/4 cup cranberry beans
  • Vegan bouillon cube
  • 3/4 medium onion cut into large 1/2" cubes (app. 1 cup)
  • Medium bell pepper cut into approx. 1/4"x3/4" strips (app. 1 cup)
  • 3T broccoli stalk chopped into fine 1/8" cubes
  • 3 cups water (I used boiling water to hasten the cooking)
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly diced into 1/8" pieces or so
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 2T miso
  • 1 medium shallot chopped into 3/8" cubes - approx. 3T
  • 1/2 t (or to taste) red chili powder
  • (Optional) Hot sauce, salt, and/or freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Rinse and drain the beans
  2. Put all of the ingredients (I skipped the garlic as my Dad doesn't eat garlic) except the miso, shallot, oregano, and chili powder in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and put in just enough water to cover the beans; cook on high pressure for 28m (but see Results section below - I should have cooked for 32m)
  3. Let the pressure cooker cool down a bit (putting a moist towel on top helps) and then slowly reduce pressure and remove the top
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and serve
I also made some mashed potato and served a salad.


The soup was good but the beans were still a bit firm. My wife ate it as it was, but I put the pot back in (including the additional ingredients - I should have also added a carrot sliced into maybe 3/8" thick slices) for four more minutes. At this point, my Dad and I really enjoyed the soup. It was surprisingly a bit spicy - this batch of chili powder must be quite hot. The bell pepper wasn't mushy but was plenty soft, and went well with the other ingredients.

Ideas for the future

I would go with 32 or even 33 minutes of cooking time next time, unless I soak the beans, in which case 22-24 minutes would be enough, as I've done in the past. A full cup of beans would have been welcome, and carrots cooked for 3 or 4 minutes would be nice. Barley may go well with this soup, as well as fennel (maybe 2T fennel root cut into 1/4" cubes and cooked with the beans; perhaps some fennel fronds could garnish the soup) and a bit more shallot (5T?) or raw onion at the end. This is a good soup!

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At Thu Oct 23, 09:38:00 PM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Dilip! I'm glad I found your blog. I live pretty close by, in Greensboro. I haven't heard of cranberry beans but your last two recipes definitely make me want to give them a try.

At Sat Dec 06, 02:34:00 AM EST, Blogger Dilip said...

Thanks! Come on over for our annual Thanksgiving some year - perhaps it will become an annual tradition for you ( Thanks for your comment! --Dilip


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