14 February 2012


Anyone who knows me well, knows about how much I love fast food. It's a love/hate relationship that I need to get over. 

In order to do that at my own pace, I've been trying to recreate my favorite dishes from different restaurants. In the next months, I will be featuring a few 'healthified' fast food recipes. This one didn't need much work to make it healthy. It's low fat, vegan and full of flavor.  


Before moving to the US, I had never been to a Panera restaurant. I'd heard of it and read articles about their food, but that was it. A few days ago, my roommate and I went there for dinner. I had the Mediterranean Veggie half sandwich with a bowl of their Black Bean Soup. The sandwich was OK, but the soup was delicious. 

Immediately, I did a quick online search to see if recreating the recipe would be possible. That's when I ran into this one. This soup may not be exactly like the one they serve , but it tastes *almost identical. It killed my cravings.


The Arugula Salad with Mandarin Vinaigrette was delicious and refreshing. A great side dish to this soup. It contrasts with the spice of the soup. 


The only thing missing from Panera's original version is a big slice of avocado on the side. I think avocado makes everything better. I'm Puertorican, after all.


A few tips on the recipe:

     *Do not skip or substitute the Red Bell Pepper. I think that's what really makes a difference in the soup.

     *Cook and brown the veggies before adding the stock and beans. It creates a deeper flavor.

     *Adjust the spice amounts to your liking.
     * The soup is supposed to be very thick. You may want to adjust the amount of stock according to your preference. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(serves 2 or 3)

For the Soup

two, 15 ounce cans of Black Beans
1 3/4 cups of Vegetable Stock
2 Celery stalks
1/3 cup of Red Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves
1 small Yellow Onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

-Finely chop all the veggies, sautée over medium heat in the oil, until browned and almost fully cooked.
-Add the stock and half the amount of beans. Cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes until the veggies have softened a bit more. 
-Puree in a food processor. Return it to the pot. Add the remaining beans. Cook for another 5 minutes.

For the Arugula Salad

two handfuls or Arugula
2 tbsp Olive Oil
3 tbsp of Mandarin juice (squeeze one mandarin)
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper

-Whisk together the ingredients for the vinaigrette, until well combined. Pour over the Arugula leaves. Serve immediately. 



Torviewtoronto said...

delicious healthy looking soup

Karisha {Ruborosa Blog} said...

Que riiico! I love black bean soup. Definitely going to try this one out. I think I'll add, though, a 1 tsp of sugar. Really makes a difference!

The pics are gorgeous of course!

Un abrazo boricua grande, Yad! XO

A Brown Table said...

I love black beans and this looks heavenly

Reem | Simply Reem said...

Another great recipe...
You know I love Panera but yes it can get addictive....
Oh I love how u recreated this lusciousness, I am sure I"ll be making this soon.

Rebekka Seale said...

This is soooo timely and wonderful for me to find this morning. I give up meat and dairy for Lent every year (which starts this week, YIKES!) and am so excited to find something this yummy to kick everything off. Bookmarking this now!!!

Ruby said...

Lovely photos! I love a good black bean soup- this one looks delicious!

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