Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, minced onion, bell pepper, and carrot. Cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and the next 4 ingredients (through black pepper); sauté 3 minutes. Add broth, water, and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
Place half of soup in a blender, and process until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.
I made this for my lunches at work this week, and it is very filling and tasty. Due to the reviews that said it was somewhat bland, I added more of each of the spices and vegetables, along with half a red bell pepper. I also left the soup somewhat chunky instead of smooth.
I made this for some vegetarian friends and paired it with a Southwestern salad of mixed greens, fresh corn, red onion, avocado and cilantro dressing. They loved it! I like that it feels creamy without having any dairy in it. One thing though -- even a small serving is extremely filling. I felt stuffed afterwards. It must be fiber from all the beans. :P
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