Black Bean Soup With Jalapeño-Lime Crème



    For soup:

    • 2 cups dried black beans, picked through and rinsed
    • 1 (2- to 3-inch) piece kombu (a sea vegetable; available in Asian grocery stores)
    • 6 cups Vegetable Stock or water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 teaspoons sea salt
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 onions, finely chopped
    • 5 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
    • 5 stalks celery, finely chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

    For Jalapeño-Lime Crème:

    • 2 jalapeños, roasted
    • 3/4 cup raw cashews
    • 1/2 cup plain soy milk
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
    • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt


    1. To prepare soup, place beans and kombu in a heavy stockpot. Add enough water to cover by 3 inches, soak beans overnight. Drain and rinse beans, reserve kombu.
    2. Return beans and kombu to the pot, add stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. Decrease heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until beans are tender. Discard kombu and stir in salt.
    3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, then the chili powder, cayenne and cumin. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes soften. Add the tomatoes to the beans, cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender and the flavors blend. Cool slightly.
    4. Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and season to taste with more salt, if desired. Stir in the cilantro. Serve with drizzle of Jalapeño-Lime Crème.
    5. To prepare Jalapeño-Lime Crème, add chilies, cashews, soy milk, lime zest, lime juice, oil and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth.
    Ann Gentry, host of Naturally Delicious, has spent the past 20 years raising the standard of vegetarian cooking. As a chef, restaurateur, food educator and visionary, she has succeeded in combining macrobiotic food preparation with the richness of her southern upbringing to create a gourmet vegetarian cuisine even meat lovers covet.As the executive chef of Vegetarian Times magazine, Ann creates original vegetarian recipes and contributes articles on healthy eating and living. Ann also writes her own bimonthly column about food and children for the British magazine Junior: The World’s Finest Parenting Magazine.Ann is the creator, founder and operating owner of Real Food Daily, the only restaurant in the Los Angeles area that serves a 100 percent vegetarian menu using foods grown exclusively with organic farming methods. Bon Appetit magazine wrote that “Ann Gentry, the creator of Real Food Daily, has taken two different California trends — vegetarian foods, and the organic seasonal cooking popularized by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse — and come up with a cuisine that is as interesting and delicious as it is healthful.” With two California locations, in Santa Monica and West Hollywood, Real Food Daily has “developed a loyal following.” Its patrons range from the someday to the everyday vegetarian, to celebrities, to trendsetting young eaters with sophisticated palates or the mature diner seeking gourmet, health-supportive cuisine. Ann’s first cookbook, “The Real Food Daily Cookbook,” published by Ten Speed Press, is available for purchase on her website and at bookstores. As the spokesperson for SOYJOY, an all-natural nutrition bar made with whole soy, Ann has appeared on many radio and television shows as well as various food lifestyle shows promoting a healthy lifestyle. She has also been a guest chef at Canyon Ranch, Pritikin Longevity Center, Robert Mondavi Wine Center, L.A. Times Festival of Books, the Environmental Media Awards, North American Vegetarian Society and Central Market. In the spring of 2008, Ann will be a featured guest chef on a Caribbean cruise ship, in the program “A Taste of Health” on Holistic Holiday at Sea. Ann lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Robert Jacobs, and their two vegetarian children, Halle and Walker.