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Crockpot Cooking: Hearty Black Bean Soup

With the snowflakes falling relentlessly outside, it’s the perfect time to fire up your crockpot. The only potential pitfall is that your standard meat-and-potatoes medley is packed with saturated fat and salt. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day (that’s less than a teaspoon!) and only 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fats—which is less than 120 calories if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day. So if you’re throwing a combo of beef, potatoes, and sodium-packed broth into your slow-cooker, you could easily exceed these parameters in one sitting. That’s where recipes like this low-sodium black bean soup come in handy.

Taken from the American Heart Association, this recipe features zero grams of saturated fat and a mere 34 milligrams of sodium per serving, stats that are practically unheard of when it comes to soup, particularly if you’re comparing it to canned. Instead of relying on fat and salt for flavor, the black bean soup enlists cumin, onion and garlic, jalapeno, and fresh cilantro for the perfect balance of spicy and savory. Using low-sodium broth and no added salt, this soup falls well beneath the limit for a low-salt food, which is less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Although the AHA’s recipe provides instructions for cooking up a batch of the black bean soup on the stovetop, on a recent snow day I experimented with crafting it in the crockpot with tastebud-tantalizing results. It’s as simple as dumping the black beans, tomatoes, and other ingredients into your slow-cooker—except for your chosen garnish—and letting everything simmer on low for four to six hours. Then ladle the piping-hot soup into a bowl and embellish it with some fresh cilantro, a few small slices of ripe avocado, or any other healthy extra you like. The result is a belly-warming meal for four that will help keep your family happy and healthy during this frosty winter season. See below for the recipe and head to the AHA’s website for the full set of nutrition facts.

Slow-Cooker Low-Sodium Black Bean Soup

Adapted from the AHA 
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 16-oz. cans low-sodium black beans, undrained
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, ¼ of an avocado, or other garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Spray slow-cooker liberally with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add all ingredients to slow-cooker except for garnish.
  3. Cook on low for four to six hours or on high for two to three hours.
  4. Ladle into bowls, add garnish if desired, and enjoy!

Submitted by Michelle Algeo, dietetic intern with Harrington HealthCare System

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