One of the only downsides of being a food writer is always having to live a few months ahead of schedule. It’s roast duck in August, asparagus in November, butternut squash in June. Just last week I was working on my AARP post for January, encouraging people to stop the annual knee-jerk diets and take some of that energy to work on life-style change.

For inspiration I was looking through The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight and Eating Great, and I rediscovered a little jewel of a soup I had totally forgotten about–Black Bean Soup with Cumin and Salsa Verde. When I say easy, I really mean it. Puree black beans, broth, salsa, cilantro, and cumin in a blender, heat, ladle, eat.  Done.

And then I realized why wait until January to offer this soup when most of us need a quick nourishing, healthy satisfying soup more than ever during the holiday frenzy. Most of us are so busy to cooking the big meals we don’t have the energy to take care of the little ones.

So next time you go to the grocery store to stock up for the holidays, remember to pick up a few cans of black beans, a few jars of salsa, and a couple of cartons of broth, so that next time you don’t think you have time to eat well, you realize it’s just a matter of opening a can, a jar, and a carton!

And what better time of year to practice changing your life than the busiest month of the year?


Black Bean Soup With Cumin and Salsa Verde

Serves 4

2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans, drained
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup prepared salsa verde
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves, plus extra sprigs for garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Garnish: 1/4 cup light sour cream, cilantro sprigs

Puree all ingredients except garnish in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered and stirring frequently, to blend flavors, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve, garnishing with sour cream and optional cilantro sprigs.