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Black bean soup with super chia garnish

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Of all the months of the year, January is the one where you might find yourself snuffling around a health food shop. While you’re there, pick up a bag of chia seeds. In the USA, they’re lauded as a wonderfood, as they keep your energy up and your cholesterol down. They’re also high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, calcium and omega-3, so are often found hiding in those ridiculously healthy green smoothies. But they are just as easily used in wholesome dishes like this, where they up your meal’s health quota with minimal effort.

Plus, the black beans in this soup make it hearty enough to work as a main course. Their mild taste and soft texture soak up other flavours and spices beautifully. Serve with a crusty brown roll, straight from the oven.

Kcal: 556 per serving

Fat: 26.3g per serving

Sat fat: 12.4g per serving

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the super chia garnish:

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (found in health food shops)
  • 4 tbsps crème fraiche
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • A pinch of sea salt

For the black bean soup:

  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 200g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 950ml water
  • 425g black beans
  • 4 tsps freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

STEP 1: For the chia garnish, toss all the ingredients in a bowl and chill in the fridge while you make the soup, allowing the chia seeds to expand.

STEP 2: Heat the vegetable oil

in a frying pan. Fry the chopped onions, cumin seeds, ground coriander and chilli powder over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent.

STEP 3: Add the garlic and fry for a minute longer. Then add the chopped tomatoes, water and black beans and stir.

STEP 4: Reduce the temperature, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

STEP 5: Once it has cooled down, purée the soup in a food processor. Season with salt and ground pepper if required. Return to the heat and warm through.

STEP 6: Serve in bowls, with a squeeze of lime juice (about a teaspoon each) and finish with fresh coriander and a dollop of the chia garnish.

From Super Grains & Seeds by Amy Ruth Finegold (Ryland Peters & Small; £16.99), out in hardback on 13 February

Eat with...

Wine expert Jane Parkinson recommends the perfect pairing

Villa Maria Cellar Selection Pinot Noir 2011, £14.99 (£23.96 for two bottles), Majestic Pinot Noir is one of the best red grapes to match with food. It needs to be juicy, fruity and not too chewy to complement tomato and spice, and this wine from New Zealand is the ideal example.

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