Prep+Cook Times: 20 + 30 min. | Level: Beginner | Serves: 8
3 sm. Onions 3 Tbsp Olive oil
2 ½ tsp Salt (add only at the end if using dried beans)
3 stalks Celery
3 med. Carrots
1 med. Zucchini
8 med. Tomatoes
2 med. Capsicum
5 cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Smoked paprika
~ 1 tsp Chili powder (optional)
2-3 tsp Cajun spice blend
1 tin Diced tomatoes
1 tin Black beans*
1 tin Kidney beans - tinned only* or Beluga/black or french/bluey-green lentils
1 tin White beans (Butter or Cannellini)*
taste Your secret sauce: Molasses (~2 tsp); Hot sauce (~1 tsp); BBQ sauce (~2 Tbsp); Tomato sauce (~2 Tbsp); Fig, Apricot, or Plum jam (~1 Tbsp), optional
*BEAN NOTE: Many people will tolerate beans better if soaked/activated first, then cooked. Tinned beans are not activated.
However, kidney beans contain a toxic compound that requires them to be boiled for at least 10 minutes before putting in a slow cooker. Use tinned ones if in doubt.
Using dried beans, simply soak ¾ Cup of each bean or lentil together in one bowl with lots of water overnight on the bench.
Drain and add to the slow cooker. If not using a pressure cooker, it can take a few hours to soften them fully. Slow cookers work very well for this.
It is recommended to cook up a large batch and freeze extras for an equally easy grab, as from a tin.
If you are not attached to how perfect each piece of vegetable looks, then you can save a lot of time by letting a food processor help you with the chopping. Otherwise, dice them by hand.
You can cook this in either a large pot on the stove or in a 5.5+L slow cooker.
If using a processor, quarter the peeled onions and blitz-chop them a few times until you get even small pieces ~5-10mm in size.
Transfer this into a large soup pot or the slow cooker crock. If using a slow cooker, ignore all cooking instructions until step 13.
Turn the pot on to medium-high heat and add the oil and salt.
Without cleaning the processor bowl, cut the clean celery sticks into ~5cm lengths and put them in to blitz-chop the same way. Transfer to pot and stir.
Do similarly for carrots. Then zucchini.
Ensure the mixture of onion, celery, carrot, and zucchini has cooked down for at least 5 minutes.
Continue to process the tomatoes this way, then the capsicum and garlic.
Add all the spices, the tin of tomatoes, and the drained beans (cooked or uncooked).
If all the beans are pre-cooked, this will only need to simmer down for approximately 30min on low-medium heat. Taste and season as needed at the end.
If the beans need to be cooked, add 1 Cup of water. Bring to a boil, then put the lid on, turn the heat down to low, and allow it to cook for 3-4hrs undisturbed. (If you check on it often, you may need to add more liquid)
If using a slow cooker, simply put everything in, stir it well, and turn it onto LOW for ~8-9hrs or HIGH for ~5hrs.
Whichever way you cook it, it is nice to finish it with a stick blender, blending down the bottom only for a few seconds to 'thicken' up the consistency of the dish.
This dish will always taste better the next day. Freezes well.
This is the most versatile dish! serve alongside corn bread; tortillas; mexi-rice; BBQ'd corn on the cob; mashed potatoes; with a generous dollop of cashew cream, or french onion dip on top; on taco salad; in burritos; on fajitas; blended as a dip; on toast; with corn chips; as a soup by adding broth and rice; in a pie; mixed with grated cheese or my Not-cho cheeze as a party dip, etc.
Get creative by changing up the spices to a Moroccan version instead; try black eyed peas; add fresh corn, mushrooms, etc.
Beans are exceptionally high in really good fibre for a healthy gut microbiome. If you have difficulty with them, build up slowly and consistently until the good bugs that can digest them are thriving again, which will reduce the "magical fruit" effect over time.