Soup is the ultimate comfort food in most cultures. In Peru it is part of the their culinary history and tradition, eaten at home as main dish, and even for breakfast. Sopa de Frijoles is usually made with pork, but there is no need for meat to make a delicious stew-like soup in the Peruvian spirit.
Sopa de Frijoles (Peruvian Bean Soup) [Vegan]
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 2 cups cubed seitan, or reconstituted soy curls, or textured soy protein chunks
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 cups cooked or canned Peruvian or Mexican yellow beans, or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup diced peeled raw orange winter squash (or orange sweet potato, if you have no winter squash)
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 teaspoons flavorful vegan "chicken-style" broth powder or paste (or equivalent cubes for 2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons flavorful vegan vegetable or "beefy" broth powder or paste (or equivalent cubes for 2 cups)
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- 1 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 4 ounces dry tubular pasta – penne is the preferred variety
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sesame oil. Add the seitan or alternate and sauté quickly until browned a bit. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon.
- Add the chopped onion, garlic, tomato, oregano and cumin. Sauté over medium-high heat for several minutes, adding a bit of water as necessary to keep from sticking, until the onion has softened a bit.
- Add the drained beans and the squash cubes, and all of the broth ingredients. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then turn down, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, cook the pasta in boiling water for about eight minutes, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- After the 30 minutes are up, add the drained, cooked pasta to the soup. Taste for seasoning and serve with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.
Peruvian yellow beans are also known as Peruano beans, and they are the same as Mexican yellow beans ( canary/canario beans or mayocoba beans). Their cousin, the pinto bean, makes a good substitute. This is traditionally served with boiled yucca or yellow potato chunks, and/or cooked plantain and sweet potato, but the soup is so hearty that I didn't think it needed any accompaniment.