Yesterday was one of the nicest days we have seen in Asheville in awhile – not a cloud in the sky, breezy but not too chilly and the different colored leaves were really starting to pop. It was absolutely gorgeous! I spent the morning studying, but was itching for an excuse to be outdoors when I remembered that the local Downtown Tailgate Market was open until 6:30pm. Perfect! I grabbed my reusable grocery bag and took a stroll to the market.
Asheville is great for health counselors and the health conscious. There is strong support for local food and local farmers with Farmer’s Markets scattered throughout Asheville year-round and several restaurants offering local and seasonal selections on their menus. When family and friends visit they are always amazed by the diverse and delicious cuisines available in Asheville. Anyway, enough bragging about Asheville.
The Downtown Tailgate Market is one of the smaller markets in Asheville, but it is right up the road from my apartment so I was able to walk and maximize my time outdoors. Local food, sunshine and exercise – it was a triple bonus!
The nights have been getting cold up here in the mountains so I knew I wanted to make soup. I tend to be cold constantly so once fall settles in, I immediately start to crave hot (temperature, not spice) foods. I already had beans and carrots, but I needed more vegetables to add to the soup. Here is a picture of all of the delicious vegetables that I got – and for a whopping $13.25. Pretty sweet huh?
Buying local foods directly from the farmers is less expensive than buying the same food item in your grocery store – there aren’t any transportation costs or middlemen involved to jack up the price. Plus you’re getting more flavor in your food because it was picked at its peak level of ripeness and taste – it did not ripen in the back of a truck.
I got to be outdoors the entire time I was shopping, mingle with other members of the community, chat with the farmers and see and smell varieties of vegetables that you don’t typically see in the grocery store. See the skinny green stalks with purple and white stems to the left of the squash in the picture? That’s celery. Yea – celery. Smells like celery, tastes like celery, but it definitely does not look like the thick, light green stalks of celery you typically see in grocery stores. Pretty cool, huh? I didn’t have to sit in traffic or wait in line either. It doesn’t get any better…
Here is my recipe for the black bean soup that I made with the celery.
2 cups black beans
3 – 5 carrots, chopped
celery, chopped – I used my entire bunch, but if you are using thicker stalks than I think 3 should do it
Kale (or dark leafy green of your choice) – 1/2 to 1 bunch, chopped (more about that below) – I love dark leafy greens so I used an entire bunch. Add however much you prefer – after all this is your soup, right?
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
Dr. Fuhrman’s Vegizest (You can still make soup without this ingredient. I highly recommend it for flavor and added nutrients.)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Onion powder to taste
Pepper to taste
Mrs. Dash to taste
Rinse beans and pour into large soup pot
Add 6 cups of water (for more nutrients replace 1 cup with carrot juice)
Add chopped onions, carrots, garlic, celery, tomatoes and spices
Cover with lid and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook until beans are tender – about 45 minutes to 1 hour
Once beans are tender, add chopped kale and stir into the soup – the kale will cook immediately
Remove from heat and allow to cool
Use immersion blender to blend soup to preferred thickness (this isn’t necessary to enjoy the soup. I like soup that is really thick so I prefer to blend)
About the kale (or any leafy green you choose)… when you cut it up, you want to remove the stem first – like this. Cut down both sides of the stem. Toss the step and chop the remaining halves.
Then you can stack a few leaves on top of each other before you slice them width-wise. This will save you time.
My entire apartment smelled like soup. Mmmmm. Ryan came home and wanted to know what was cookin’ – it smelled so good. I hope you enjoy this healthy and filling soup throughout the cold months ahead!