Black bean soup: dinner for when the sun refuses to shine

It may seem weird posting about a soup in June but as my blogging friend (and fellow Portland dweller) Not Without Butter noted yesterday, our weather has been very temperamental this year. Instead of basking in the sun drinking a piña colada, I spent last week making soup. Sadly I’m not talking about a nice cold gazpacho or vichyssoise. Oh no, I’m talking about a thick, hearty and comforting black bean soup. Of course, even if it was hot outside I would still like this soup — after all spicy foods pair perfectly with cold beer and summer sun.

However, this dinner was certainly more on the warm-me-up-please scale of soups.

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The wonderful world of ramen…

Around three years ago, I rediscovered ramen. Before that my go-to soup when I wanted something easy and comforting was either cream of tomato or pho with fatty brisket and lots of lime. Ramen, in my mind, was still classified as a cheap college food, one that I hadn’t contemplated since graduation. Then one day, either sick or hungover, I was at Safeway when these intriguing “fresh” ramen bowls caught my eye. That was when I had my first Annie Chun Soup Bowl (Chinese Chicken flavor) and my whole world changed.

I won’t delve too much into the company, you can read about it yourself if you’re curious, but I will say what interested me from the beginning was that they are natural (no MSG), fresh (no fried noodles) and low in fat (only 2 grams of fat per pack). My first soup bowl was actually only a minor success. I liked the noodles, especially their texture, but it was bland. There was no love in that bowl. Then I read the recommendation for throwing in whatever veggies/protein you have around, which strangely hadn’t occurred to me before then. So I bought a second package and gave it another chance.

This time I was hooked.

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