Sometimes, at the end of the month like most families, funds can get tight. Many people try to make simple recipes or end up settling for sandwiches or canned soup for dinner until they get the next paycheck, but I’m here to tell you that healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming.
I am a firm believer in the power of the slow cooker. When using canned vegetables and subtle flavors, cooking your dishes “low and slow” (i.e. at lower to medium heat for longer periods of time) is really the way to go to ensure deep, engrained flavors and thicker broths with more tender meat and veggies.
That said, I started making this soup a few years ago when I was tight on funds but wanted to make sure I stayed on the healthy track. Stocking up in advance on canned veggies, beans, dry pasta, and grains when there are sales is one of the key pilars to keeping a stocked and healthy kitchen. That way, when life gets hectic and you have to stretch a bit to make ends meet, a yummy dinner is only a few minutes away and really all you need is some creativity to make things work.
This soup is delicious, and only gets better with the longer it stays cooking slowing in the slow cooker. It also has affectionately gained the name of “garbage” or “pantry” stew because its very forgiving and you can add basically any veggies you have into it, along with any meat you prefer.
Slow Cooker Bean Soup:
- 2 cans of kidney beans, undrained
- 1 can of cannellini beans, undrained
- 2 cans of sweet corn kernels, undrained
- 2 cans of seasoned chopped stewed tomatoes (can use unseasoned, its up to you.)
- 1 fresh chopped yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 fresh chopped sweet red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 fresh chopped sweet yellow pepper, finely chopped
- 1 cup of quinoa, dried and uncooked (can also use rice here, if you don’t have quinoa)
- 1 cup of water, to help plump the quinoa
- 1 tablespoon of dried basil
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon of dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon of garlic salt
- salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker and place it on low heat, letting it cook anywhere from 4 to 12 hours. Add as much of the dried seasoning as you see fit, as that the flavor will be subtle with all the veggies. You can also add hot sauce or any assortment of peppers if you need to kick up the heat. ( My mom hates hot spices, so I kept mine mild, letting people individually season their bowls as they saw fit.) The soup ends up with the thickness of a light chili, due to letting the veggie juices from the beans stay in the mix.
Serve it by itself, with cheese sprinkled over it, with sour cream, with hot sauce, or my favorite: poured over freshly baked cornbread!
Thanks and happy eats,