Sometimes I look at recipes on veg websites, scan the list of ingredients and then set off to stump my local health food grocer. West Michigan lacks a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s which typically has all of these little bulk dried treasure bins and so, after I looked for a way to get rid of a butternut squash that was going to go bad this week, I found a recipe by Heidi Swanson adapted from a vegan cookbook that uses adzuki beans as a source of protein.
Adzuki beans? Yeah, until last year I hadn’t heard of them either. In popular Japanese and Chinese culture, they typically sweeten them and turn them into delicious desserts. Turns out they are a substantial little bean that hold up well in chili, soups, and stews. They take little time to cook from a dry state and store beautifully in your freezer in Ziploc bags, so you can make a bunch at a time. Additionally, they make a great non-refridge salad to pass at potlucks or picnics in the summer in this zesty Adzuki Bean Salad recipe from Whole Foods.
Adzuki & Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon (dried) coriander
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle pepper (from can, or rehydrated from dried chile)
- 2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
- 2 medium-large onions
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 5 – 6 cups water
- 5 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
- 4 cups cooked or canned adzuki beans
- cilantro drizzle (optional)*
To make adzuki beans from a dry state. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Pick through for any duds, toss those. For 4 cups of cooked beans, try for 2-3 cups of dry beans. I had 4 1/2 cups of dried beans on the shelf, so I decided, if I’m gonna cook 4 cups I may as well cook what’s in my jar; thus, came out with 13 cups of cooked beans, of which I froze the extras not needed in the recipe. Put beans in a large pot with cold water covering over the beans about 2 inches, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for about 30 minutes. They don’t take too long. The bean is perfect when it takes a little pressure to smash it against the roof of your mouth when you are testing and burning yourself This is obviously a VERY scientific method here.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, coriander, chipotle, cumin and salt and saute for a minute or two – until aromatic. Add the onions and saute another 5 minutes or so, until they start to go translucent. Add the garlic and butternut squash, stir well, and then add 5-6 cups of water. Increase the heat to bring to a boil, and once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for a few minutes, until the squash begins to soften – 5 – 10 minutes.
Once the squash has softened, use a potato masher and break up the squash pieces a bit. Add the tomatoes, and cook a couple more minutes before adding the beans. Serve drizzled with the cilantro.
Serves about 8.
* I made a cilantro drizzle by putting one bunch of cilantro leaves into my mini-chop food processor with about a tablespoon of EVOO and a pinch of salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes for good measure.
Adapted from 101cookbooks.com