Adzuki Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes Carrots and Spinach
While on one of my internet hunts for dry cannellini beans, I came across the website Nuts.com. They had cannellini, (yeah!), and they also had a variety of other interesting items, like adzuki beans. No I didn’t bother to look up what adzuki beans were used for in the culinary world. I just thought they sounded intriguing. Post purchase, I did another internet search to find out how they would pair with some starchy vegetables and came up with my Adzuki Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, and Spinach.
According to Vetetarian Times, “adzukis are one of the highest in protein and lowest in fat. Other benefits include high levels of potassium and fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron and zinc”.
Apparently adzuki (azuki) beans have been grown in the Orient for many, many years. It also appears that adzuki beans were first grown in the Himalayan region and were cultivated in China and Korea around 1000 BC. They are best known as a paste that is made from these beautiful beans and used in various festival celebrations such as the Chinese “moon cakes”, and Zongzi, a sticky rice dumpling.
I peeled and cubed two sweet potatoes. Chopped two carrots (peel still on), and minced some left over shallot. I broke off one of the ginger root fingers and grated it to about 1 teaspoon. I also trimmed off the stems of 2 cups of organic baby spinach.
For the adzuki beans, I started off with about 1-1/4 cups of dry beans and soaked them over night. The next day they has swelled to about 3+ cups of soaked beans. I drained and rinsed them a few times.
Spices and Vegetable Stock
I used very little in the way of additional spices for the Adzuki Bean Soup because most of the savory goodness was already in my homemade vegetable stock. I wish I could tell you exactly what was in it, but I can’t. What I will tell you is I keep a freezer bag in my freezer and keep piling carrot ends, celery ends and roots, onion/shallot peelings, even cucumber ends and squash peelings.
Time for the Instant Pot
I pulled out my cute little mini Instant Pot Duo Nova (affiliate product*), and pushed the Saute button, then set it to Normal.
Once it heated up, I add the olive oil and the shallots, and stirred those until they were translucent. Next, in went the sweet potatoes and carrots, and stirred them until they barely began to brown and hit the Cancel button.
Added the vegetable stock, adzuki beans, and spices and gave it a swirl. Put the lid on and set it to pressure cook for 8 minutes. After the initial time it took to come to pressure, cook time, and then a “Natural” release I had a pot full of soup. But there was still one last ingredient…the spinach. I submerged the spinach, put the lid back on and set my Instant Pot to an additional 8 minutes on the Saute button. Since it wasn’t cooking under pressure, as soon as the 8 minutes were up, I had my soup.
Scooped out enough for a bowl and sprinkled some black sesame seeds on top. And in keeping with an Oriental theme, I pulled out my little decorative soup spoon.
The sweet potatoes originally added to the soup were barely present in the final product. However, they did impart an additional sweetness and gravy-like consistency to the soup.
Adzuki Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes Carrots and Spinach Recipe
Number of servings: 6
3 cup soaked adzuki beans (or 2 can of any style red bean).
2 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled
2 medium size carrots, washed and cut into 1″ pieces
2 cups raw organic baby spinach, stems removed if you prefer
2 tablespoon of chopped shallot (omit if you suffer from acid reflux)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon dry ginger)
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil. (Omit if you have eliminated oil from your diet. Instead use the water method to sauté.)
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (omit if you suffer from acid reflux)
1/8 teaspoon Black Sesame seeds per serving for garnish.
salt and pepper to taste
- In your Instant Pot, heat the olive oil using the Sauté function on Normal. Add the chopped shallots and saute until tender. (See note for stove-top method.)
- Add the fresh ginger, cubed sweet potatoes, and carrots. Continue to Sauté until the sweet potatoes and carrots have slightly browned, approximately 4-6 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, adzuki beans, and spices and stir to incorporate.
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot, set the Pressure Cook setting to 8 minutes on High. When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. Releasing the pressure too soon will cause the bean liquid to escape through the release valve and that creates a big mess. Trust me on that!
- Once the pressure has naturally released, press the Cancel button and open the Instant Pot. Add the fresh spinach and give it a swirl. Replace the lid and press the Sauté button again. Set it to 8 minutes. Since there is no pressure cooking, you can remove the lid as soon as the time is up.
- Spoon into a bowl and add some Black Sesame seed for garnish.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Use a stove-top or microwave to reheat.
Note: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, follow the direction above except cook the soup in a stockpot for approximately 60 minutes, or until the beans are tender to taste. (This is assuming you soaked the adzuki beans.)
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