Wait until you try MY black bean soup – I’ve got a special ingredient to make it really come to life! Paired with an autumnal acorn squash quesadilla, it’s the best cozy weeknight dinner.
‘Tis the season of black and orange!
This time of year, orange vegetables are everywhere. I love this month, and love getting in the spirit with festive foods.
You know me, I’m not one to make cute little spiders or ghosts out of store bought ingredients. I admire the creativity of those who do, but since I need to get dinner on the table every night for my family, I bring a little fun to the meal with colorful black and orange foods… lots of black beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and other winter squashes.
This year, our pre-trick-or-treating meal is an easy, do-ahead flavor bomb that everyone, young and young at heart, will adore!
A zesty black bean soup, warm and comforting, with cheesy, acorn squash stuffed quesadillas. It’s like a Mexican-inspired spin on the old tomato soup and grilled cheese combo! Couldn’t be better!
What makes the soup extra special, and extra flavorful, is the addition of an ancho chili.
If you aren’t familiar, they are easy to come by in many large grocery stores and Hispanic markets. Don’t be intimidated… anchos are easy to work with. Simply remove the seeds and stem, toast in a dry, hot skillet, and then soak in hot water to rehydrate.
Or if you wish, ancho chili powder could be substituted, and if you can’t find either, a regular chili powder will work just fine!
The quesadillas are fall-inspired and so easy to prep. Acorn squash is split in half, seeded and roasted, then scooped out and mixed with shredded cheese and spices.
And with the garlic that gets roasted along with the squash and mashed into the filling, there is no shortage of spooktacular yumminess… and you’ll be sure to keep those pesky vampires away!
I’m so excited about this post, because not only is it the perfect fall meal for any night of the week, it’s excellent for Halloween. A flavorful, healthy dinner to offset the ensuing sugar madness!
Black Bean Ancho Chili Soup with Roasted Garlic & Acorn Squash Quesadillas
For the soup:
- 28- ounce can low-sodium black beans rinsed and drained well
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot minced (about ½ cup)
- 2 large garlic cloves chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 dried ancho chili or substitute ancho chili powder or regular chili powder
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
For the quesadillas:
- 1 small acorn squash about 1 ¼ pounds
- 1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 large garlic cloves skin left on
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 4 8- inch flour tortillas
- Olive oil for the pan
Cut limes, avocado and sour cream for serving
- Begin by roasting the squash. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Cut the squash in half, removing the stem as you do so, and scoop out the seeds. Place on an oiled, parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, place the garlic cloves on the baking sheet as well and continue to roast another 10-15 minutes until both the squash and garlic are soft. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- While the squash is roasting, make the soup. Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and ¼ teaspoon of the salt and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, remaining teaspoon of salt, sugar, and allspice and cook for one minute. Stir in the beans and the broth and bring to a simmer over low heat.
- While the beans are simmering, toast the ancho chili in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Turn it a few times until it is soft enough to remove the stem and seeds, then split it open and toast the inside for a minute or two, being careful that it doesn’t burn or begin smoking. Remove to a bowl and cover with 1 cup of hot water, and let it soak until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the chili from the water and chop it, adding the soaking water and the chopped chili to the pot of beans. Return to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.*
- Use an immersion blender to blend the soup in the pot, or a potato masher to roughly mash up the beans, or transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree, adding it back to the pot. The goal is a slightly chunky black bean soup. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed. Stir in the orange juice, then cover and keep warm while you finish the quesadillas.
- Use a spoon to scoop the squash from its skin and place it in a medium bowl. Remove the garlic from it’s skins, and mash slightly with a fork in the bowl with the squash. Stir in the cinnamon, maple syrup and salt, then stir in the cheese.
- Brush a small amount of oil in a large skillet and warm over medium heat. Place ¼ of the squash mixture in a tortilla, then fold in half and place in the skillet. Repeat with however many will fit in your skillet, turning them to cook evenly on both sides. Once the cheese is melted and the tortillas are nicely browned, remove to a cutting board, or place on a baking sheet and keep warm in a low oven.
- To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, serve with quesadillas, and pass the limes, avocado and sour cream on the side.
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