Vegetarian Black Bean Chowder from Heidi Swanson

Rancho Gordo Dried Heirloom Black Beans

Heidi Swanson is an enthusiastic, self-taught home cook based in San Francisco. Her first book, COOK 1.0: A Fresh Approach to Vegetarian Cooking, is such a clever twist on vegetarian cooking that I almost insist you go buy this book, whether you eat meat or not. Heidi comes to the farmers market in San Francisco most every Saturday morning and no matter what mood you're in, you get the feeling it's going to be a pretty swell day after Heidi has bid you "Good morning!"

I love this one because the orange juice gives it a surprise Caribbean-ish flavor. It is in my book. I sometimes add a bit of chopped habanero in the beginning w/ the onions when I know I'm cooking for people who aren't afraid of a little heat.

  • 3T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 t. salt
  • 4 cups of cooked and drained Midnight Black beans 
  • 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 c. orange juice
  • 3/4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c. rum (optional)
  1. To a large pot over medium heat, add the extra-virgin olive oil, onions, shallots, garlic, and salt. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions start to get soft.
  2. Add the black beans, crushed tomatoes, orange juice, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and whisk in the rum. Season with salt to taste.
Basic Instructions for Cooking Beans in The Rancho Gordo Manner