Hot Peppered Pinto Soup with Garlic

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I love late afternoons in the winter following a snowfall. It’s just gorgeous!

I am one of those people who needs variety in my diet. While I tend to eat the same thing for breakfast, I just can’t eat the same thing for lunch every day. I get bored and tired. And forget about the same thing for lunch and dinner. When I make a big pot of soup for lunches, after about two days I start to rummage around the kitchen, looking for something else to fix for the remainder of the week, and the soup goes into the freezer for another time.

But this soup fits the bill; it makes just two servings, so it’s perfect for two solo lunches or one lunch for you and a friend! And it’s healthy and inexpensive, two other things I look for when cooking. If you want more, it’s easy to double. I decided to throw all the beans in the pot instead of leaving some whole; if you do this, just add a little more broth to thin it out. And of course, this can be vegetarian by using vegetable broth or water! I’ve been making this soup since it first appeared in Cooking Light magazine in 1996, so it’s an obvious favorite!

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Hot Peppered Pinto Soup with Garlic
This recipe originally appeared in the March 1996 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Serves 2 (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Vegetable cooking spray (MVK’s note: I use two teaspoons of olive oil instead.)
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (MVK’s note: Instead of the red pepper and hot sauce, I used 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. Zowie!)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained

Coat a medium saucepan with cooking spray, and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add chili powder and next 8 ingredients (chili powder through broth); bring to a boil. Stir in half of beans; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Place soup in a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Return to pan; stir in remaining beans. Cook until thoroughly heated.