Article: Happy New Year! – Food For Good Luck!


Dear Timaree: My neighbor has a winter garden and has gifted me with chard, do you have a favorite recipe?

While we enjoy it sauteed with some red onion and a splash of balsamic vinegar, our favorite way to eat chard is in a recipe we “invented” and named after my son, who helped me create and taste test this delicious and nutritious soup!

The timing is excellent, as the soup incorporates two of the most common foods served around the new year in the name of luck and good fortune: greens and beans.  Both of these foods also happen to be nutrition powerhouses and and I am sure this velvety soup will become a family favorite in your house. It can even be frozen, (after thawing completely in the refrigerator, stir, as some of the water will separate), and it will reheat perfectly!

Austin's Black Bean Soup

Austin’s Black Bean Soup is delicious and creamy!

Austin’s Black Bean Soup
2-3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 large onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Stems from one bunch of chard, diced (roughly chop leaves for use later in recipe)

2 cans of black beans (drained and rinsed) or 3 cups of beans cooked from dry
2 cans of fire-roasted tomatoes (with jalapenos for a spicier soup)
2 bell peppers (red/yellow/orange) cut into strips and roasted under the broiler (or jarred roasted red bell peppers)
32 fl oz vegetable broth
1 cup of corn (frozen or freshly removed from cob)
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp ground coriander
Leaves from one bunch of chard, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, celery, carrot, chard stems and garlic in a few tablespoons of vegetable broth until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion is nearly translucent, then add the spices and corn. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chard leaves, broth, beans, and tomatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Add roasted pepper right before blending the soup, using an immersion blender, or for an even more velvety texture, puree it in batches in a blender.

This recipe makes ~13 cups of soup, so be sure to freeze leftovers. After thawing completely in the refrigerator, simply stir the soup to reincorporate some of the water that will separate, and it will reheat perfectly!

Nutrition info per cup of soup: 79 kcals, 0g fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 18g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 5g protein, 229mg sodium, 425mg potassium

Shop Smart
Look for chard with crisp-looking stems and leaves (not wilted), free of brown/black areas. Since a small amount of dirt will often remain, it is best to let the chard soak in a large bowl of cool water, swirling the leaves around so that any debris fall to the bottom of the bowl. Then gently rinse the leaves and stems under cool running water. The leaves should be separated from the stems, as the stems take longer to cook are are typically added earlier in the cooking process.

Eat Smart
Chard is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium and potassium; and offers iron, folic acid, copper, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and calcium. Black beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, potassium and folic acid, and offer magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6.

We know how nutritious greens are, but it has also been rumored that the more greens you consume, the better your luck… so enjoy and Happy New Year!

Timaree Hagenburger, is a registered dietitian and certified exercise physiologist with a master’s degree in public health. She is a nutrition professor at Cosumnes River College, conducts corporate wellness work, does professional speaking engagements and has a regular segment on California Bountiful TV. Be sure to purchase a copy of her innovative cookbook – The Foodie Bar™ Way: One meal. Lots of options. Everyone’s happy. available at

My article was published by the Lodi News Sentinel on Jan 5, 2011, titled: “Combine chard and black beans to create a nutritious and velvety soup”.

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