For Creamier Bean Soup, Just Mash Some Up With A Fork

A bowl of Tuscan bean soup with bread
A bowl of Tuscan bean soup with bread - OlgaBombologna/Shutterstock

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If you're looking to pack more protein into your diet, and you're trying to steer clear of meat, there's no better ingredient than the mighty bean. A half cup of cooked beans can give you anywhere from five to nine grams of protein, according to VegNews, plus they have lots of fiber, which is good for your digestive system and makes you feel full. And let's face it, meat isn't getting any cheaper, and a can of beans is still a steal. All this adds up to a strong argument for making bean soup. If you like your soup on the creamy side, beans have got your back there, too, because you don't need to add any extra dairy or make a roux. If you want a creamy bean soup, just mash up some of the beans and you'll get a thick, creamy texture.

Whether you're making a batch of Yankee bean soup, or pulling together a slow cooker of vegetarian chili, the smooshed bean trick is a super easy way to go from brothy to creamy in no time. It even works great for canned soups, all you have to do is put down the spoon and pick up a fork.

Read more: French Cooking Tricks You Need In Your Life

Beans Make Great Thickeners

Red kidney beans in a can close up
Red kidney beans in a can close up - Olenamykhaylova/Getty Images

One of the biggest problems with all-vegetable soups is that they don't always seem substantial. Brothy soups are great, but there's something about a thick, creamy soup that feels more satisfying. The trouble with cream-based soups is the actual cream, which can introduce a lot of extra fat and cholesterol. You don't need to add any dairy, or even any newfangled plant-based cream to your soup if you're trying to get a creamy texture, however, because beans make great thickeners. And if you're making something like black bean soup, you've already got all the ingredients you need.

When you're making your next batch of bean soup, you can mash your legumes a couple of different ways. First, when you're adding the beans to the soup, as long as they're cooked you can simply reserve a half cup or so in a bowl, mash them up with a fork, and dump them into the pot. This method obviously won't work if the recipe calls for cooking the beans in the broth, however, or for canned soups that are already made. In that case, you can either mash the beans right in the soup or pull some beans out for mashing.

Stick A Fork Into Your Soup

spoonful of creamy bean soup
spoonful of creamy bean soup - Debbismirnoff/Getty Images

If you're faced with a pot of soup with the beans already mixed in, all you need is about ½ to ¾ of a cup of beans to mash for thickening. Grab a slotted spoon or a wire spider and strain out enough ingredients so that you can pick out the beans, separate them from the other veggies, then mash them up with a fork. Or, if you're only looking to thicken up a single bowl, just stick a fork into your broth, mash five to ten beans, and give things a stir.

If your soup has lots of ingredients, it might not be that easy to strain out a bunch of beans, such as in the case of vegetarian chili. In that case, instead of using a fork to mash your beans, try blending a cup or so of the soup or stew in a blender and then adding that back to the pot for a creamy texture. Or, if you have a handheld immersion blender, pulse it a few times until your soup starts to look cloudy and you're good to go. It's okay if you blend some of your other veggies in the mix, you'll just be adding a little extra cooked vegetable flavor!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.