Recipe: Vegan Superhero Soup

Winning Maine recipe from “The 2015 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Kids’ ‘State Dinner’ Cookbook,” courtesy of WGBH.

Leo Koch has Type 1 Diabetes and Hydrocephalus. He created this soup to help him stay in tip-top shape. “Eating healthy foods helps me to stay as strong as I possibly can.” says Leo. “I like to eat this soup the night before one of my 5K races. Beans are already a super food, but we packed a few more secret ingredients into our soup!”


  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup peeled and diced sweet onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (29-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced


  1. In a large stockpot, steam or boil the cauliflower until very tender. Set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and red bell pepper and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt and stir for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the vegetable broth.
  3. In a blender or food processor, combine 3 cups of the black beans with the remaining 1 cup broth, the cauliflower, and spinach and blend until smooth. Add the puréed mixture and the remaining beans to the soup. Stir in the apple cider vinegar. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 40 minutes, or until soup is thick.
  4. Meanwhile, combine 5 cups of water with the brown rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Serve the soup over the brown rice with cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Top with diced avocado.

Nutrition information:

Makes eight servings, 526 calories, 9g fat, 91g carbohydrates, 23g protein