Updated: Sep 5, 2021
Enjoy this quick and easy, comforting, smoky soup, full of the summery sweetness of corn!
Happy National Potato Month! And shouldn't every month celebrate this ultimate comfort food? But, there are many people who are concerned about eating potatoes and worry that the starchy carbs are unhealthy. It's true that Americans eat a LOT of potatoes, and they are usually cooked and prepared in the most unhealthy ways possible (I'm looking at you, fries and chips).
But potatoes can actually be a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet! According to UC Davis Integrative Medicine, potatoes are low in calories and fat, and high in potassium, fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. You can check out more health benefits of potatoes from them here, and their celebration of National Potato Month here. Potatoes are healthiest when eaten with the skins on, and to get the most nutritional bang for your buck, Dr. Michael Greger at nutritionfacts.org recommends choosing more colorful varieties like sweet potatoes or purple potatoes. However other types like red skin or Yukon Gold can still be a part of a healthy diet. I've actually got purple sweet potatoes coming in my next Misfits Market box this week, and I will admit I'm pretty excited to try them!
I always loved ham and bean soup as a kid. The smoky flavor was so comforting to me! But, cured and smoked meats have been linked to increased cancer risk, and the World Health Organization added processed meats to their list of carcinogens in 2015. This soup uses smoked paprika to add that lovely smoky flavor, and it is delicious in early fall when there is still fresh corn available. Alternatively, you can use frozen corn kernels to save yourself a little prep time.
And the best thing is, all of the ingredients are very inexpensive. I almost always have potatoes and cans of beans in the pantry, corn in the freezer, and celery in the fridge so it's quick to throw together without having to do a grocery run. The jalapeno is optional, but I recommend it because it adds more depth of flavor and isn't spicy when cooked in the soup.
The inspiration for this soup came from a recipe in Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook, the companion cookbook to the Forks Over Knives movie, book, and website (find it on Amazon here). The movie presents the work of Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., MD and T. Colin Campbell on the health benefits of adopting a primarily plant-based diet, and I highly recommend watching it!
As an aside, I have included onion as an ingredient since most people cook with them, they add a wonderful flavor, and are incredibly healthy. Unfortunately I am unable to tolerate them due to my IBS. Instead of using onions, I add diced green onions to most of my savory dishes at the end of the cooking time and for this reason the photos of my finished product will have green onions and no cooked white, yellow, or red onion.
I hope you enjoy this smoky potato, corn and bean soup! Please let me know in the comments if you made it and what you thought!