This recipe takes a little more time because of the soaking and cooking of the beans, but it is well worth it! And everyone knows black beans include protein, but they also have fiber, antioxidants, and micronutrients. They will keep you full and energetic for hours, which is why they can be very helpful if you’re trying to lose weight and curb cravings
Place the rinsed and picked beans in a heavy stockpot. Add enough water to cover beans by 3 inches. Let stand overnight (8-12 hours). Drain and rinse the beans.
Return beans to the same pot. Add the stock (or broth) and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the top. Decrease the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender. Stir in the salt.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, and bell peppers. Saute for 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the mushrooms and tomatoes with their juices, and then add the chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, thyme, and oregano. Saute for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes soften.
Add the tomato mixture, spinach and raw honey to the soup, cover, and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender and the flavors blend. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
In batches, transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and season to taste with more salt, if desired. Stir in the cilantro. Cover and simmer for 15 additional minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy. The soup will keep for two days covered and refrigerated.