Nutritionally speaking, the USDA recommends that Americans eat at least four servings of beans each week, up from the less than one cup of beans per week the average American consumes. Like other plant foods, beans contain fiber and phytochemicals. Especially high in calcium, iron, and magnesium, unlike other vegetables, beans can replace meat, poultry, eggs, and other protein foods.

Makes 4 to 5 servings or 4 2/3 cups

1 cup black beans
6 cups water or mild-tasting vegetable broth (3 cups to soak, 3 to 4 cups to cook) 
3-inch piece kombu sea vegetable 
1 bay leaf 
1 onion, diced 
2 large cloves garlic, pressed 
1/4 cup cilantro plus 5 leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon each oregano and cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1½ tablespoons natural soy sauce or tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), Ohsawa brand
1 tablespoon lemon, lime or orange juice 
1/2 cup Tofu Sour Cream (recipe follows)
¼ cup avocado, diced small for garnish

Tofu Sour Cream:
Makes 1 cup
1/2 pound fresh tofu, medium or soft
2½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt

1. Sort through beans for stones by spreading them on a white plate. Rinse beans in water to cover. Drain, transfer to pressure cooker or pot. Soak for 24 hours.
2. Drain beans and add 3 to 4 cups fresh water, less for pressure cooker, more for pot. Bring to boil and slow-boil uncovered for 5 minutes to allow initial gas to escape in the form of froth or steam. Add kombu and bay leaf and cover to bring to pressure or boil, then turn heat low to pressure cook for 1 hour; may be longer by pot cooking depending on age/dryness of beans.
3. To make tofu sour cream, blend ingredients until creamy smooth.
4. When pressure subsides, make beans creamier by stirring briskly with a wire whisk. Add remaining ingredients and cook until onions are tender, and flavors are blended, about 15 minutes.
5. Top each serving of soup with a dollop of tofu cream, several cubes of avocado and the cilantro.

Note: For large amounts, figure recipe serves 3. Measure water to barely cover beans.

Variations:
Lemon-Scented Tofu Sour Cream:
 Substitute lemon juice for apple cider vinegar.
Horseradish Cream: Add 1 teaspoon fresh horseradish.

For 5 servings, per serving:
Calories: 197   Protein: 12gm   Saturated Fat: 0.4gm   Fiber: 7gm   Carbohydrates: 30gm   Fat: 3gm  Cholesterol: 0   Sodium: 299mg
Calories from Protein: 24%     Calories from Fats: 14%     Calories from Carbohydrates: 62%