You can use Trader Joe’s Chunky Salsa (yes, salsa) to make the easiest vegan soup ever


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Photo: The Minimalist Baker

You know a recipe is damn good when you return to it more than once. We live in the era of Pinterest, where a few clicks of the keyboard reveals approximately 100 billion recipes for cauliflower gnocchi. So there’s really no need to revisit any one dish. And yet, I have made Dana Shultz of the Minimalist Baker’s five-ingredient black bean chili approximately 10 times. The recipe typifies the unbeatable combination of coziness and ease. And oh—did I mention its primary ingredient is Trader Joe’s salsa?

In retrospect, it’s strikingly obvious that salsa could work as a soup base. It’s packed with veggies already diced down to bite-sized morsels that are ready to be thrown straight into a pan. Until Schultz suggested though, I’d never considered that the party staple possessed a dual purpose (a double-life outside of dunking). Better yet, even thought the recipe boasts it only has five ingredients total, you’re really scoring a nutrient-dense bonus of tomatoes, peppers, and onions.

In retrospect, it’s strikingly obvious that salsa could work as a soup base. It’s packed with veggies already diced down to bite-sized morsels that are ready to be thrown straight into a pan.

Now that the vegan blogger has opened my eyes to the versatility of salsa, I use it as a soup starter every chance I get. Since the mix is loaded with spices like paprika and oregano, you wouldn’t put it in something like an Italian wedding soup or classic chicken noodle. However, pair it with chopped onion, black beans, sweet potato, and vegetable stock—as Schultz does for the aforementioned chili—and you have a sweet, flavorful strew with just the right amount of kick as you swallow it (thanks to the jalapeño in the salsa).

When I make my own personal pot of this soup, I like to run it through my food processor to finish it off. I wind up with a creamy texture that truly could pass for bonafide chili. Then, as Schultz suggests, I top it off with a perfect serving of avocado and some crumbled tortilla chips. If you’re extra-famished, you can pour it on top of rice or cauli-rice for a heartier spin. Can you tell I’m in love? I know, I’m being super subtle about it.

Because we’re all about being gourmet with minimal ingredients, here’s how to make a three-ingredient peanut butter cup and Carrie Underwood’s nonsense beet smoothie.

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