Carlie Connolly/Red Deer Express

PRAIRIE KITCHEN

Cooking with Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer

Red Deer’s Mayor Tara Veer shared her favourite dish, her black bean soup.

When it comes to her busy schedule, she likes to keep her eating as clean as possible.

“I very much believe in healthy living and I try to eat organic as much as possible and try to lead an active lifestyle,” Veer said in a recent chat with Prairie Living.

Because she’s always on the go, she likes to have meals that can be made quick and efficiently, having fresh ingredients readily available.

“I often get home from the office quite late at night, (often around 8 p.m.), so I’m looking for something quick and healthy that I can prepare.”

Veer calls herself a ‘free wheeler’ when it comes to cooking as she doesn’t follow a lot of recipes and enjoys throwing ingredients together, seasoning them to taste.

And she loves cooking for others besides herself.

“I love cooking and I often have my family over for dinner. I love quality time with loved ones and usually preparing a meal is one way that we can get everybody together and to spend some time with each other.”

Usually when she cooks, she loves having build-your-own type meals where people can have extra ingredients to add on if they so choose.

Veer also happens to be 90 percent vegetarian, so most of her dishes are very vegetable-focused.

“In the summer I have my own herb garden so it’s my goal to make as much as possible straight from my garden.”

Black bean soup is one of her favourite recipes she chose to share with Prairie Living, as it’s healthy, quick and easy to make for everyone!

Tara’s Black Bean Soup recipe

• Two cans of organic black beans

• 1 to 1 1/2 cups of homemade salsa (see Salsa ingredients below)

• 1 cup of vegetable stock

• Sea salt to taste

• 1/2 cup of loose cilantro

Tara’s homemade salsa recipe

• 3 tomatoes

• 1 medium sized jalapeno

• 3 garlic cloves

• Lime

• Sea salt to taste

• Your choice of amount of cilantro

• Your choice of the amount of purple onion

Directions:

Serves between 4 to 6 people

Takes 10-30 minutes depending on thickness

• Turn stove on to medium to low heat

• Add in organic black beans

• Add in the salsa

• Stir salsa and beans together

• Pour in organic vegetable stock

• Add some sea salt to taste

• Add in the loose cilantro

• Turn up the heat to around medium to high

• Tilt the pot away from you and blend together with an immersion blender (One of Veer’s favourite cooking tools) or something similar to blend together the ingredients

• Let sit for a bit, depending on how thick you want it

Add ons:

Veer likes to have these extra ingredients on the side for her guests to choose from as toppings.

• Chopped tomato

• Chopped avocado

• Shredded cheddar cheese

• Extra cilantro

• Sour cream

• Pieces of lime

• Pita chips

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