Black Bean Hawaiian Chili



I woke up this morning to snow, four inches of beautiful, untouched, smooth, quiet snow. Living in Richmond, Virginia, we don’t see a lot of snow. Growing up in Florida, we did not see a lot of snow either. Thus, although I’m almost 22, I still get giddy about this beautiful blanket whenever I head north.

On cold snowy days like today, nothing really feels better than a nice cup of hot chocolate or cider, and some soup! Based on the weather channel, it looks like the entire country is under a cold front. I know that in Kansas today, we are reaching -9˚. That is significantly colder than I ever need to be.

Thus, if you’re at home reading this right now, I highly suggest you stay where you are, don’t even bother changing out of your pajamas, and whip up this soup. Your entire house will smell delicious, and you can curl up next to your favorite window with a bowl of this delicious soup to enjoy the snow from inside. I can just picture the comfort now!

Here’s to the little joys in life- like freshly fallen snow and delicious homemade soup.

Happy Sunday friends!



  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
  • 2 16-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water plus bouillon cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon Ancho chili powder (or other pure, mild chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle chile powder (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano (optional)
  • Generous grating of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pound yellow squash or zucchini*
  • 2 cups crushed pineapple and juice


  1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring regularly, until light brown.
  2. Once the onion is light brown, add the bell pepper and jalapeno, cooking for about two minutes (or until soft).
  3. Stir in the garlic and allow to cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, broth, and seasonings- omitting the squash and pineapple. Stir well and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, rinse, trim, and cut the squash into small cubes.
  6. Add the squash, pineapple, and pineapple juice to the pot. Increase the heat slightly, and cover. Simmer until the squash is fork tender.
  7. Adjust seasonings as desired, and enjoy!



Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 6 Servings, easily doubled
  • To make this recipe more like a soup and less like chili, add more broth.
  • Decrease the amount of broth to make a thick taco filling or chip dip!
  • To speed up the cooking process of the onions in step 1, add a pinch of baking soda!
  • I used all yellow squash in this recipe, but you can easily substitute some of the squash for zucchini, or replace it all with zucchini, depending on your preference.
  • Source: Fat Free Vegan 
  • If you like this recipe, try these other delicious dishes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’! (recipe links found below):

Homemade Roasted Butternut Squash Soup



Alright people, I’m going to be honest. I’m obsessed with this recipe. In the past I have stayed away from creamy soups, because I assumed they were chalk-full of whole milk and additional fat that completely works against the benefits of the vegetables. However, I am a changed person now. This recipe is so simple, and is full of whole natural foods that you are going to love!

I owe my new appreciation for butternut squash soup to my cousin Lindsey.  A few weeks ago I was traveling by myself, so I stopped to spend the night with Lindsey and her family. As is the case with southern tradition and family hospitality, Lindsey prepared a scrumptious dinner for my arrival and then waited to eat until I arrived (which was much past the dinner hour, mind you).

As we all gathered around the table, Lindsey and I got to talking about the ingredients in her soup, and she shocked me with house simple and naturally healthy her recipe was.  Thus, when I got back home from my trip, I immediately purchased a butternut squash, found my own recipe, and got cooking!

It’s the little things that remind us how blessed we are.

Thank you God for warm homemade food, family, road trips, and a place at the table.

Here’s to you and yours.

Love, a rented kitchen




  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 32 oz.  vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, or sprinkled goat cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Peel, de-seed, and dice the squash into roughly 1-inch cubes. For step-by-step photo instructions on how to cut a butternut squash, click here.
  3. Peel and dice the onion into roughly 1-inch pieces.
  4. Arrange the squash and onion on the covered baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, and generously sprinkle with ground pepper and salt. (I suggest using a brush to make sure the oil is evenly dispersed over and under all of the veggies, or else the vegetables will stick to the baking pan!)
  5. Roast for 45-50 minutes until the squash is lightly golden and fork tender.
  6. Once the vegetables are done roasting, bring the vegetable broth to simmer in a large pot.  Add the roasted veggies to the pot.
  7. In bathes, puree the roasted vegetables and broth together in an immersion blender or food processor. Continue this process until all of the broth and vegetables have been blended together, into a nice creamy consistency.
  8. Optional: Serve warm and top with a dash of cinnamon and/or nutmeg, and a sprinkle of goat cheese. Enjoy!




Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Slightly adapted from Lick My Spoon 
  • Like this recipe from ‘a rented kitchen’? Try these other delicious dishes below!

Vegetable Wonton Soup


Alright, I owe you all an apology. It has been so long, way waaaay too long, since I last updated this blog, and I truly feel terrible. You would think that since a girl has to eat, there would also be plenty of recipes in stock to post, however life got a little crazy this summer and my stockpile depleted before my eyes. Woops.

If you were curious (I’m assuming that you are), I moved last week from my first ever kitchen, into a new rented kitchen.  This process has been both overwhelming and awesome.  For starters, my new kitchen is much bigger (YAY!), and because I’m moving in with three other girls, there’s a plethora of new equipment and utensils to play with (Double YAY!).  The downside about my new kitchen is there is no dishwasher, and finding places to store all four of my roommates and I’s kitchen tools is quite an overwhelming task.

In the midst of all this transition, I haven’t had much time to cook, let alone learn where we’re storing all our new equipment, or if it’s even unpacked yet.  Regardless, I am determined to get back into the kitchen and deliver some fun new recipes ASAP.

This recipe is actually a dish I made over Christmas break this year, when I first made baked vegetable wontons.  The pictures don’t do this soup justice, because I am telling you, wonton soup is fantastic.

If you haven’t tried wonton soup before or are looking for a good vegetarian recipe, look no further! This recipe is so worth trying something new.

The other plus about soup? It stores well, in case you happen to be going through a period of transition, like moving. I speak from experience.  Eat up, and I’ll be back soon!



  • 2 cups finely minced cabbage
  • 1 bunch of scallions, minced (plus ½ bunch chopped for the soup topping)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely minced
  • 3 large white button mushrooms, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 70 wonton wrappers
  • Bowl of water, for sealing the wrappers
  • Vegetable stock (1 cup per bowl of soup)
  • Fresh baby spinach


  1. In a large bowl, combine the minced vegetables and spices (cabbage, 1 bunch of scallions, carrot, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper). Toss well to mix.
  2. Assemble the wontons one at a time, by laying a wonton wrapper on a clean surface so that one point is facing you (a diamond shape). Place ½- 1 teaspoon of filling in the center the wonton wrapper.
  3. Using a pastry brush, wipe the outer four edges of the wrapper with a dab of water.
  4. Fold the corner closest to you over the filling to meet the top corner- creating a triangle. Press the edges together all the way down the wrapper.
  5. Fold the two outer points together, tucking one point under the other.
  6. In a large pot, heat your vegetable stock.  Once hot, add the wontons, without overcrowding the pot.
  7. Let the wontons cook until they bob to the surface.
  8. While the wontons cook, place a few spinach leaves in the bottom of each soup bowl, and ladle the hot soup on top (this process allows the spinach to wilt beautifully!)
  9. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and enjoy!


Baked Vegatable Wontons

Baked Vegatable Wontons

Notes and Tips!:

  • Slightly adapted from: In Jeannie’s Kitchen
  • If you’re hungry for classic baked Vegetable Wontons, check out my recipe here!
  • Like this recipe? Check out these other delicious dishes from ‘a rented kitchen’ below!:

Black Bean Fajita Soup


I have been in a really big soup mood recently.  I keep catching myself flipping through my cookbooks only to end up in the soup section, over and over. I think this new soup-passion is the result of three main reasons:

  1. Soups are an excellent way to have a healthy meal full of vegetables, and who doesn’t like that?!
  2. Soups make excellent leftovers (music to my busy ears)
  3. It’s January!

January should be national soup month, seriously. With chilly wintery weather, there is nothing better than coming home from a long day of class to a warm bowl of soup.

I have not made many soups before (see the notes below for links to some of my other soups!), so I have had fun experimenting with new recipes.  My wonderful boyfriend has given me a few cookbooks over the past few years, and this recipe comes from one of those cookbooks. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! With chili powder, cilantro, black beans, and crushed tortilla chips, this soup echoes similarities of taco soups. The beauty of this recipe however, lies in the lime juice, zucchini, and squash. The inclusion of squash will make you daydream of veggie fajitas, and the lime juice is simply a treat for the taste buds! Give it a try, before January’s gone!



  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups vegetarian broth
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Parsley
  • 1 small zucchini, peeled and quartered
  • 1 small yellow squash, peeled and quartered
  • 1 15 oz. can rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 Tablespoons shredded jack cheese
  • 4 teaspoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups multigrain tortilla chips, slightly crushed


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, jalapeno, and garlic to the pan. Sauté for about two minutes, or until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the broth, spices, zucchini, squash, black beans, and tomato to the pot.
  3. Cook on medium-high heat until the squash and zucchini are soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add the lime juice to the pot and stir well. (Depending on your taste preferences now is an excellent time to add more spices or lime juice to suit your taste!)
  5. Serve warm with crushed chips, shredded cheese, and cilantro on top. Enjoy!


Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Gluten Free? Replace the multi-grain tortilla chips with a gluten free chip, or omit the chip altogether
  • Vegan? Replace the pepper jack cheese with soy cheese, or omit the cheese altogether!
  • Adapted from “Amazing Soy” cookbook by Dana Jacobi
  • I doubled this recipe for a dinner party and was able to enjoy the leftovers several times! This soup keeps great refrigerated and in a sealed container. Simply microwave a bowl for 90 seconds and you have yourself a delicious and healthy leftover meal!
  • Check out these other delicious soup recipes! Sweet Potato Thai Soup and Vegan Sweet Potato Quinoa Chili with homemade Tortilla chips


Sweet Potato Thai Soup


Hello wonderful readers! In just a matter of hours we will be saying goodbye to 2012 and welcoming in 2013. Hard to believe, right? At the beginning of 2012 my cooking experience in the kitchen consisted of popcorn, cereal, and homemade muffins. Now, 88 recipes behind me, I am still far from an expert, but no doubt my repertoire has grown exponentially.

My plans for growth have not stopped there. Here are a few of my goals for the New Year!

  • A few loaves of gluten free bread!
  • Homemade lasagna
  • A few Indian food dishes
  • A few more soups (maybe Egg Drop soup!)
  • Increasing use of seasonal dishes
  • Another veggie burger (see my black bean burger here)
  • Homemade chai tea
  • Garden fresh salsa
  • Sweet potato hummus

Expect these few recipes and many many more in the New Year. And come back often! Readers like you always inspire me to continue learning and cooking.

To welcome in the New Year, here is a delicious soup recipe from two of my favorite people- Meg and Jarrett.  My family has enjoyed it countless times, so I thought it was beyond time I share it with you all! Curl up with a bowl of this delicious soup to kick your January off to a great new start.

With love, and wishes for a wonderful New Year, from my little rented kitchen to yours



  • 2 (10 oz.) cans diced tomatoes and mild green chiles (I suggest Rotel Mild!)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can red beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 oz.) can vegetable broth
  • 4 cups cubed, peeled sweet potato (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • Suggested Optional garnish: Chopped dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts and lime wedges


  1. Combine the first 12 ingredients in a 5-quard slow cooker.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours, or until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Remove ½ cup of the warm liquid from the slow cooker, and place in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Add the peanut butter to the liquid and whisk well.
  4. Mix the peanut butter mixture into the stew, stirring well.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of peanuts and lime wedges, if desired.


Notes and Tips!: