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High in fiber, low in fat, and completely adaptable to your taste, this soup is great for all seasons. Serve as an entree for a healthy, satisfying meal that comes together quickly for an easy weeknight meal.

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, medium dice
3 medium carrots, medium dice
3 stalks celery, medium dice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegan)
3 15-oz cans black beans, drained
1 bay leaf
10 sprigs fresh thyme
Fresh cilantro (or parsley), rough chop, for garnish
Avocado, diced, for garnish
Lime juice, for garnish
Greek yogurt, for garnish (omit to make it vegan and dairy-free)

1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
2. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute.
3. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, and smoked paprika and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any stuck-on bits; reduce by half.
5. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, 1 cup water, beans, bay leaf, and thyme; bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Remove bay leaf and thyme and roughly puree with an immersion blender or regular blender (it should still be very chunky; alternately, you could eliminate this step completely and leave it as is).
7. Adjust seasoning and serve with cilantro (or parsley), avocado, lime juice, and yogurt (all optional).

Initially posted without a photo on account of a stolen phone, photo below was retrieved from the magical cloud!
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1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for frying (this recipe calls for a shallow, not deep, fry, so the oil should only come up about 1/4 inch on the side of the pan)
1 small onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper (this time I used orange because it was all I had, but I like the red against the rest of the colors)
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
4 cups frozen chopped spinach (from the bag, not a box, which is more compact), drained well
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup taco (or fajita) seasoning
Kosher salt to taste
8 whole wheat tortillas
8 oz pepper jack cheese

1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
2. Saute the onion and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes, and then add the corn, spinach, black beans, seasoning, and salt. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture starts to stick together (almost like a thick paste).
3. Mash the mixture with a potato masher to break up most of the black beans and help all the ingredients stick together.
4. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the mixture in the center of each tortilla and spread out to about 1 inch from the edge. Sprinkle with 1 oz of the grated cheese and roll into a burrito.
5. Heat canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the folded tortillas into into the pan, seam side down, and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
6. Cut each “egg roll” in half on a diagonal and serve with a creamy dipping sauce (I was too lazy to include in this recipe, but this time I used 2 parts plain, non-fat Greek yogurt to 1 part mayonnaise, blended with chipotles in adobo).

This is the second time documenting this recipe, but the third time I’ve made it. The second time, I brushed each “egg roll” with canola oil and baked in a 425-degree oven for about 20 minutes. It was good, but the flavor did not come close to the fried version. So, depending on your mood, either method works well, but fried is preferred.

Notes: make sure to cook out all the moisture in the vegetable mixture, otherwise the tortillas will get soggy and puff up. This round had excellent flavor but the moisture was a problem.

I used this recipe from Whole Foods. Changes I made: subbing coconut oil for butter, going just shy of 1/2 cup for the sugar, omitting the walnuts, increasing chocolate chips to just under 1 cup (mixed in the batter and sprinkled on top). Overall, not bad for a brownie made with black beans. Slightly grainy in texture, and a little too cakey for my taste. Plus, they stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Next time, I will under-bake, and consider swapping mashed banana for the sugar. Perhaps will omit eggs and use a ground flaxseed slurry to make it vegan (with the coconut oil). Needs work.

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Since I’ve moved from Brooklyn (yes, it’s true), I am happy to have more space, a calmer atmosphere, and a FRONT PORCH! The summer is past us but today was beautiful, sunny, and 82 degrees. (Note: this was written a couple of weeks ago–oops!) Since I had the day off, I spent it jogging, grocery shopping, and guinea grilling on the front porch in my lawn chair with a nice cold Octoberfest beer (hey–it is October).

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Just a guide, no real recipe:

Dice grilled chicken breast and toss with thinly sliced romaine, diced tomatoes, corn, crushed whole-grain tortilla chips, black beans, sliced scallions, diced or sliced avocado, and light ranch dressing (alternately, it would be delicious with a lime vinaigrette).

If you’re planning on having leftovers, don’t mix the dressing or the tortillas in the salad. Instead, garnish each salad with both.

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So now that we’ve made homemade vegan refried beans, it’s time to eat.

The first two times I made this healthy condiment, I slathered it between tortillas with shredded cheese and made quesadillas. The first time I even topped it with a fried egg and fresh picked cilantro. These are excellent vegetarian entrees that leave you full but not, ya know, fuuuuuuull.

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The third and most recent time I made the refried black beans, it was for a vegan breakfast. Toast a whole wheat English muffin (or any kind of whole grain bread–there are more wholesome options available, but I was in the mood for the nooks ‘n’ crannies) and top with a healthy smear of refried beans. Garnish with a few slices of avocado and a sprinkle of salt (flaked sea salt is ideal, but I used kosher because it was all I had on hand).

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1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
2. Saute the onion and bell pepper in the pan, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
4. Add the cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper to the pan; stir and cook for 1 minute longer.
5. In go the black beans. Stir and cook for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
6. Mash half the beans with the back of a wooden spoon, a potato masher, or an immersion blender.
7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

This condiment can be used the way refried beans are. Check back soon and I’ll show you what I did with them.

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4 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa (1 1/2 cups uncooked; can use a blend of red and white quinoa)
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 hearts of romaine
2 tsp olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Juice of 2 limes

1. Preheat a grill pan over high heat.
2. Cut the romaine hearts in half lengthwise, keeping the end intact to hold the leaves together. Brush with 1 tsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Place the romaine on the grill and cook until nice grill marks are achieved. Remove and cool.
4. Roughly chop the romaine and add to the cooked quinoa.
5. Add the remaining ingredients and the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil and stir to combine (do not over stir because it will make the quinoa gummy).

Future considerations: cumin, fresh herb?