My friend Julia makes a mean black bean soup…plenty of cumin, fresh vegetables and homemade stock. I, on the other hand, make a mean pan of Black Bean Brownies! You heard that right! Black beans are more versatile than you may have imagined.Black beans, also known as black turtle beans, are especially popular in Caribbean, Cuban and South American dishes. But you’ll also find them spruced up in favorite foods from my native neck of the woods — South Louisiana, the home of Creole and Cajun cuisine. Their quality plant protein, dietary fiber, hearty texture and earthy flavor make them a filling favorite among vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Delicious in everything from salads to soups and desserts, these dietary superstars are nutritionally dense, inexpensive and incredibly versatile!By adding black beans to your menu, you get a well-deserved big bang for your food bucks. Like all beans, they are low fat and have no cholesterol. Their fiber promotes good digestive health and healthy blood sugar levels. They also have plant protein, iron, B vitamins, potassium and antioxidants to support cellular health.
If you haven’t yet jumped on the mean bean machine, black beans are a great place to begin. Lucky for us, they are available dried, canned and frozen. Keeping canned beans handy makes for easy, quick meals. Be sure to look for organic or natural with no added chemicals or preservatives. If they have an excess of sodium, give them a good rinse before using.Try some of my favorite black bean recipes:
Add them to just about any chili, soup or stew.
Make dip or hummus with black beans like this idea for Black Bean Hummus.
Toss a handful on a leafy green salad or make a black bean or multi-bean salad. This recipe for Sweet Corn and Black Bean Salad is really good and so is this Black Bean Salad With Avocado-Lime Dressing.
Add to tacos, burritos, chalupas, quesadillas, enchiladas and even to guacamole! You’ll love what we did with these Tofu and Black Bean Tacos and this recipe for Whole Wheat Bean And Cheddar Quesadillas With Fire Roasted Salsa.
Add to hot cooked pasta.
Make rice or quinoa pilaf; add black beans. Here is a wonderful recipe for Black Beans And Rice Extravaganza.
Don’t forget the veggie burgers! Black beans make them super delicious. Try our Homemade Black Bean Burgers.
Add them to baked beans and casseroles. This recipe for Classic Baked Beans would be great substituting some of the white beans with black beans.
Heat them up with tamari, ginger and garlic or your favorite BBQ sauce.
Add to your favorite salsa or make a fresh batch with black beans, pineapple or mango or papaya; add cumin, some minced red onion, diced jalapeno, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Serve with grilled fish or shellfish, pork chops, chicken, tempeh or tofu.
And for dessert, make my mean Flourless Brownies.
A couple of notes on beans:
If you are cooking from scratch, start by soaking overnight. Next day, drain well and cook in a pot of fresh water. Don’t add anything acidic such as tomatoes or lemon juice until completely tender as this can hinder the cooking process.
Let’s be frank: It’s no secret that beans of all kinds can cause digestive distress, namely gas. Take heart! Check out our Five Tips to Deflate Flatulence.
Have you turned your kitchen into a mean black-bean machine? Got a favorite idea or recipe? Let me know!