I have long been a fan of the black bean. Whether in spreads, soups, or side dishes, these beans are a favorite with me and my diet. I recently found a couple of very simple and tasty recipes that use my favorite little bean. They're healthy, they're cheap to make, they're gluten-free, and they're vegan to boot (provided you omit the dairy ingredients in the soup, as I must). If you're a meat-eater, don't let that information stop you! These are great as side dishes or can be easily modified to suit the carnivore's palate.
Black beans pack some serious nutritional punch: a single cup has about 15 grams of fiber and just as much protein. When it comes to anti-oxidants, these bad boys are hard to beat. The dark skins of the beans contain flavonoids that work together with vitamins in the body to prevent oxygen-related damage. Add to that that they'll do your heart a lot of good: studies have shown that consumption of black beans reduces the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
What I particularly love about this particular Black Bean Soup recipe is its simplicity. Every recipe I've found until now calls for soaking black beans overnight. Because I tend to eat on the fly (and tend not to know what I want to eat until the mood strikes), I wanted a recipe that used the canned variety of beans. The recipe calls for little prep time (opening cans, some minor chopping, and the ability to use a blender or food processor) and is so quick and easy, you won't even realize you're cooking!
The Quinoa & Black Beans is good as a meal (especially for smaller appetites like mine) or a side dish. Not only is it simple, but it makes plenty! This recipe was tested in my kitchen on Friday and we've been eating leftovers since. For lunch, I cooked up some lean chicken-garlic sausage, chopped it up, and added it to the mix. It was delicious!
Because I cannot take credit for either recipe, I'm providing the links so you can take a look when the appetite strikes.