15 October 2007

Black Bean Love

I don't know what the weather is like where you live, but here in the Pacific Northwest there is a sharp autumn chill in the air. As for me and my kitchen, this means that there is plenty of good cold-weather food cooking.

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.



  1. What great timing! I have a bowl of black beans thawing out in my fridge that I didn't serve with our fish tacos tonight....now I know what we're having for dinner tomorrow! Thanks, Kirsten.


  2. Ummmmm, that sounds so yummy and cozy for my tummy right now. I was planning on having shrimp fried rice for lunch, but now I may change my order to a Chipotle burrito with black beans. (They're a favorite of mine, as well!)

    I don't cook AT ALL, but you've made it sound as though these are easy and not at all time-consuming. It made me laugh to read that your not knowing what you want to eat until the mood strikes -- I'm the same way, so I completely understood what you meant about not wanting something that requires planning ahead!

    Thanks for sharing this info!

  3. Yeay, Jess! Glad I could help solve your black-bean dilemma.

    Christianne -- you make me laugh, because I was thinking of you when I wrote this and the whole not-cooking thing. I was seriously thinking it was something even the non-cook could easily put together. The quinoa dish is a tad more involved, but well worth the extra effort. ;o)

  4. i LOVE black beans and am always looking for new ways to use them.
    very cool!! the weather DOES just beg for home-made soup, doesn't it? i felt that way the other night and made a lentil soup...my other favorite legume... :)

  5. Oooh ... Blue!! If you have a good lentil soup recipe, I would love to have it. I can't seem to find one that is quite right. Please do share!!

  6. the one i have is for a crockpot... do you have one?

  7. YES!! I do have a crockpot. :o)

  8. I am excited to try out this black bean soup - when I can think clearly again - i've been down and out with a cold the past 5 days, and thought i could make it through work today, but seriously feel like my head isn't connected to my body. And I only took one sudafed (1/2 of the dose) - stupid being sick.

  9. Ilse -- I hate to hear that you're not feeling well! If I lived closer, I'd come on down & make it for you. It's delicious & I'm sure would make you feel a little bit better. ;o)

  10. I was laying in bed last night, or the night before, and realizing how much I would love to have a person come and give me a back rub - being sick definitely isn't fun - but then I realized I would have to drive to Bellingham and get my parents to do it, or pay someone here in seattle - dang! Oh well - just a bit discontent right now. Okay, i'm over it - and i'm fine again :)

  11. i forgot to check back, kirsten.... i'll try to get that recipe to you soon. can you e-mail me thru the link on my profile so i can e-mail it to you?