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Five Cheap and Easy Ways to Cook Black Beans
Why Cook Black Beans?
Black beans are cheap, healthy and versatile. You can buy them dried or in cans and they are great to have as a household staple. Cooking black beans doesn't take very long, especially if you are using canned black beans.
Most black bean recipes don't contain too many ingredients. You can make a tasty and nutritious meal without breaking the bank or going out of your way to find speciality items. You can also pair them with a number of different flavours, make them as a side, or create a main dish with them.
Surprisingly enough, black beans can also be used not only in savoury dishes, but also in sweets.
If you're still not convinced, read on for some great recipes for cooking black beans:
1: Black Bean Soup
This is a quick and easy mid-week recipe which is simple to put together out of store cupboard ingredients. To make it into a more substantial meal, rice can be added to the soup, transforming it into an easy and filling stew.
The recipe as it stands is pretty spicy, since my husband and I adore spice. If you want a milder version, reduce the number of chipotles to one. Conversely if you really want it to give a kick, crank up the number to three or even four (I do this all the time and it's delicious).
Using canned black beans is fine for this recipe (I have never used dried). I usually use a large 40oz can, but 2 or 3 regular cans will work just as well.
- 1 large brown or red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp chilli powder
- 2 chipotle chillis
- 2-3 15.5oz cans black beans
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- cilantro, optional
- 1 cup rice, optional
- sour cream, optional
- Dice the onion and cook with a little vegetable oil on a medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chilli powder and cook 1 more minute. If you are adding rice, you should cook it according to packet instructions in another pot at this point.
- Add the (drained) black beans, stock and chipotle chilies. Bring to the boil over a medium high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the soup cool for a few minutes. Transfer to the blender and pulse until roughly blended, or use a hand blender.
- Heat the soup to the desired temperature and add the lime juice and mix in rice, if using. Turn off the heat and serve with chopped cilantro and sour cream.
2: Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas
Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas were developed my my husband and me because we both love Mexican food, but we usually don't have the cash for a meaty filling. This recipe is 100% vegetarian and super cheap and easy to make.
We make this same dish at least once a week, but change it up with different sauces, or even just eat black bean and rice tacos and forego the sauce altogether if we we're truly in a rush - they're so tasty that they don't need anything more than a dollop of sour cream and they're ready to go.
It's a great recipe to make in bulk as the filling is easily freezable. The recipe is simple:
1 cup cooked white rice
1-2 15oz can black beans
small bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion,diced
combination of enchilada spices*
You could also use a bought enchilada seasoning if you prefer.
Cook the onion until soft, around 5 minutes, add the garlic and spices and cook for another minute before adding the rest of the ingredients. Heat through and turn off the heat.
Once you're at this point you can wrap a few tablespoons of filling in soft tortillas and place them in a 9x13 dish. We usually top them with this tasty tomatillo sauce and some chihuahua cheese, but feel free to use a tomato sauce or chili sauce if you prefer.
Cook until cheese is melted and bubbling, around 10 minutes. Serve with sour cream and chopped cilantro.
*I generally throw in cumin, chill powder, paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, but I never measure the quantities. These enchiladas are very forgiving.
3: Black Bean Burgers
A simple and tasty substitute for a cheeseburger, you can top black bean burgers with pepperjack cheese, sour cream, chipotle mayonnaise, sauteed mushrooms, caramelised onions or any or all of the above.
This recipe is not at all dry or crumbly as some black bean burgers can be. It's our go-to recipe and usually finds its way into our meal plan on a fairly regular basis. As a lazy person I don't bother toasting the panko, but it seems to turn out fine anyway. These are also highly freezable, so make them in bulk and use as needed.
Would you try a dessert with black beans in it?
4: Black Bean Brownies
The first time I stumbled across this recipe, I was both intrigued and repelled. The idea of a healthy brownie was definitely an attraction, but black beans... in a brownie? I just didn't know.
Eventually I plucked up the courage to try them out. To my surprise, they were really good! Of course, I never told my husband what was in them, but they were moist and chocolatey. The texture wasn't the same as normal brownies, but it wasn't off-putting. If you want to go for a healthy dessert, try these black bean brownies.
Black Bean Cookies
5: Black Bean Cookies
From the same blog as the black bean brownies, I also tried out the black bean cookies. They came with an endorsement from my sister, and I was glad I tried them out. I omitted the chia seeds and just used regular flour, but they were just as good.
I highly recommend trying these out. It's a great way to have a sweet treat without feeling guilty about it!