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How to Make Feijoada, Brazil's Favorite Meal

Updated on September 11, 2016
Blond Logic profile image

Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, and share these through my articles.

Feijoada | Source

How to make a Brazilian feijoada

You may not have heard of it before but feijoada is the national dish of Brazil. This meal however is not saved for national holidays, it is enjoyed year-round. The combination of smoked meats, and black beans makes this a hearty dish and is often served on Sundays. The rest of the day can be spent lounging by the pool or relaxing in a hammock. It is a traditional family time together, around the table enjoying good wholesome food.

The meal normally consists not just of the stew but is accompanied by white rice and dark green kale. Orange slices are served as a garnish. To top it off, fried cassava flour is sprinkled over the top.

I have been told that this tastes better the second day. In fact, many people cook their beans the day before.

Many homes make this and all slightly differently including their favorite types of meat. You may not be able to source some of the exact ingredients so I have included a video which shows how you can substitute the ingredients you may have available to you.

History of feijoada

When I first tried feijoada, with friends, I was also told the history of this dish.They said that this is basically a poor man's food, and that this dish had its roots with the slaves. Brazil had more slaves than any other country. It is estimated that more than 3 million slaves were sent to Brazil, 35% of all slaves.

This story about feijoada, although interesting, isn't true yet many Brazilians still believe it.The truth is, this dish has its origins in Europe. Portugal has many bean and pork stews very similar and it is from here that this dish originated. Portuguese influences here in Brazil, are seen not just in the language but also in some of the architecture and of course the cuisine as well.

I encourage you to watch the video and follow the link which will take you to a list of the ingredients. Here in Brazil they use things such as pig's tail, trotters and dried meat called 'carne de sol'. Also beans are normally cooked in a pressure cooker, virtually every house here has one. Although slightly different than the traditional Brazilian version, the video shows an excellent example of how varied this dish can be. In fact, throughout Brazil, one can find variations.

In Salvador, you would be more likely to find a feijoada that is quite spicy. There they tend to use chillies more in their cooking than they do in other parts.

A plate of feijoada
A plate of feijoada | Source

Beans and rice

Beans and rice are the staple foods of many countries as they can be kept dry and used as needed. The addition of meats, vegetables, herbs and spices is what changes an otherwise bland combination into something tasty.

Throughout many Latin and South America countries, these two ingredients are brought together in uniquely different ways. Each way reflecting the available ingredients in their area and resulting in meals that have become synonymous with their regions and countries.

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, 6 Quart | 1000W
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, 6 Quart | 1000W

Here everyone uses a pressure cooker for their beans. It takes less time, and turns out perfectly each time.


Nutrition in beans

Beans have a bad reputation because they can produce gas resulting in flatulence . This affects everyone differently. There are ways to reduce this problem such as changing the water after soaking the beans. It also helps to add baking soda to the cooking water.

Beans are a power pack of nutrition and as such shouldn't be eliminated from your diet.

They are a fantastic source of B vitamins and minerals which are essential for healthy bodily functions. Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cyanocobalamin (B12), all of these contribute to a healthy liver, eyes, hair and even blood cells.

Virtually everyone in the western world needs to increase the fiber in their diet and beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber. Yet another reason to eat them.

It is often thought that a diet to lose weight shouldn't contain beans which contain carbohydrates. This is nonsense, as a 1/2 cup of beans only has approximately 120 calories. The goodness you receive from them outweighs the calorie count.

Do you think you will make this dish?

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sounds delicious and healthy. On a good day, I just might try it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hello Ms Dora,

      It is very tasty although my husband likes to spicy it up by putting chili sauce on his. It is a 'sticks to your ribs' kind of meal. You should give it a go, although it does take time to prepare. Thanks for the comment, have a great week.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      This was so interesting. Though the hub is about a particular dish, I like the history and explanations you added, like spice to a dish!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Tillsontitan,

      Glad you enjoyed it. It is amazing that simple beans and rice can be made in so many interesting ways.

      Thank you for the votes.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      Looks and sounds delicious. I like trying different styles of food and you can't go wrong with stews, the meat is always very tender and the veg softens.

      Shared, pinned, tweeted, up and useful.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Brett,

      I love meals that allow me to skip a day of cooking. A big stew will last a few days with just the two of us here. Thanks for the comment and sharing.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Sounds like a dish I would truly enjoy. Love beans and rice any day. Thanks for the history and meal idea.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hello Teaches12345,

      Beans and rice are the staple foods of many countries and Brazil is no exception. They use quite of bit of meat which gives this dish a lovely rich taste. If like me you over indulge with it, find the nearest hammock and relax afterwards.

      I hope you give this dish a try.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      I love hearty dishes like this. Would be perfect to make up a big batch and freeze smaller portions for future meals. Thanks for sharing feijoada with us! :)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

      Hello Linda,

      Yes you're correct that is an ideal way to prepare and keep it. I hope you give it a try. Thanks

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