Black Beans

The sweet and creamy black bean, popular in Mexico and South America, is one of nature’s best foods. The popular legume is noted for its high fiber and protein, which makes it a staple in many vegetarian diets. Recent studies have shown that that this wonder bean helps support digestive tract health, particularly in the colon. With plenty of wonderful and nutritious recipes to chose from, you can easily whip up these miracle beans in no time!

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Cuban-Style Black Beans

"I would love to have your mom's cooking at my birthday," my partner, Rob, said to me last fall. He always loved certain dishes that she made, especially her beans and rice. My mother had passed away earlier that year, in June. This would be the first time cooking her recipes without her. I grew up in Cuba with my mom's cooking. Later, when we lived in the U.S., we would cook together whenever she visited from Florida. But neither of us wrote anything down. Nevertheless, I took the challenge on. There was a freshness in my mom's cooking. It was homely and not overly fussy. Her black beans are a perfect example. They begin by simply cooking dried black beans with onion, green pepper, and bay leaf in a pressure cooker, which makes quick work of dried beans, infusing them with flavor while turning them very tender and soft. She would then make sofrito: garlic, onions, and green pepper gently cooked for a long time in olive oil. She would add the sofrito to the beans, which enriched the cooking liquid and gave them a mellow flavor that didn't hit you over the head and really went well with everything else she served them with—the toasted rice, the sweet fried plantains, the boiled yuca, and the tender shredded beef of the ropa vieja. She served an achingly sweet caramel flan for dessert. And for me, all of these things together made the perfect meal. And so I did cook my mother's recipes for 30 people on Rob's birthday. I’ve made a career out of being a professional food photographer, and when I was making her recipes, there was a moment when I thought, Let me add the yellow and red peppers instead of the green, for color. But you know what? That's not the food that I remember. I started embracing the brown colors and tones and the earthy richness of each element. I wanted the beans to look and taste as they did when I grew up eating them. And so they did, and the meal was a huge success and a perfect tribute to her. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I still do. A pressure cooker speeds everything up, but is not essential. If you use a regular heavy pot, soak the beans overnight, then simmer until nearly tender before adding the onion and pepper mixture.
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Black Bean Salad Recipes

Black beans are a great way to add protein, flavor and texture to all kinds of salads. We love to add it to grain salads, like quinoa and rice, and mix it with veggies like corn, peppers and scallions. Black bean salads make great side dishes, and are also satisfying enough for a vegetarian main course. Bulk a basic black bean salad up with roasted squash, and add a bright, flavorful vinaigrette to punch up the flavor. Whether you're looking for a Latin-inspired side or a meatless Monday dish, these black bean salad recipes don't disappoint.
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Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with Ancho and Orange

This vegetarian chili from TV chef Ellie Krieger starts with canned black beans, so it’s easy to make. A hit of fresh orange adds a warm, sweet note to the rich spices.  Slideshow: More Vegetarian Recipes
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Gallo Pinto (Black Beans & Rice)

“In Nicaragua, gallo pinto is the great social equalizer,” Cordúa says. “It’s part of almost every meal, whether you are rich, poor, white, black or native.” He serves this black beans and rice dish to his family for breakfast or a late-night snack, adding crispy bits of fried onions. Slideshow: More Bean Recipes Recipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook
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Black Bean-Coconut Soup

Using coconut milk as a base makes this soup is rich and creamy without a drop of cream. Slideshow: More Latin American Recipes
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Black Beans

Use a pot of beans as a platform for the meal. Add some tortillas, a great salad, some limes, a plate of sliced avocado, some salsas and maybe a small plate of simply roasted fish or meat. Let the beans be the centerpiece of the whole thing and your food life will shift for the better. Slideshow: More Andrew Zimmern Recipes
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More Black Bean

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

The canning liquid from the black beans turns into a silky sauce for the chicken fill-ing. Slideshow: More Mexican Recipes
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Black Bean-and-Shiitake Burgers

Dallas chef Tim Byres uses shiitake mushrooms, black beans and textured vegetable protein to make his hearty vegetable burgers. Slideshow: More Veggie Burger Recipes
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