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Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Cooking in Confinement: Vegetarian Recipes + Beans

My favorite black beans. Use them for anything.

Hello my friends. How are you holding up? Last time I shared some hearty carb-y recipes. Today I have some vegetarian links at the bottom of some of my favorite veggie heavy recipes, but first I have a recipe for black beans. Let's get started.


I like to eat meat and seafood, but I also recognize it's good to take breaks from it, whether in the form of a vegetarian day a couple of days a week, or by only having meat at one meal a day. Black beans are nice because you can do so much with them. Have them over rice, in a tortilla, in soup, or on a salad. I will share with you my basic recipe, plus my favorite ways to eat them.

Beans after having been soaked for about 24 hours
Start the day before by soaking your beans in acidic water. Cover the beans by a few inches with water, and add about a tablespoon of whey, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. This helps break down the anti-nutrients in the beans and makes them easier to digest. After they have soaked, they will have increased in volume and some may start to split.

Skim the foam

Drain the water. Either refill with water to cover by a couple of inches, or use broth. Bring the water or broth to a boil. I like to skim the foam. I have read in some recipes that this is the impurities coming out of the beans, but other sources say it's just the protein foaming in the water. At any rate, it helps to see how things are cooking when the foam is out of the way.

After skimming the foam, add about two teaspoons of salt. Lower the heat to medium or medium high and cook the beans for about one hour. The water should be bubbling along happily. Check them after about 45 minutes. They may be soft enough to eat, but be sure to cook them long enough that they are creamy. I like to cook them the day before if I can and let the liquid reabsorb to really make them soft.

Saute together one onion and three cloves garlic, minced, in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When it is soft, add one teaspoon each of smoked paprika and oregano, plus two teaspoons cumin.

Black beans with onions and seasoning
Add the cooked beans plus about one cup of the cooking liquid to the onion mixture. Stir together to mix the flavors. Taste and add salt if necessary, but keep in mind you will be adding vinegar at the end. When everything is hot, turn off the heat and stir in a tablespoon of acid: this could be apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon or lime.

That's it! Here are my favorite ways to eat black beans:

- With homemade sourdough tortillas, sour cream, avocado, and red onions
- On a salad with cotija cheese, tomato, corn, and black olives
- Over soaked brown rice with guacamole and cheddar cheese
- In a soup, but usually with chicken...so not vegetarian :)

Here is the Basic Black Bean Recipe:

1 pound dried black beans

Put beans in a pot cover by a few inches with water. Let soak 24 hours. Drain water, and refill again with either more water or broth. Bring to a boil, skim the foam, and reduce heat to medium or medium high so the water is bubbling happily. Add:

2 teaspoons salt

While the beans are cooking, prepare the other ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil until soft. Stir in:

1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin

When beans are soft, drain all but one cup of the cooking liquid. Mix in beans and liquid with onions and spices. Warm through until flavors have melded. Taste and add salt if needed, then turn off heat and add:

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, lemon, lime or red wine vinegar

Now how about some other vegetarian options? Perhaps some that focus more on vegetables as the main component. Here is what I have been enjoying lately.

Greek inspired salad with chickpeas and eggplant spread

- The salad above used smoky eggplant dip, which really carried it to the next level. The salad itself had a mix of Romaine and spring mix, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, avocado and red onion

- A favorite Spanish dish is Espinaca con Garbanzos which is spinach and chickpeas. Don't underestimate this dish. It is a deep complexity of paprika, tomato, almond, bread, and, of coure, the spinach and chickpeas. You can eat it alone, or on bread like a tapa. 

- One of my favorite ways to eat cabbage is roasted. Here is an excellent version that uses walnuts and Parmesan.

That's all for today! Happy cooking.

3 comments:

Holly Turlington said...

I don't particularly like black beans but I am excited to try the chickpea recipes!

Kate Angelella said...

Making this today! Looks delicious—thank you for sharing 💜

Rebekah Kuk said...

@Holly - You don't like black beans! They are my absolute favorite. Justin and I both discovered on our first date that we both like black beans. It was one of those maybe-we're-soul-mates moments. Did you the try the chickpea recipes?

@Kate - I'm glad you gave it a try and it turned out well! Once you figure out dried beans, it opens up so many possibilities, doesn't it?