Black Bean Bonanza

I’ve never met a bean I didn’t like. Seriously. When I was a kid, I would only eat the bean part of a meat/bean dish (Hum, early indications of vegetarianism? Oh ya!). Chilli? I’d only eat the beans. My mom’s goulash (kidney beans, mushy maccaroni, tomatoes, and hamburger) – I’d only eat the beans (and sometimes the tomatoes  – if they weren’t infiltrated with meat bits). Three bean salad? Ok, this was the one exception to my love of all things bean. CONFESSION TIME: Until recently, I didn’t care for green beans, and forget yellow-wax beans (Childhood memory: I thought they were made of wax – ha!). What kind of kid doesn’t like the standard green beans and corn as their go-to veggie choice?! (I’m still not a huge fan of corn.) Probably the same one who didn’t like ketchup – and never developed a taste for ranch dressing.

Ok, so back to the beans.

Beans are my friends. And they can/should be your friends too. They’re full of fiber and vitamins. Some are high in iron too. They’re great hot or cold – or anywhere in between. They’re even awesome sprouted! (For anyone interested in a raw diet or being high-raw, you can use sprouted beans without cooking them. It’s an acquired taste, but that’s how you learn to love new foods, right?) And don’t even get me started on how cheap they are! A bag of dried beans is less than $1.00 (and canned ones aren’t much more – and so convenient!). They can be soaked over-night and cooked in the slow-cooker all day while you’re at work or running errands. When you’re ready to prepare dinner, they’re ready to assist you 🙂 Oh, and if you’re worried about the not-so-pleasant side-effects of all that fibrous bean skin, don’t be! Your body will soon become adjusted to breaking down the cellulose walls of the bean and your intestinal bacterial will become more efficient and thus produce less by-products, which just means the “musical fruit” won’t be making music for very long!

In celebration of my bean-love, I made two black bean dishes last night. The first one, my delicious Warm Black Bean Dip, which I usually eat cold (yes, I see the irony in that), is great with Taco-less Salad, and the second one, Bodacious Black Bean Burgers (Is the bodacious too much? I just added that…) are so good, even Mr. M, a die-hard omni, eats them! (I’d call that a vegan victory.)

Warm Black Bean Dip

1 med/lg onion, diced

2-4 cloves garlic, minced (adjust to your taste)

1 can/1 c black beans, rinsed

1 sm can fire-roasted tomatoes (or 1 c fresh, diced)

1/4 c salsa or picante sauce

1/4 – 1/2 c cilantro, chopped

1 – 2 TBSP lemon (or juice of 1 lemon)

1 TBSP cummin

1 TBSP chilli powder

Salt & Pepper

Saute onions and garlic in a little EVOO (1 tsp should do it), cooking spray, or veggie broth/water (about 1 TBSP), until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa (or picante), lemon juice and seasonings. Cook until thickens – about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro.  Mash mixture with a potato masher until thick paste forms.

Makes 4 (1/4 – 1/2 c) servings.

Taco-less Salad topped with all my favorite fixin's, include a entire avocado!

Like I said, I love to add this to Taco-less salad: Bed of your favorite lettuce, Warm Black Bean Dip (which is great cold!), diced onion, diced green pepper, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, sliced green olives, avocado, and salsa. Sooo goood!

Bodacious Black Bean Burgers

1 med/lg onion, chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 sm green bell pepper, chopped

1 med/lg carrot (or 2 smaller ones), diced

1 lg stalk celery, diced

2 cans/cups black beans, rinsed

1/4 – 1/2 c cilantro, chopped

2 TBSP salsa

1/2 c quinoa flakes (or sub old-fashioned oats or other grain flake)

2 tsp cummin

1 TBSP chilli powder

1 TBSP soy sauce

Salt & Pepper

Saute onions and garlic in a little EVOO (1 tsp should be enough), cooking spray, or veggie broth or water (about 1 TBSP) until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add green bell pepper, carrots, and celery, and cook until tender – about 10 more minutes. (Covering the pan with a lid with help create steam, increasing the cooking speed of the harder veggies and maintaining moisture) Once tender, add 1/2 to 3/4 of the beans, cummin, chilli powder, salt, and pepper. Stir through  and move from heat. Mash mixture with a potato masher until thick paste forms.

Scoop paste mixture into a bowl. Add salsa, cilantro, soy sauce, and quinoa flakes. Stir. If mixture is too sticky to handle (should easily form a ball without sticking to your hands in globs), add more quinoa flakes (1 TBSP at a time).

Scoop giant spoonfuls of mixture into your hands and roll into a ball (or press into a form to make perfectly shaped burgers). Place burger balls in large pan and lightly press into patty shape. Cook until crust forms on burger, then flip until crust forms on other side. TIP: Cover burger pan with a lid to maintain moisture.

Bodacious Black Bean Burger

Serve on a bun with your favorite burger add-ons or with your favorite south-of-the-boarder flavors, such as: salsa, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced or diced tomato, sliced or diced onion, and/or a mix of your favorite sliced olives.

Enjoy!

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