Tag Archives: beans

Spicy Black Beans

Black beans are by far my favorite bean even though I swear the only beans I ate as a kid were baked beans and the occasional kidney bean in chili.  When I was a vegetarian, I experimented with all kinds of beans and found myself using black beans in place of meat in plenty of recipes.  The great thing about black beans is that they are low in fat and full of fiber so a little bit of them will go a long way in keeping you fuller longer. 

I’ve been on a pretty strict diet for the past month and black beans, which are considered a good carbohydrate, make for a great snack when you are watching your weight.  Even thought I love black beans, I don’t really like the idea of just eating them by the spoonful.  So, I found this recipe for Spicy Black Beans, an easy black bean salad/side dish with simple flavors like jalapeño, red pepper, cilantro and lime.  Don’t let the “spicy” in the title scare you – the jalapeño is mild without giving it too much of a kick.  For another flavor burst or extra heat, consider adding in spices like cumin or cayenne pepper with the black beans.  This dish can be eaten warm, room temperature, or cold and makes for a nice side to any meat entree or as a light meal in itself.

The ingredients:

Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.  Add the red pepper and jalapeño and cook for 4 minutes until softened.

Add in the lime juice, salt and black beans and cook for 3 minutes until the beans are warmed through.

Top with fresh cilantro before serving.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Soups are great for healthy eating! When I’m trying to eat better, I love making them because as soon as the soup is prepared, I portion out the sizes into individual containers to make it easy to grab for lunch (and to not overeat!). This Tuscan White Bean Soup with Kale is rich in fiber but low in calories and fat. Not to mention it’s vegetarian! Creamy, sweet Great Northern Beans are simmered with onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme in vegetable broth (any kind of broth will work here) and then carrots and kale are added until soft. Red pepper flakes and white wine vinegar are tossed in at the end where both lend a real flavor boost. The original recipe calls for escarole but since I started eating kale a few months ago, I always try to use it wherever I can. Any leafy green – spinach, collard greens, or swiss chard – will work, so use whatever you like. The only thing I left out is the addition of the parmesan rind and although I’m sure it adds a ton of flavor, I didn’t see the need for the extra calories so I just used a little parmesan cheese on top before serving. I loved this soup more than I ever expected to and cannot rave about it enough. I will make this again, no question!

The ingredients:

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook until soft and then add in the garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds.

Add in the vegetable broth, water, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering for 10 minutes.

Add in chopped carrots and kale and cover for 15 minutes.

Stir in red pepper, salt, black pepper, and vinegar. Remove the parmesan rind (if using). Serve with shaved parmesan cheese.

Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Parmesan rind

Substitutions:

  • Kale for escarole

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Layered Bean Dip

Dips are usually a necessity for game day and in the middle of winter, what’s better than a baked, warm dip? This Layered Bean Dip will appeal to vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It has layers of refried beans, black beans, sour cream, salsa, and Mexican cheese and baked until bubbly. This recipe calls for reduced-fat cream cheese, sour cream and cheddar cheese but obviously you can use whatever full-fat ingredients you want (I mean, at a party, who cares?!).

If you are heading to a friend’s house, this is an easy dip to assemble at home and bake later. Serve this with corn chips, tortilla chips, baked chips or pita chips (I made my own pita chips out of leftover whole wheat pitas cut into small wedges and baked for 10 minutes at 375°F). Kids will surely love this too!

The ingredients:

Mix the refried beans and drained black beans in a bowl.

Spread bean mixture at the bottom of an 8×8 or 8x6x2 baking dish.

Top bean mixture with sour cream.

Layer on a cup of your favorite salsa.

Sprinkle Mexican cheese over the salsa and cover in foil.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite chips.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Spinach, Pasta, and Pea Soup

I was a vegetarian for several years and used to make soups like this Spinach, Pasta, and Pea Soup often.  Soup is one of those great meals that can easily be made vegetarian by swapping out meaty broths for vegetable or mushroom broth (I used vegetable broth).  But sometimes, vegetarian soups can be boring and too soft.  This one has chickpeas which hold up well in the cooking process giving you something to sink your teeth into.  The lemon added a light freshness without being overbearing and the parmesan cheese gave a needed salty flavor.  Consider substituting kale for the spinach or swapping out the chickpeas for cannellini beans.  This soup was great for workday lunches and always left me feeling satisfied.

The ingredients:

Sauté garlic and green onions in olive oil until soft and fragrant.

Add broth and water and bring to a boil.

Stir in lemon rind, orzo, and chickpeas.  Cover and cook until orzo is cooked, about 10 minutes.

Stir in oregano, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and spinach.  Cook for a few minutes until spinach is wilted.

Top soup with parmesan cheese.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions: 

  • Vegetable broth for chicken broth
  • Dried oregano for fresh oregano

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Chipotle Bean Burritos

When I was a vegetarian, I always had black beans in my pantry and ate a lot of burritos.  These Chipotle Bean Burritos mixes black beans with kidney beans along with a touch of chipotle chile powder.  The chile powder provides a slight heat that you don’t really notice it until after the third or fourth bite.  The combination of the mashed beans with the whole beans provides different textures.  The toppings are standard: tomato, lettuce, scallion, cheese, and sour cream.  I’m not a raw onion fan but liked the scallions here which provided a slight crunch.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions (because this is what I had on hand):   

  • Reduced-fat mozzarella for the reduced-fat 4-cheese Mexican blend
  • Spinach for the romaine lettuce

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

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