Celebrate the Bean

We eat beans a lot here on Awesome Avenue. So versatile, nutritious, and cheap. They’re a great stand-in for meat, a great source for fiber and protein.

I prefer dried beans to canned. Dried beans don’t have added sodium, and in my opinion they just taste better – creamy and delicious, if cooked right. Soak them all day, and then let them simmer for at least an hour. I prefer two hours, if I can – gets them really nice and tender.

I’ve blogged some of my preferred beans recipes – Chickpea and Potato Curry (also good with cauliflower in place of the potato, FYI) and lentils and spinach. Beans can also help you get creative with soups, like I did here.

But there have been some basic recipes that I have yet to blog until now.

Like beans and rice. We eat this probably once every two weeks. Please don’t make the stuff from the package – homemade beans and rice tastes better, is better for you, and is really simple! Take black beans, or red beans, or red and black beans. After soaking the beans, put them in a big pot with water (or broth + water if you’re feeling crazy) and cajun seasoning. I let them cook for an hour, and then add a diced onion, minced garlic (about 2 cloves), and diced bell pepper. If you’re feeling crazy, you could add some diced sweet potato. Cook for another 45 minutes to an hour, and serve over brown rice. Delicious and healthy.

Beans also make for great bean burritos. I made them just this week, and again they’re super simple. Cook your black beans (or red beans, or red and black beans…you get my point) for at least an hour. When the beans are ready, just leave them simmering and move on to the next step. In a skillet, melt some butter. Add a diced small onion, minced garlic (about two cloves), and diced red bell pepper. Cook until tender. Add a can of rotel and heat until simmering. Season everything – beans and the rotel mixture – with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Now get your tortillas, and in the center of each layer: the beans, the rotel mixture, and cheese. Place each tortilla in a casserole dish. Top it all with any of the leftover rotel mixture, and a little bit of cheese. Bake it at 300F for 10 minutes.

I took the leftover beans and the next morning made myself a Tex-Mex egg muffin:

So, what’s your favorite way to use the bean?

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