Tag Archives: black beans

Best Black Bean Soup

My whole life up to this point, I have thought “Bean soup? Why would anyone just eat pureed beans?” I’ve read dozens of black bean soup recipes and thought either that it sounded way too simple, so how could it possibly be tasty, or that it was too complex because “toast your cumin seeds lightly  until fragrant and then grind in a spice grinder”; ain’t nobody got time for that.

But then one day, I had a big batch of fresh slow cooker black beans and several jars of slow cooker chicken stock in the refrigerator at the same time. And I thought to myself, self, broth based soups are very good for you and low in calories, and so are black beans.

Why not give it a try?

Lo and behold, with some very simple staple spices, I put together a black bean soup that was out-of-this-world tasty. You can probably pull this together in minutes at any time with what you already have in your home. It would also be very easy to adapt to a slow cooker, just add everything and cook on low for a few hours. Additionally, it would freeze beautifully to be enjoyed at a later date.

I wolfed down half a batch, felt guilty, checked the calorie count, and felt guilty no more, because the whole thing will cost you less than 1000 calories total. And it’s super filling because of all the fiber from the black beans, so you can easily get 3-4 bowls from this recipe.

I used chicken stock that I made in the slow cooker from a whole chicken carcass. I recommend using homemade because you can control the amount of sodium, or add extra flavors you like such as bay leaves, lemon juice, or jalapenos to the broth while it cooks. If you want to keep it vegetarian, just make vegetable broth by putting a bunch of veggies in a slow cooker with some water for hours, and then strain it.

I also usually add a can of stewed whole tomatoes to my broth, and I loved that one tomato got added into this broth. I think it adds a nice layer of flavor, but your black bean soup won’t suffer without it. Feel free to leave that part out, or add more based on your taste buds.

This recipe makes a little more than a liter of soup, enough for 3-4 good sized bowls with some chunky bread and/or a salad on the side, or two really hearty meals. It takes approximately 10 minutes total, which does not include cooking time for the beans themselves or the chicken stock if you make that as well.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked black beans^
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried chopped onion
  • Optional: 1 whole tomato, quartered
  • Optional: 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Step 1: If cooking your own beans, soak them at least 8 hours, then cook them on low overnight or over 6-8 hours, and drain. If using canned beans, drain 2 cans but don’t rinse. Add the vegetable or chicken stock and the spices to your beans in a large bowl.

Step 2: Use an immersion blender or an upright blender to blend the soup to your desired thickness. I enjoy a few beans left whole, so I just pulsed it several times, but you can also blend the crap out of it until totally homogenized.

And that’s all there is to it! Since I regularly cook up large batches of dried beans on the weekend, I think this will become a standby recipe in my repertoire. It is super healthy, low calorie, very filling and crazy cheap.

Price Breakdown

Black beans: $8.84 for 12 lbs
2 cups dried = ~.66lb = 4 cups cooked
$8.82/lb /12 lb * 0.66 lb = $0.48

Chicken stock: I consider it free because most people throw away the carcass after eating the meat. But if we consider the cost of the whole chicken just to make stock: $3.61 + maybe $2 of other ingredients (1 jalapeno, 1 can tomatoes, 1 onion, spices) = $5.61
This makes approximately 1 gallon stock, 1 cup = $5.61/16 = $0.35

Onion: $5.98 for about 96 tbsp
1 tbsp = $5.98/96 = $0.06

Garlic powder: $8.94 for about 96 tbsp
1 tbsp = $8.94/96 = $0.09

Whole chicken 5.47 lb 3.61
12lb Black beans 8.84
Minced onion 5.98
Garlic powder 8.94

 

Total: 0.48 + 0.35 + 0.06 + 0.09 = $0.98! Total!

Therefore, even if you only get 2 bowls, that’s $0.49 per serving. Not too shabby at all.

^You can use 2 cans of black beans, drained but not rinsed, if you don’t want to make them from dried.

*You can also used canned or boxes of chicken stock if you don’t want to make your own, or use vegetable stock, to keep it vegetarian/vegan.

 

Best Black Bean Soup

Yield: 4

Best Black Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 whole roma tomato, quartered
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried chopped onion
  • Optional: 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. If cooking your own beans, soak them at least 8 hours, then cook them on low overnight or over 6-8 hours, and drain. If using canned beans, drain 2 cans but don't rinse. Add the chicken stock and the spices to your beans in a large bowl.
  2. Use an immersion blender or an upright blender to blend the soup to your desired thickness. I enjoy a few beans left whole, so I just pulsed it several times, but you can also blend the crap out of it until totally homogenized. 
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Blender Black Bean Hummus

 

As a food, hummus is enjoying more and more notice in North America. Long a staple of cuisines such as the Mediterranean, Egyptian, and Indian cultures, America has been slower to recognize its unique texture, taste, and health benefits. Luckily, this is changing as stores begin carrying national brands as well as their own store brands, and consumers are driving this change.

Hummus has a reputation as a ‘clean’ food, and it definitely deserves its healthy reputation. Each ingredient in hummus is a superfood in their own right: chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. All these items have fabulous health benefits. Unfortunately, ‘Big Food’ can manage to take all these good things and ruin it with additives, chemicals, sweeteners, and preservatives.

The great news is, hummus is super easy to make! And the even better news is that it is so easy to create new hummus flavors and recipes based on what you enjoy. For a plain classic hummus recipe, check out this post, and for a different take, read my Feta and Red Pepper Hummus recipe. On the future try-it list: Beet hummus & edamame hummus. Keep an eye out for those posts.

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In this recipe, I show how you don’t have to stick to the expected ‘chickpea’ for the protein and texture. Any old bean type will do honestly, so be creative. If chickpeas don’t do it for you, try lima beans, or black eyed peas. As long as it is in the legume family it should work out texture wise.

Using dried beans makes this recipe incredibly cheap, but you could use canned beans to skip the cooking step; just add straight to the blender. Also if you don’t want to buy a whole can of tahini, you can use any nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter. All tahini is, is roasted and blended sunflower seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rinsed black beans
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika

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Step 1: Rinse the black beans & make sure there are no rocks/dirt/debris. Place in a crock pot with enough water to cover, and cook on low for 4-6 hours, until beans are soft.

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Step 2: If using canned beans, start here with rinsing. Rinse the beans under cool water until it runs clear.

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Step 3: Add the beans to the blender, along with the spices, tahini, and lemon juice.

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Step 4:  Turn the blender on, and drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides as needed. Once it reaches the desired consistency, just put in a bowl and you’re done! If it’s too thick, you can add a little more oil or lemon juice, or even warm water, until it’s how you like.

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Once you have your homemade hummus, there are so many options for how to enjoy it! For a nice presentation, drizzle on a little more oil, and sprinkle with paprika. It is a delicious dip for cut fresh veggies, spread it on any kind of sandwiches and wraps, bake your own chips to dip, or use it on pizza like a sauce.

Hummus has tons of plant protein and filling fiber, just try to restrain yourself from eating the whole batch at once.

 

Blender Black Bean Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rinsed black beans
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika

Instructions

  1. Rinse the black beans & make sure there are no rocks/dirt/debris. Place in a crock pot with enough water to cover, and cook on low for 4-6 hours, until beans are soft.
  2. If using canned beans, start here with rinsing. Rinse the beans under cool water until it runs clear.
  3. Add the beans to the blender, along with the spices, tahini, and lemon juice.
  4. Turn the blender on, and drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides as needed. Once it reaches the desired consistence, just put in a bowl and you're done!
  5. If it's too thick, you can add a little more oil or lemon juice, or even warm water, until it's how you like.
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Vegan Four Bean Salad

 

This dish was cooked up (pun intended) for a work potluck I had. I wanted a dish that didn’t take too much time and effort, since I would put it together the day of, maybe even the night before. And it needed to be something that made a lot, to feed a lot of people, but on a penny budget.

In comes my old best friends, beans, to the rescue! Beans are delightful, cheap, and filling. They come in endless variety too, so when you put several kinds together you get a healthy, hearty, and also pretty dish.

This is a very easily customizable adaptation of your typical “three-bean” salad, in that I simply added an extra type of beans. Here I used canned, but you can slash the cost even further by starting with dried beans, and cooking them in a crock pot on low overnight to rehydrate. Then drain and refrigerate until needed.

Ingredients:

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Step 1: Open all the cans, put the beans in a colander and rinse them several times with cold water. This helps remove some of the excess sodium and any preservatives that might have been in the canned juices. Mix in a large bowl with the peppers and onion.

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Step 2: Combine the vinegar and oil, and pour over the mixture. Add the spices, and mix everything up.

 

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One-dish Enchilada Casserole

 

This recipe inspiration came from one of the several food magazines I regularly read. I absolutely love easy, one-dish recipes, especially if they look like you took hours to plan and create this masterpiece, but in reality all you had to do was creatively layer several ingredients and give it some time.

Mexican food is a great place to start for simple yet flavor-packed recipes. Pretty much anything involving beans, rice, and veggies will end up becoming a hit, and there are literally thousands of ways to get creative and make dishes your own. You can customize everything from the spices to the meat or lack thereof to the type and amount of vegetable and carb.

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For this recipe, I had chicken breast in the freezer, as well as some corn, and canned necessities (beans and diced tomatoes) coupled with a few fresh ingredients like avocado and shredded cheese, and we got ourselves a multi-layered chicken enchilada casserole!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chilies or 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup guacamole or 1 mashed avocado
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp butter or margerine
  • 2 tortillas (flour or corn, 10 or 12 inch)

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Step 1: In a skillet, cook the onion, corn, peppers, and cumin in butter until all vegetables are soft and corn is lightly charred, about 5 minutes.

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Step 2: In the same or a different skillet, cook the diced chicken until completely white and hot throughout.

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Step 3: In a large round pie pan, cover with aluminum foil and place a tortilla on the bottom of the pan. Spoon on half of the cooked chicken, and then half of the veggie mixture. It is super easy to make this vegetarian by leaving out the chicken, or you can switch it up with flank steak or chorizo.

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Step 4: Spread on half of the drained diced tomatoes with chili and/or salsa.

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Step 5: Sprinkle on half the can of drained beans.

 

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Step 6: Spread on half of the guacamole, or sprinkle around slices or chunks of avocado.

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Step 7: Put down another tortilla, and repeat the layers. Top it all off with a hearty sprinkle of shredded cheese.

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Step 8: Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and browned on top.

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Then simply slice up your casserole into as big a slice as you want, and enjoy!

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This is an amazing flavor combination, and the tortilla layers hold it together mostly well. You can add a third, top layer of tortilla, or just do one layer of filling like a pot pie. Feel free to layer it in whatever order you want, and change around the ingredients to suit your tastes. Hope you like it!

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It’s fragrant, delicious, brightly colored, and has SO many vegetables packed into one serving, yet even kids and picky eaters will likely go back for seconds!