I’m about to talk about something people don’t talk about enough:
What a humble legume, one that is often the victim of food humor (“Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart. The more you eat them, the more you…………..you get the idea).
But beans, though. They’re a staple around here. I eat beans all the time, and I love them. Here are ten reasons why:
1. A source of protein
2. Countless types and flavors (garbanzo, black, red, cannellini…to name a few of my favorites)
3. A base from which to showcase many spices
4. A million different ways to eat them
5. They last forever in the pantry
6. Bang for your buck..they’re so cheap!
7. They are used in cuisines from around the world
8. Lots of fiber
9. High in antioxidants
10. Perfectly filling
With Andy out of town this week, I grocery shopped as simply as possible. Lots of tomatoes, avocados, eggs, and–you guessed it–beans (why is it so embarrassing to admit I’ve had beans everyday this week?!)
So here’s one way I eat them. Here’s my recipe for amazing sweet and spicy black bean quesadillas, which is basically my recipe for Tex-Mex-Fancy-Pants-But-Really-Easy Refried Black Beans. When I cook anything with even slightly “south of the border” elements, I have to have refried beans and rice. In fact, I consider it a major sin and will embargo any Tex/Mex restaurant that does not serve rice and beans with all its entrees. Period.
Here you go, my easy refried beans, also known as Y Not Tu Mama Tambien’s Refried Beans. Or Frenchie Takes On the Tex/Mex Beans. Anyway, you get the idea. Beans can be anything you want them to be, which is one reason I find them so desirable.
1 yellow or Vidalia onion, chopped
dash of sugar
15 oz. black beans, cooked*
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you like spicy, add more)
*For convenience, I used a small can of black beans. Cooking dried beans is easy and very tasty, but I always forget to soak them overnight. And it’s not worth cooking dried beans if you’ve skipped that step.
Chop the onion and sautée in olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and sugar on medium heat. If the onion starts to burn, lower the heat. It is really important for the onions to caramelize (the sugar accelerates this process). Once they are transparent and almost mushy, put them in a bowl to the side.
Keep the pan on the stove and increase the heat to medium-high. Put the cooked black beans in the pan and begin mashing them with a potato masher or fork. Add 1 tsp. salt, the cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Once the beans are mashed and heated through, add the caramelized onions and mix so that all ingredients are well blended.
This week, I ate the beans in a simple cheese quesadilla topped with sour cream, tomatoes, and avocado. They also make a killer tostada topping (use the beans as the base, then top with chopped fresh tomatoes, and avocado–delicioso!) or side when serving tacos or fajitas.
Am I crazy for liking beans so much?