Gluten-Free Frugal South American Cuisine: Vegan Vegetarian Black Refried Bean Recipe

October 21st, 2008 yum Posted in Hide your Veggies, South American, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, beans, frugal 2 Comments »

When I posted my recipe for Green Chili Corn Arepa biscuits, one of my readers recommended that I try Venezuelan black bean refried beans as they contain more antioxidents and are just as tasty as pinto beans. I thought that was an interesting idea. Personally, I love vegetarian refried beans made from scratch. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never found those cans of refried beans where the contents are all mushed into an unidentifiable copper-colored block like canned kitty food all that appealing. I want to see and taste all of my ingredients- and I definitely don’t want to taste the can that they were stored in. And what is more economical than dry beans? I can get a whole pound of dry beans for the price of a can, but using dried beans, I can make get enough for a huge batch of refried beans AND beans to freeze, and enough beans for another recipe besides. I also like my beans a tad softer than when they are canned, and soaking overnight and simmering in my slow cooker results in soft, melty beans that I just can’t resist. Some time back I developed a recipe for Perfect Refried Pinto Beans (scroll down), but I’d never tried making them with black beans. When I went to Whole Foods this weekend, I picked up a bag of black beans to try making a version with black beans, also known as turtle beans. I looked at various recipes online, and then started experimenting. Carrot might be an unconventional ingredient, but we have a huge bag of lovely organic carrots in our refrigerator, and I like the unexpected sweetness it added to the recipe. The DH was a big fan of the green chilies that I added to the recipe on a whim. He said “it’s the perfect degree of spiciness- flavor without too much heat.” I have to agree- I could eat this stuff like candy. Is that weird? Although this recipe is vegan, I used it in a quesadilla “lasagna” lunch for my non veg hubby, layering a corn tortilla with black refried beans and then cheese, covering it with two corn tortillas and adding another layer of cheese and tortilla. Although the refried beans take a little time to make, once it was made it was a matter of minutes to assemble and microwave the quesadilla. These quesadillas would also be tasty made in a cast iron pan. For me, I was perfectly happy with a vegan taco filled with refried beans. You can take a vegan taco to the next level by topping it with homemade pico de gallo, guacamole, or even avocado cubes. And now, if you don’t mind, I think me and my spoon will be heading for the refrigerator to eat some of this refried bean stuff cold…. because it is THAT good.

Oh yes, and about those antioxidents… According to the World’s Healthiest Foods web site,

“When researchers analyzed different types of beans, they found that, the darker the bean’s seed coat, the higher its level of antioxidant activity. Gram for gram, black beans were found to have the most antioxidant activity, followed in descending order by red, brown, yellow, and white beans. Overall, the level of antioxidants found in black beans in this study is approximately 10 times that found in an equivalent amount of oranges, and comparable to that found in an equivalent amount of grapes or cranberries. ”

Not to mention that black beans are high in protein, folate and magnesium. Sounds like a good excuse to make some yummy refried black beans to me! Got any other great ideas for using this black refried bean recipe? Tell me in the comments!

Vegetarian Refried Black Bean Recipe
3 or 4 cups black beans, homemade or canned
1 tbsp. peanut oil (or favorite oil)
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 medium carrot, diced
1 can mild green chilies (4 oz) or roasted, diced anaheim peppers
1 tsp or more cumin seeds
1 tsp oregano
generous amounts of salt, pepper
dash of apple cider vinegar
fresh cilantro, to taste
Prepare beans and rinse. If using homemade black beans, you can reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Heat oil in a cast iron pan to medium and saute your onion until almost translucent. Add garlic clove and diced carrot and continue cooking until carrot softens slightly. Toss in your cumin seeds and oregano, letting them heat and release their fragrance. Mix in your can of chilies and season with salt and pepper. Take out 1/2 cup or so of the onion mixture and combine in blender either with reserved cooking liquid (1/2 to 1 cup) or water. Add your beans to the cast iron pan and combine thoroughly. Add extra cumin and/or oregano if you think it needs it after tasting. Let beans heat and flavors permeate. After at least 10 minutes fold your blended liquid into the other ingredients in the pan. Let cook for another 10-20 minutes (adding extra water or cooking liquid if it gets too dry) and then taste again, adjusting seasonings- you may need more salt. Sprinkle in a dash of apple cider vinegar and fold in some fresh cilantro. A few minutes later, take the pan off the burner and serve.

DH loved this recipe!
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Gluten-free Vegetarian Mexican Red Bean Soup Recipe

July 29th, 2008 yum Posted in Easy, Mexican, One Dish Meal, Vegan, Vegetarian, beans, frugal 5 Comments »

I may not have mentioned this, but as soon as DH and I get back from Japan, we’re going to be moving to a brand new apartment in the area. Sounds great, right? Yes, but have you seen my freezer? No? Well, let me just tell you, it’s not a place for the weak of heart. I freeze GF baked goods (especially bread, sliced and sealed in a ziploc freezer bag), beans made from scratch and cooked in the slow cooker, and homemade “tv dinners” of leftover GF veg stews and soups. I always appreciate leftovers three times as much a month or so later! Well, terrific, except our freezer was getting so full not only could I not find anything, but things would jump out at us whenever we opened the door. Oops! Danger, Danger, Freezer Ahead! Since school ended I made it my personal mission to go through some of the frozen goodies I had been storing. I had lentil soup (with some freshly made saffron yogurt), smoked potato pot pie, and all sorts of yummy GF things as I wanted them, and I had never appreciated my own cooking more! When I could finally see the back of the freezer again (DH was amazed) I reorganized our freezer and realized it was time to start baking up some of those lovely frozen beans. I was bummed when I found out there weren’t any black beans in there, especially since I’d hoped to make a Mexican black bean soup for dinner one night. But, I did find some frozen red beans- and decided to think outside the box and come up with my own version of a Mexican… red bean… soup. Happily, I seemed to like red beans just as much as black and this soup met with both my and DH’s approval. It’s funny, because hot soup seems like a winter thing. But, on a hot summer day, a slow simmered soup can really hit the spot without heating up the kitchen (or the chef) too much. Pair it with rice in the rice cooker and you have a great, balanced meal.

Vegetarian Red Bean Soup Recipe
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic diced
3-4 cups red beans (slow cooked)
1-2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 28 oz. tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth or filtered water
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup roasted corn
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. fresh marjoram
2 tsp. honey or agave nectar
juice from one half of a lime

fresh avocado chopped for garnish
yogurt/sour cream

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot and add onion. Let it cook for a few minutes and add garlic and cumin. Let the garlic and onion go translucent and then add the red pepper. Add red beans, fresh herbs, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Add water and roasted corn and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Add the rest of your seasonings (Salt, paprika, and marjoram) and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add the honey and lime, mix and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve with a sliver of lime, cubes of avocado, and yogurt if desired. (Optional!)

A perfect weekday dinner with rice.
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