Roasty-Toasty Black Beans

Black beans (or turtle beans) are tasty and healthy – they are packed with protein and dietary fiber, and are loaded with antioxidants.  They are a great choice for diabetics, and could help lower anyone’s risk for cancer and heart attacks.  All in all, a lot of goodness is packed into that small package!

I ran across an article in last month’s Real Simple magazine about the top foods you should eat, and of course black beans were on the list.  They suggested roasting them in the oven for a crunchy and healthy snack, and I was intrigued – I’ve worked in the natural foods industry for almost 15 years, and I had never heard of anyone preparing beans this way before – I had to try it!

The method is simple – rinse and dry cooked black beans, toss them with some olive oil (a fantastic healthy fat) and your favorite spices, and bake them until they are crispy and dry.  Through a little research, I found that they are a popular snack in Korea – you can buy them pre-packaged and seasoned and are popular because they are mild-tasting.  If you are looking for big, bold flavors, then this isn’t the snack for you, but if you are looking for a tasty snack that is packed with protein and fiber and is allergen-free (unless you can’t eat legumes!) then look no further.

Photo © 2011 Sassy Sampler

I found that you can make this recipe using any bean, you just may have to adjust the cooking time.  I also found that they soak up a ton of spices – I wanted to make a Cajun version, but that didn’t work out quite like I had planned.  I added spice to it before cooking, during cooking, and after cooking, and they never exceeded the “mild” rating from tasters, with the exception of the few “surprise” beans that were eye-watering!  If you like spicy snacks, then I would recommend blooming the spice in the oil first to try to amp up the heat.  To bloom a spice, you would heat the oil and the spice in a pan over medium heat for just a couple of minutes (until it is fragrant).  Let the oil cool before adding them to your beans.  I will note that I put about a Tablespoon of granulated garlic (I do love the garlic!) over a couple of cans worth of beans, and they were delicious!

Everyone who tried them liked them, and quite a few tasters went home with cans of beans (it helps that the Westbrae beans are on sale this month!).  You can also use dry beans, just be sure to cook them first!  These are also great on salads and in burritos.

photo roasted black beans

They may not be pretty – but they are pretty tasty! Photo © 2011 Sassy Sampler

Roasty-Toasty Black Beans

INGREDIENTS

  • Black beans (or your favorite bean) – either a 15 oz can, drained and rinsed OR any amount of soaked and cooked black beans
  • Olive Oil for coating beans (about 2 t per can of beans)
  • ~ 1-2 t Spices of choice — Garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, chili powder,   sea salt, cumin, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Dry cooked beans with a paper towel.
  3. Place them in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over them.
  4. Add desired spices to taste.
  5. Toss beans with oil and spice(s).
  6. Spread in an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Take out baking sheet and toss beans.  Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until beans are crispy.
  8. Store in an air-tight container for a few days.

This mild-flavored snack is a favorite in Korea, and you can also use it to top salads, etc.  Use your imagination!

You can use almost any bean in this recipe — they don’t have to be black beans!  Garbanzos, or chickpeas, are the only ones that could be a little too hard (because of their size) to turn into a crunchy snack, but some enjoy that aspect.  Cook for closer to an hour if you give them a try.

You will need to use a lot of spices if you want a bolder flavor — be prepared to use more than you think will be necessary!  Blooming the hotter spices in oil first will help achieve a stronger flavor.  To bloom the spices, add them to the oil and cook over low heat for a couple of minutes.  Let oil cool before mixing it with the beans.

Roasty-Toasty Black Beans PDF

Black Bean Vegetable Soup

Now that it is October, my mind has focused on fall recipes.  My husband has already made the first crock pot roast of the season, and I bought a beautiful organic chicken to make French Chicken in a Pot this weekend.

For my demo this Friday, I knew that it would be an overcast day, so I couldn’t resist putting together a pot of soup.  I wanted to find a recipe that would be easy, yet still use some of the local produce that we have coming in (the carrots, garlic, and onion were all local).  I found a good base recipe on www.allrecipes.com and went from there.  While I was preparing it I made a few tweaks to the recipe and voilà, I had a delicious black bean soup all ready for sampling!

This recipe uses canned beans, corn and tomatoes.  You could absolutely soak some dry beans overnight and use those instead, but part of the beauty of this recipe is that you can make the whole thing in an hour and it tastes like it took all day.  I used Field Day Organic Black Beans, Westbrae Organic Yellow Corn, and Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes (who has a pretty fantastic website).  I also used Imagine Organic Vegetable Stock, but be aware that if you are gluten-intolerant, you may want to use another brand – although there are no gluten containing ingredients in this stock, it is not certified gluten-free like their broths are.

I feel stock tends to be richer in flavor because the ingredients are concentrated.  Stock vs. broth seems to be debatable however, as I found out when I went online to see if there was a definable difference – some cooks/cookbooks feel there is no difference, and some feel that vegetable stock doesn’t exist because a stock is historically meat based and made with the bones (see video for difference as defined by Rouxbe cooking school).  You know your own palette, so make the best decision for your personal tastes!

This was one of my most popular demos – I gave out the most recipes of any demo, and the giant pot I made was gone before the customers were.  I guess shoppers really were ready for some soup!  Get creative with veggie substitutions – I’m always a big proponent of using what you have on hand!

Black Bean Vegetable Soup Photo © 2010 Sassy Sampler

Black Bean Vegetable Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 T olive oil (or other healthy fat)

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 carrots, chopped thinly

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 t chili powder (or more, to taste)

1 t ground cumin

2 1/2—4 c vegetable (or chicken) stock (not broth)

3 15 oz. cans of black beans, drained

1 can of whole kernel corn, drained

1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes

Black pepper to taste

Instructions

1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.

2. Cook onion, garlic, carrots, bell pepper, and celery, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until onion is just softened.

3. Add chili powder and cumin; cook, stirring, for about a minute—until mixture is fragrant.

4. Add stock (start with 2 1/2—3 cups), one and a half cans of beans, corn, and black pepper.

5. Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Let simmer while you complete the following step.

6. In food processor or blender, combine tomatoes and remaining beans.  (This is also a good time to clean your cutting board and knife).  Add to the pot.  If necessary add (up to) the remaining broth until desired consistency is reached.

7. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for at least 15 minutes (or until carrots are tender).  For best results, simmer for up to an hour.

8. Remove from heat, add pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Notes:

  • For a thinner soup, add up to 4 cups stock.  You can also decrease the beans to 2 cans.
  • You can use broth in this recipe, but the soup will not be as rich.  If you choose to use broth, increase the spices to compensate, and simmer for at least half an hour.
  • Rice is a nice addition to the soup.  If you choose to add a cup of rice (after step 7), then be aware that you may need to increase the amount of liquid in the soup or it will be very thick.
  • If you rough chop your veggies, you will need to increase the cooking time.
  • You shouldn’t need to add any salt to the recipe, as stock tends to have more salt already in it (compared to broth).
  • This can easily be made on a weeknight—chop your veggies thinly so they cook quickly—if you would like a heartier version, chop your veggies coarsely and cook longer.

Black Bean Vegetable Soup PDF