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Monday, March 7, 2011

Black Beans and Vegetables--a Colorful Center to the Meal


This dish may be a little "hard-core" for those still used to having more "meat and potatoes" type meals, but it is also a very colorful dish that could entice non-vegetarians to take a chance on a bean-focused meal. Check out the end of the recipe for some suggested substitutions.



Black Beans and Vegetables

1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
10 oz frozen chopped spinach (do not drain)
1/4 yellow (or other color) bell pepper, coarsely chopped
canola oil
3 c cooked black beans, including liquid
2 t cumin
1 t cajun seasoning, or to taste
1 t oregano
2 t apple cider vinegar
salt to taste

Saute the onions, carrots, and pepper in oil until the carrots are barely tender. Stir in the black beans and seasonings and return to a boil. Simmer ten to 15 minutes, uncovered, until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the spinach and return to a boil. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Toppings that are good for this: sour cream (or plain yogurt, as pictured), grated cheese, chopped cilantro, green onions, salsa--the usual things that go well with all things "Mexican."

Serve over rice, rolled into tortillas burrito style, or accompanied by corn bread or crisp tortillas and a nice crisp salad.





Variations/adjustments:

If your family is not big on spinach or other greens, you might want to start with perhaps half as much. Kale or collards could also be substituted for variety or if your family might just prefer those to spinach.

Right now, winter squash and sweet potatoes are not too available in the produce market (and are pricey when they do show up), but either of these, cubed, could replace the carrots in the right season. Frozen corn added at the same time as the spinach can add more color, especially if all you have available are green peppers.

The cajun seasoning I used is a mixture I will be posting in my next entry. Chili powder could be substituted instead, and the amount of either of these can be varied depending on the spiciness you prefer.

I used beans that I had cooked from the dry stage, without salt, so there was a definite need for some to be added. However, if you use canned beans (two 15 oz cans would be a good amount), be sure NOT to add salt until you taste the mixture.

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