Top 5 Ways To Use Black Beans
If there’s one type of legume you should always stock in your pantry, let it be the amazing black bean. These sweet, tender, oval beans are a staple food in many regions all over the globe, including India, Latin America, and the Middle East. Versatile, nutritious, and budget-friendly, black beans are considered both a vegetable and a protein by the USDA. Also known as turtle beans, black beans are rich in soluble fiber and resistant starch, and have a low glycemic index. These little gems are also abundant in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds such as anthocyanins and other polyphenols, which are linked with their deep purple-black shade.
Research supports the health benefits of including more black beans in your diet. A 2017 study in Food Chemistry showed that black beans, rich in anthocyanins, may have strong diabetes fighting potential. A 2014 review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also suggests that beans may help lower LDL-cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes, particularly due to their low glycemic index, and high fiber and antioxidant content.
Black beans are bursting with nutrition. One cup (184 g) of cooked black beans contains 45 g of slow-digesting carbohydrates (15% DV), 15 g of dietary fiber (60% DV), and 15 g of protein (30% DV). Black beans are rich in important micronutrients, such as iron (29% DV), magnesium (22% DV), potassium (22% DV), and calcium (10% DV), with only 240 calories per cup.
So, go ahead and fall in love with the humble black bean. There are so many ways to include them in your diet. You can cook black beans in chili, toss them in salads (see recipe below), add them to tacos, soups and dips, and even bake them into black bean brownies. Not only are they rich in protein and fiber, but black beans are also nutrient-dense and filling, which helps maintain steady blood glucose levels and keeps you full for longer. They also make a great option for vegetarian and vegan protein dishes.
Check out these Top 5 Ways to Use Black Beans, and get cooking today!
Top 5 Ways to Use Black Beans
1. Make a Delicious Black Bean Filling. Up your protein and vegetable intake with black bean stuffed bell peppers—a simple, nutritious and versatile dish with hearty, plant-based ingredients. This Southwest Stuffed Bell Peppers with Black Beans and Quinoa recipe features a black bean filling made with quinoa, corn, and tomatoes, topped with avocado and drizzled with creamy vegan ranch dressing. Yum!
2. Toss Them into Your Favorite Salad. Add some zest and nutrition to your favorite salad with canned black beans. Try this Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Salad for a slightly sweet and spicy combination of black beans, quinoa, corn, red bell peppers, red onion, cilantro, fresh mango, jalapeno pepper, and a mix of spices. Complete the meal with a side of corn tortillas and vegetable soup.
3. Wrap ‘em Up in an Enchilada. All you need are black beans, tomatoes, baby spinach, green onions, cilantro, whole grain tortillas, and your favorite green enchilada sauce to make delicious, burrito-style black bean spinach enchiladas. Follow this Easy Black Bean Spinach Enchiladas with Green Sauce recipe for a flavorful, wholesome recipe that you and your family can enjoy in only 35 minutes. Sprinkle with plant-based cheese and green onions for extra zest and flavor.
4. Form into Patties or Burgers. Swap canned black beans for refried black beans in this delicious, homemade Chipotle Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers recipe. Made with cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, vegan mayonnaise, and a variety of hearty veggies, such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, and cilantro, these veggie burgers are nutritious, flavorful, and can last you all week long. Plus, the chipotle seasoning mixed in with the veggie mixture gives it an extra kick that you will be sure to enjoy!
5. Mix Up a Simple Veggie Bake. Black beans aren’t the only star of this Central American inspired Sweet Potato Black Bean Bake, which includes peppers, sweet potatoes, onions, cilantro, and cumin in a simple, hearty and plant-friendly dish that is a must-try. Place the veggies in a baking dish and the spices in another dish, mix together, and bake until tender and golden brown.
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Written by Mireille Najjar, Dietetic Intern, and Sharon Palmer, RDN
Image: Black beans, Sharon Palmer, RDN