Thursday, June 3, 2010

Consider the bean. It's magical fruit.

And I don't just mean with regards to the sophomoric little rhyme, heh. Beans are magically delicious and nutritious and one of my favorite foods, especially in the summer, as they don't require as much cooking (if at all) and therefore relieve me from having to turn on the stove when it is already a billion degrees in my apartment. You see, beans in any form (canned, dried, frozen, or fresh) provide tons of health benefits and can be integrated into every meal or even made the center protein of your meal.

I already know that without hummus I would starve to death (see here for an avocado hummus recipe that's a personal favorite). I wolf through bags of baby carrots and celery so long as I have some fresh hummus, which, as you should already know, is made from chick peas, which are a delicious addition to salads and an integral part of any bean salad. I rinse canned kidney beans and add them to any red pasta sauce I am making, and a great chilly treat that can serve as the bulk of a meal is bean salad, which is easy to make in large batches and keeps for quite a while. I like to make it as follows:

One can each of chick peas, kidney beans, black beans. Rinse.

Slice up at least two stalks of celery (I am a big celery fan, so I might even do 3 stalks), and dice up half a red onion. Set aside.

This is lazy, but it's still good: Trader Joe's Frozen sweet white corn. Pour half a bag into a colander and rinse under hot water until defrosted and essentially cooked, and then blast with a cold shot of water (blanching for the lazy).

Tear up cilantro to taste.

Put beans, celery, onions, and corn into a big bowl and mix in some olive oil, red wine vinegar, cracked sea salt, and the cilantro. Set in fridge to chill for a bit and you're done!

I also love refried beans. Eat that with some of the guac and you'll have some nice Mexicali flavor goin' on. You could make your own vegitarian quesadillas with this quite easily (I like tomatoes, grilled onions and sweet peppers) or you could just be a freak and eat it straight out of the bowl with some chips.

I've known a few folks who make their refried beans in a pressure cooker, but I don't have one so I have to do it the old fashioned way. It takes a while but totally worth it. Plus, you can make a big batch and it doesn't require a lot of active cooking time, so go do your laundry or read a book.


  • 2 1/2 cups of dry pinto beans (about 1 lb or 450gm) NOT canned
  • 3 quarts of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (use the rest of that onion from the bean salad!)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cheddar cheese (optional)
Rinse the beans thoroughly.

Put beans into a pot and cover beans with at least 3 inches of water - about 3 quarts for 2 1/2 cups of dry beans. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to simmer, covered, for about 2 1/2 hours. The cooking time will vary a bit from pot to pot. The beans are done when they are soft and the skin is just beginning to break open.

Strain the beans.

Now, cook your onions in a frying pan with your olive oil until clear. Add the cooked beans to the pan along with about 1/4 cup of water. Careful now. Take a potato masher and mash the beans while still in the frying pan, along with all the onions, until it is a rough puree. Add more water if you need. Add a bit of salt to taste as you mash. Once it is to your preferred consistency, you're ready to go! Some people like to melt a bit of cheddar cheese on top along with some scallions, as seen in the photo above.

Learn more about the health benefits of beans here. It really does everything from build muscle to lower cholesterol. It is no wonder that "red beans and rice" is the traditional "peasant diet." It gives you everything the body needs! Plus, they are cheap as all hell...take the money you saved and buy a pressure cooker. Then, it will take you half the time to cook those pinto beans...

1 comment:

  1. I found Jessica when I switched from being a carnivore to a veggie that I had this awful hangup that eating meat means you imbibe the animals soul!!!This was strong & I found I had a lot of resistance to letting this go. The fact is we re not cave-dwellers involved in some animistic ritual: either the creature-whatever it might be- gets it or we do!!! Eating Quorn-the mycro-protein found in a cow-pat in a field-taught us that what turns us on about meat is one word 'texture.' My satori was that I ould get my rocks off in my meat-like way- without our mechanically seperated friends ntering the bargain..........