Tag Archives: black bean

Squash Tacos

One of the fantastic things about living in a small ag town in central California is the sheer abundance of Mexican restaurants: I can walk to 5 in under 5 minutes. One of my favorites, not surprisingly, has a variety of vegetarian options that focuses around fresh, seasonal produce. Last summer I tasted some of her squash tacos and have had a lot of fun reinventing them in my own kitchen, since they taste great and are a good use of giant zucchini. While I make this with beans, my meat eating mom does this with ground turkey or beef and loves that it cuts calories and adds nutrition to her tacos.

Bean and Squash Tacos

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large squash or zucchini, grated
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • your favorite taco seasoning (I like a pinch of cumin and garlic)
  • 8 taco shells or small tortillas

Heat oil in a large skillet in medium high heat. Add seasonings and allow to heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash and cook until most of the liquid produced evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add beans, toss to combine, and allow to heat through for another minute or two. Makes 8 tacos.

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Favorite Black Beans

I was looking through my recipes and realized I hadn’t shared my favorite, very basic, black bean recipe with y’all. They’re the perfect side dish for Mexican food, make great refried beans, and show up in my lunch rotation constantly, often over rice with some guacamole and a side salad. Oh yeah, and they’re fat free. They do take a while to cook, so I tend to put a pot on to simmer while I’m doing housework or making something more immediate. The chipotle is optional, but if you like a little smoke and heat in your beans, I highly recommend it.

Favorite Black Beans

  • 1 can black beans, or 2 cups cooked with liquid
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp whole or ground cumin
  • 1 dried chipotle
  • salt to taste

Combine beans, onion, garlic, cumin, and chipotle in a medium pot, and add a cup or so of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook until the onions are very tender. If beans start to look a little dry, add more water, as needed. 30 minutes is usually enough, but let them go an hour to fully develop the flavor. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serves 4.

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Black Beans with Pumpkin

As winter winds up and spring starts, I’m still trying to finish up my supply of hard squash. I love combining them with black beans with cinnamon and cumin, for a surprisingly summery taste, at least to my taste buds. The chipotle adds a hint of smoke and heat, while the citrus adds a bunch of brightness. In the end, you have a super cheap dish that’s packed with nutrition. Plus, since the beans and pumpkin are already cooked, it’s fast to prepare.

Black Beans with Pumpkin

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 dried chipotle
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid OR 1 can, not drained
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin or hard squash OR 1 can
  • salt to taste (shouldn’t be much, especially if you’re using canned beans)
  • lemon or lime juice

In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, cumin, and cinnamon, and cook until the garlic is soft and the spices are fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, beans, and chipotle, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes to 15 minutes. Serve over rice with a generous squeeze of lemon or lime. Serves 4.

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Pumpkin Beer Chili and Yacon

For all that it usually reaches 60 around here during the day, this warm weather girl finds it to be terribly cold outside. (Feel free to call me a wimp, but hey,  I deliberately choose to live in places without “real” winter.) Nothing warms me up in the evening quite like a bowl of chili. This recipe is one I adapted from the Ordinary Vegetarian (who sadly doesn’t post anymore) also conveniently uses up pumpkin or hard squash, which I happen to have a lot of. But be forewarned, if you don’t like beer, or are trying to use up a beer you don’t like, you won’t care for this chili.

On the side, I’m having a yacon salad. Yacon is one of those weird boy vegetables from Nevermore Farm. The flavor is somewhat similar to jicama, and it’s naturally high in inulin, which is good for diabetics. Inulin is a type of starch that our bodies can’t digest, so it translates to a high fiber vegetable. As a result, I’d start with a small serving the first time, just in case. Don’t do what I did and say “Mmm” then eat a pound or two. Though, that advice probably works well for most vegetables. Anyways, I simply peeled the yacon, shredded it, and tossed it with lemon juice, garlic powder and salt.

Pumpkin Beer Chili

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 medium, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin or squash or 1 can
  • 2 cups cooked black or pinto beans, or 1 can, drained & rinsed
  • 1 12 oz beer (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, ~5 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder, cook for another 2-3 minutes, until nicely fragrant. Add pumpkin and beans, stirring occasionally for ~3 minutes. Add beer, tomatoes, and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.

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