Does anything indoors smell better than a pot of beans simmering away? Well, maybe (cinnamon rolls, roasting turkey) but I do love the smell of the house on bean day!
I've taken lately to soaking beans all day, and cooking them in the crock pot all night. That way they're ready in the morning to cool down before I portion them out (2c- about the same as a can of beans) and freeze them, and there's still time to reset the crock pot with the beans that I'm cooking with that day. Plus, the house smells full and yummy all night, so everyone sleeps really well and the boys wake up HUNGRY! and eat a good breakfast.
Lately I've been cooking beans on rotation: Black beans, Navy beans, Garbanzo beans, Pinto beans. I used to just cook black beans or white beans, freezing the extra, but I make hummus all the time and it seemed silly to keep buying those little cans when it is so easy and frugal to cook a big pot and freeze can-sized portions. And then the boys started asking for pinto beans, and refried beans like they get at Mexican restaurants, and I, being the indulgent Mama that I am, decided to add them in to my rotation too.
BLACK BEANS- We often just eat them right out of the crock pot, with a little sofrito-ish sauce (onion, garlic, tomato, green peppers, maybe some chorizo) mixed in, served with rice and sprinkled with cilantro and lime juice.
Black Bean Confetti Salad-in a salad bowl whisk the juice of 1 lime, 3 T. olive oil, 1T. honey, 1t. cumin, 1/2t. California chile powder, 1/2t. salt, 1/4t. cayenne, 1/4t. garlic powder. Then dump in 2 c. black beans, cooked, 1c. corn kernels, 1c. sweet onion, diced, 1c. red or mixed bell pepper, diced, 1c. cilantro, chopped, stir it all up, cover and chill. We like this salad for summer suppers with a big pile of lettuce, some chopped tomatoes, avocado, shrimp sometimes, salsa, sour cream. It's also yummy as quesadilla filling with melty cheese, as a dip for tortilla chips, or a side dish for grilled chicken or fish.
Vegetarian Black Bean Chili- Dump all together in a crock pot: 4c. cooked black beans, 1 large onion, chopped, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2-3c. mixed bell pepper (or 1 160z. bag of frozen stir-fry peppers), chopped, 2c. corn kernels, 3c. tomatoes, chopped (or 1 28oz. can), 1T. olive oil, 1T. cumin, 1T. chile powder, 1t. paprika, 1/2t. cayenne, 1/4t. cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste. Add water just to the top of the pile, cover, and cook on low 8 hours. To serve ladle into bowls, top with chopped cilantro, chopped tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa.
I always make a bunch of chili and freeze half. Then we eat supper and still have leftovers for lunches. Or I might use the leftovers to make Chili Pie- pour leftover chili in a baking dish, top with cornbread batter (I use organic masa harina so no GMO issues and more nutritious) and bake. Serve with all the usual chili toppings.
Black Bean Dip- Couldn't be any easier! In a food processor put 2c. cooked black beans, 1t. chile powder, 1t. cumin, 1t. onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne to taste. Process til it's as smooth as you like. This is a great alternative to refried beans, an easy healthy dip for veggie sticks and tortilla chips, a good base for nachos and burritos. You can mix in grated cheese, sour cream, or salsa if you want to.