Reader Amy B. wrote that her family “absolutely adores” my recipe for Cuban Black Beans, including her children, aged 4 and 2. She serves beans with steamed vegetables, avocado and fresh tomatoes, saying, “We call them yum bowls.” Enjoy Cuban Black Beans as a change from tomato-based bean dishes, serving them over rice or wrapping them in a burrito. To transform the beans into black bean soup, just whirl beans and broth in a blender or food processor until smooth.
For more budget-friendly recipes from Linda Watson, visit Eating Organic on a Budget.
Cuban Black Beans Recipe
• 12 ounces dried black beans (1 3/4 cups dried or 4 cups cooked)
• 3 bay leaves
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 onion
• 1 bell pepper
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle or cayenne
• Plain yogurt, diced tomatoes and/or salsa, for garnish (optional)
1. “Clean” beans by going through beans on a cookie sheet or plate, removing any stones, dirt or small, wrinkly beans. Rinse beans. If you wish, presoak beans in a pot of water for an hour to overnight.
2. Add bay leaves and salt, then bring beans to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to low and simmer until tender.
3. About an hour before beans should be done, bite a few to check for tenderness. When beans give but are still crispy, mince garlic, chop onion and bell pepper, and then stir into beans. Add spices and stir again. Cover and simmer for another hour, until beans and vegetables are tender.
4. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice, wrapped in a burrito or whirled into soup. Optionally, top with a spoonful of plain yogurt, diced tomatoes or salsa. Serves 8.
Linda Watson is the author of Wildly Affordable Organic, available at the Mother Earth Living store, and founder of Cook for Good, a website that helps people save money and eat well. She lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with her husband.