black beans

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Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Refried Black Beans

Published August 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

One of my absolute favorite meals to make myself is refried black bean tacos.  I have probably eaten this meal more than any other in my lifetime.  I ate it a lot while I lived alone, but I still do most nights when Nate isn’t home for dinner.  I love cooking, but this simply not cooking – it was heating up canned beans and adding fresh veggies and putting it all in a tortilla.

Refried Black Beans

Of course, there are several ways to eat black beans, but that is just one of my favorites.  Many people like them just along side of their dishes, sometimes served with rice.  They are always great to throw into a taco, burrito or salad to add protein.  Another one of my favorites is just to use it as a dip for tortilla chips.  However you eat them, this is a super recipe!  The best part is that you can control what you put in it, including the heat.

Refried Blakc Beans

This recipe certainly makes a lot of refried beans, but don’t be scared, the freezer is your friend!  I separated them into freezer bags to store for the next night I have my refried bean taco craving!  These turned out great!  You can control the consistency of the beans by adding more liquid if you choose, and/or blending them longer if you like them smooth.  I like them slightly chunky, so I didn’t blend for very long to get the consistency I liked.  However you like it, play around with the ingredients and find one that’s a perfect fit for you!

Refried Black Beans

Slow Cooker Refried Black Beans

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: Makes about 8 cups


1 onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers (I used 2 jalapenos and 2 Serrano chilis to add extra heat)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cups dried black beans, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water


1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 10 hours.

2. If there is a lot of liquid remaining, ladle some out and reserve.  Using an immersion blender, blend until desired consistency, adding back liquid as needed/desired.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Bean and Rice Tacos

Published June 17, 2013 by jenmatteson

Once again, it’s Meatless Monday!  For this edition, I decided to go with Jaida’s spicy bean and rice tacos from Sweet Beginnings.  I’ve made her avocado and lime black bean tacos in the past for a recipe swap and saved this one as well.  We love tacos, so I anticipate we’ll be back to try several more of her taco Tuesday creations.  What a fantastic idea!

Spicy Bean and Rice Tacos

This really seems like a burrito-taco to me, seeing as though it has rice and beans, but honestly, I’m not sure what constitutes a taco or a burrito.  I am going with tacos though, because they are in a taco shell, and not wrapped up like a burrito.  That makes perfect sense, right?  These tacos came together so quickly and incorporated ingredients that are always in my pantry or fridge.  I added a little extra cayenne pepper, as we like it spicy, but other than that, these were perfect.  Add some choice toppings and you’re good to go!  We used the leftovers as salad toppers, as we do for most of our leftovers when applicable.

Spicy Bean and Rice Taco

Spicy Bean and Rice Tacos

Source: Slightly adapted from Sweet Beginnings
Servings: 6


1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water or vegetable broth
1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked whole grain rice
flour tortillas
toppings as desired (lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, Greek yogurt, etc.)


1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, chipotle pepper in adobo, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the beans and water to the pan and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Partially mash the beans with the back of a wooden spoon.

3. Remove from heat and add rice.  Stir until well combined.  Scoop mixture into tortilla shells and top as desired.

Meatless Monday: Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Published May 13, 2013 by jenmatteson

Two Meatless Monday’s in a row, and I’m soon to be on fire!  Just last week I came across the most hilarious blog that is sure to make you laugh out loud.  Thug Kitchen is serving up tons of vegan recipes with even more attitude than a teenage girl.  If you haven’t yet visited, you should.  Even Gweneth Paltrow is talking about it!

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Last weekend, I made a double batch of whole wheat pizza dough, separated it out into 8 dough balls, and froze.  I was tired of being in the mood for pizza on a Friday, but not having enough time to put the dough together after work and still eat at a reasonable time.  I’ve never tried freezing pizza dough before, but I read some where you can do it. If you read it on the internet, it must be true, right? 

I was planning to make a Mexican veggie pizza for this post, but once I saw Thug Kitchen’s cilantro pesto, I had to try it out immediately.  I took the dough out of the freezer the day prior and transferred it to the refrigerator.  I then took it out of the refrigerator and set it out on the counter for about and hour before rolling it out.  It worked out great!  Though for future, I might make a regular pizza dough instead of whole wheat.  Whole wheat doughs tend to be more stiff than all all-purpose flour doughs.  It was a little fussy in rolling out, but I made it work.    Just not a pretty edge!

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

On to the good stuff.  I was slightly concerned about this pizza, mostly because I was completely winging it.  The ingredients all go well together, but using a pesto that I’ve never tried before was a risk.  But, I took a risk and it paid off, big time.  Nate and I both loved it!  Of course I used cheese only on his side, so vegans could enjoy this pizza just as much as I did!  I initially planned to add jalapeno, but I forgot.  It was still wonderful.  The cilantro pesto paired perfectly with the toppings.  Nate said it tasted light and fresh, but I thought with the black beans and avocados, it was rich and creamy – but not heavy.  So glad to have extra cilantro pesto to use in a variety of ways.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Cilantro Piesto Pizza

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Source: Cilantro Pesto adapted from Thug Kitchen, Pizza is Pigzilla Original
Servings: 1 small pizza, about 2 servings


For the pesto (makes about 1 cup):
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup slivered almonds
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup olive oil

For the pizza:
pizza dough (use your favorite – I used 1/4 of my whole wheat pizza dough)
1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup onions, chopped fine
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 avocado, chopped


1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine cilantro, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and vegetable broth.  While processing, stream in olive oil until pesto reaches desired consistency.  Set aside.

2. Cook pizza dough to specifications instructions.

3. Spread 1/2 cup cilantro pesto over crust.  Sprinkle black beans, onions, peppers, tomato and cheese over pizza evenly.  Return to oven and heat until cheese is melted and crust is desired crispness.  Sprinkle avocado over the top and serve.

Four Bean Turkey Chili

Published October 14, 2012 by jenmatteson

It is the perfect time of year for chili, and I had the perfect opportunity to make it this past weekend.  We had just gotten back from visiting my best friend in Duluth, and our neighbors were coming over to watch the Vikings game (the 3-1 Vikings at the time!).  Everyone has their own recipe for chili, and many are probably like mine; it changes a little each time, but generally the ingredients stay the same.  Growing up (and still), my dad always made a big pot of chili that would last my family for an entire week.  This is where I first learned to make it myself.  I pretty much stick to his recipe, with a few small changes.

I like to make turkey chili, but this would be just as good with ground beef, chicken – whatever YOU like to make your chili with.  Additionally, use whatever types of beans you like.  I use black, dark kidney, white kidney, and chili beans.  For some reason, the liquid in the beans kinda grosses me out, which is why I choose to drain my beans, except for the chili beans, because that liquid is seasoned and delicious and doesn’t look like some weird clear gelatinous goo 😛

The awesome thing about chili is that it is so versatile.  Not just with what ingredients you put in it, but how you eat it.  Of course there’s the traditional way of in a bowl with some choice toppings, but you can also make chili fries, chili dogs/brats, chili burgers, baked potatoes topped with chili, nachos, chili tacos or taco salad, and so on and so forth.  The possibilities are endless, so make a huge pot of chili and don’t be afraid to try it in a new vessel!  If all else fails, chili freezes super well, so you can either put a large amount in gallon sized zip-top freezer bag, or individual servings in quart sized zip-top freezer baggies.

Four Bean Turkey Chili

Source: Pigzilla Original, adapted from Mr. Pigzilla (my dad)
Servings: A LOT, probably 12-15


olive oil
2 lbs lean ground turkey
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers, diced (I use one yellow, red, and green)
4 jalapeno peppers, diced (and seeded for less heat)
1 large onion, diced
1 can low-sodium black beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium dark kidney beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium white kidney beans, mostly drained
1 can low-sodium chili beans
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes
1 12 oz beer (I use whatever I have on hand, this time I home-brewed Oktoberfest)
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch cilantro


1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown meat.  Add garlic for last 2 minutes of browning.  Drain and transfer meat to large stock pot or slow cooker.

2. Using the same pan, add olive oil and saute peppers and onions over medium heat until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes.  You may have to work in batches depending on how large the skillet is.  Transfer to stock pot or slow cooker with turkey.

3.  Add all beans to stock pot or slow cooker with turkey and vegetables.  Add tomatoes with all juices.  Using a wooden spoon, break up whole tomatoes into smaller pieces.  Add beer, cumin, chili powder and cinnamon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  If using stock pot over stove top, simmer mixture for at least one hour to let flavors develop and alcohol cook out of the beer.  If using a slow cooker, cook on high for at least one hour, or low for 2-4 hours.

4. Stir in cilantro just before serving.  Garnish with desired toppings (raw white or green onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, cheese, hot sauce, cilantro, tortilla chips, cheddar jalapeno beer bread,  Greek yogurt/sour cream, corn bread…).

Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers

Published April 30, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’m in not a vegetarian in the least bit, but I really do love a good veggie burger.  Even more, I love a good black bean veggie burger, so I knew I had to try this recipe from The Cooking Nurse when I saw it.  There is something about the black beans that really make this burger worth eating.  The beans give it a great rich flavor, but are also filling so you actually are satisfied at the end of the meal.

This is actually my second time making these; the first time wasn’t so pretty (tasty, but UGLY).  I really wanted to grill them, because I love anything on the grill.  Not such a good idea – they pretty much just fell through the grill grates.  Oops.  I had better luck this time.

I would have topped the burgers with avocados for an added creamy bonus, but there were none at the store ready to eat 😦  I did top it with my chipotle mayo for an extra kick.  These are a little sticky and fall apart if you look at them wrong, so I did add a little more bread crumbs than called for.  I also used egg substitute instead of egg whites and a little extra cilantro, because we love it.  They were still messy, but oh so good!  Even Nate loved these!  Even if you are a beef burger lover, you have to give these a try.

Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers

Source: The Cooking Nurse
Servings: 4


1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup cilantro
15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup thick and chunky salsa (I used Pace Hot)
1/2 cup corn
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup egg substitute (or 1 egg or 2 egg whites)
salt and pepper
olive oil


1. In a food processor, process the onion until it is finely minced.  Add cilantro and pulse, 3-4 times.  Add black beans, and pulse until the beans are just mashed, about 5 times.

2. Transfer bean mixture to a medium bowl.  Add salsa, corn, garlic, bread crumbs, egg substitute, salt and pepper.  Fold mixture together until well combined.  Form bean mixture into four large patties.

3. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook patties 6-8 minutes, turning once, until browned on each side.  Serve on browned hamburger buns with your choice of toppings (I used spinach, tomatoes, onions, and chipotle mayo).

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