10 Great Reasons to Cook Fresh Black Beans

The kids are back in school, and while the heat hasn’t let up, the smell of routine is in the air. I just finished cooking a pot of black beans, and am enjoying anticipating how I will use them.

Beans take a while to prepare, although less than you might think because soaking isn’t strictly necessary. If you’re new to cooking beans, check out my Guide to Cooking Dried Beans from Scratch.

I find cooked dried beans one of the most versatile foods to have around. They keep well in the refrigerator, adapt themselves to a wide range of flavors, and even the pickiest eaters can find something to love. My son won’t eat chickpeas plain, but he will eat falafel balls or chumus.

So what will I do with these beans? Let me count the ways.

  1. Eat them plain. They are one of my 11-year-old daughter’s favorite snacks, and I know she’ll be pleased to finfreshly cooked containers of black beansd them today when she gets home from school.
  2. Tonight I plan to serve them as an option for make-your-own tortillas. Along with the beans, I’ll offer rice, shredded carrots and cabbage, tomatoes, homemade salsa, yogurt sauce I serve with last night’s chickpea-tuna patties, and some hard cheese.
  3. Tomorrow, I may try this Southwestern Black Bean Dip from Epicurious.
  4. Or I’ll add them to Spanish rice or add them to rice I’ve already cooked for the tortillas.
  5. Maybe I will add the beans to a refreshing summer salad.
  6. Too bad avocado is not in season, or I would make my friend Gladys’ Avocado Bean Salad.
  7. Bean patties are always an option. So what if we had them last night?
  8. If there are any left on Friday, I may add them to Vegan Cholent (Sabbath Stew).
  9. Or, I can add them to a soup along with whatever vegetables, herbs, or cooked grains I want to use up. That way I can make good use of the cooking liquid. I’ll mash them first to fool the picky eaters.
  10. I’ve already set aside one container of beans and liquid to freeze for another time. It’s always handy to have cooked beans around, especially when your vegetarian and vegan children may turn up without notice.

Have I inspired you to put up a pot of beans? What is your favorite way to use them?

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