Beans. They’ve been around since time immemorial and while there are thousands of varieties, only a tiny fraction are mass-produced for our enjoyment. The only beans I knew growing up was my mom’s baked beans usually made from navy beans and sometimes she’d throw in kidney beans, much to my chagrin. I really had no appetite for kidney beans until much later on in life. Here’s a piece of trivia for you. According to data from Heinz, the country that eats the most baked beans is Great Britain – 444,908,011 units. Australia comes in second place with 60,000,000 units and Canada with 41,000,000 units.
Beans should be soaked overnight to reduce cooking time. All you need to do is cover the beans with cold water and allow for expansion in a pot (nearly double in size). The next day drain and cover with fresh cold water before cooking. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 to 2 hours. Don’t let the water evaporate, top off with boiling water and don’t add salt to the water as this may make the beans tough. When the beans have cooled, you can also freeze for future use.
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 10oz. can)
handful fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 white onion, minced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 to 2 tomatoes, chopped
extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)
In a bowl, lightly combine black beans, cilantro, avocado, onion, feta, and tomatoes. Add a splash of olive oil, lemon juice, gently toss and season to taste.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: This salad can be a main course for one or served as a side for two people. Black beans are very high in fiber, folate, protein, and antioxidants, along with other vitamins and minerals. Pair this with brown rice and enjoy a meat-free meal with all the health benefits.