Another Recipe Post (Still About Black Beans)

Over the weekend I posted about the giant pot of black beans I made. I also made a big pot of quinoa but the process is infinitely less exciting. Anyway, turns out that when you make food, you are supposed to actually eat it! Thus this week I have been trying to think up/find some delicious healthy recipes for black beans and quinoa.

I use Pinterest for these kinds of things a lot. It’s a great medium for finding recipe recommendations, so it is a go to for new ideas. When I thought of black beans & quinoa I automatically thought of a recipe that was all over the place on Pinterest a few weeks ago. The Superfood Salad. It was one I’d wanted to try for a while so I was happy to finally give myself the opportunity.

The thing is, I had been thinking about making this for so long that I thought I had the recipe memorized. I was wrong. First of all, I used mango instead of oranges. I left out the shrimp and corn. There were probably some other differences too. So basically I only remembered 4 ingredients and went with them!

Still, it turned out deliciously and was easy to make.

Quinoa Mango Salad

The recipe (my version!) was absurdly easy:

Quinoa Mango Salad

  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Black Beans (see previous post)
  • 1 Small Avocado
  • 1 Cup Diced Mango
  • 1/4 Pomegranate Arils
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Vinaigrette


  • Lemon Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons EEOV
  • 1/2 inch Ginger
  • Pinch Salt
  • Pinch Pepper
  • Put in small mason jar, shake, refrigerate extra

First, to cook the quinoa, you can either cook a whole bunch to store away or just make the amount for this recipe. Add the quinoa, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, and then water at a 2:1 ratio. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until there is no water left (about 15 minutes). Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set aside to let it cool while you chop everything else.

Chop avocado and mango, and prepare dressing. I buy the pomegranate arils at Trader Joe’s already pulled from the fruit, but if you buy the whole fruit, extract the arils.

Put all ingredients in a bowl. Mix if you want. Cover with 1 tablespoon dressing. Eat. Enjoy!

Note: This is a very large helping and was almost too much for me. Also if you haven’t noticed yet I love avocado so you could put in less if you want!

Another recipe I wanted to try, came from my imagination. Lately I have been really missing my beloved Mexican food. So, I decided to try and make something reminiscent, using the ingredients that are allowed in my diet and are already in my fridge. The result was a combination of taco salad and the superfood mix listed above.

Mexican-Style Power Salad

This salad was really good and insanely filling. The mix of quinoa, black beans and corn provides a a perfect protein, meaning it contains all of the necessary amino acids the body needs. Normally it is difficult to get all of these at once in a vegan diet. In my Mexican craving I broke down and added some reduced fat shredded cheese to the salad, but honestly I think it was unnecessary and I would probably keep it off next time. That’s right, I’d rather NOT have the cheese next time. This is what we call personal growth, ladies and gentleman!!

Mexican-Style Power Salad

  • 2 Handfuls Romaine Lettuce, chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 Cup Black Beans
  • 1/2 Cup Corn
  • 1/4 Cup Shredded “Mexican Mix” Reduced Fat Cheese (Optional)
  • 1/2 Medium Tomato, chopped
  • 1 small Avocado (or 1/2 a large one)
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Red Onion
  • Couple dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)

I thought about adding a lime vinaigrette (olive oil, lime juice, cayenne, salt) but I honestly think this salad worked better without it. These flavors are strong and blend together well, and if your avocado is ripe enough, it should be creamy and oily enough to seem like dressing, especially mixed with juice from the beans and the tomato.

I’ll be honest. Despite the fact that I could have done without the cheese on this salad, it didn’t take away my craving for some creamy saturated fat filled cheese sauce over a deep fried chimichanga. But now that I really think about it, even imagining eating that makes me feel tired and greasy, which is not a feeling I enjoy too much. So I think if I can just work past the cravings, and keep finding ways to substitute and compromise, I should be in good shape! (Pun definitely intended.)


Adventures in Unprocessed Cooking (A recipe for homemade black beans)

As part of this goal to get healthy and lose dangerous weight, I’ve given myself a lot of restrictions. I’m using a nutritionist’s pyramid, basically. One that I thought looked good was in the movie I reviewed yesterday, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead. That pyramid looked like this

Most people know, at this point, that fresh food from the Earth is better than food produced more or less in a chem lab. But, I was surprised to see it all the way at the top as something to eat only rarely. I guess I thought it would be off the map, more of an aside, like: BTW spinach in your Hot Pocket does not count as a leafy vegetable serving.

I’ve gone off on a tangent. The point is that I am trying to avoid processed foods. And now finally we have gotten to the point of this blog post! The point is I was very proud of myself today because I did some actual slow cooking today that would have made my Texan ancestors proud. I made black beans! It was definitely the longest cooking process I have ever taken on. There are a lot of steps!

Steps to Preparing & Cooking Black Beans

1. You buy the beans either in a bulk bin or in a bag. The market on my street only had the bag, which was fine because it was still organic.

2. Once home, sort through all the beans and sift out any seeds, stones or other weird looking things. I love this part because it really is a reminder that these beans are coming from the ground, not the assembly line.

3. After you’ve sifted through them, wash them. I am a weirdo about water so I sprayed them with the shower head function on the kitchen sink (no idea what the technical term for that thing is!) and then dumped a whole brita pitcher on top of them to make sure they were clean.

4. Once they are cleaned and sorted, they need to soak. Put the beans in a big bowl, then cover with water at a ratio of 3 cups water to 1 cup beans. The bag I bought was 2.5 cups so I put in 8 cups of water, just to be sure. The soaking part takes a long time. It’s best to just let them sit overnight. No worries about covering the big bowl, it doesn’t matter.

5. The fun part starts! Put the beans in a big cooking pot. Out of four sizes, I used our second biggest one.

Clean beans, big pot.

Then you can add some flavor! The spices can vary depending on your taste.  My mom makes some amazing tacos, so I used her seasoning recipe as a guide, and tweaked it since these are beans instead of chicken. Here is my recipe:

Spicy Black Beans

  • 1 Bag of Black Beans (2.5 Cups)
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, chopped*
  • 1/2 an Onion, chopped**
  • 1 Small-Medium Tomato, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (or a little more even)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth (1 box)
  • 6 Cups Water

* I love garlic and it is a very cleansing food, but you can use less if you want. 3 or 4 would be fine.

** I was running low on onion, and used leftover scraps from a red and a white. I wished there was more onion, which is why I’m predicting a half of one would be better. Either color really, but white might be a little better.

Even though there are a trillion ingredients, the directions are really simple.

5. Add all the spices and the other ingredients to the pot.

Garlic, Onions and Spices...look at all those colors!

6. Cover ingredients with liquids. I did half the water then the stock, then the rest of the water but I am sure it doesn’t really matter.

7. Bring it all to a boil.

8. Once at big, rolling boil, cover the pot, turn down heat and let simmer. Somewhere in the medium-low range is good. Let it simmer like that for about 1.5 hours.

–I’ve seen other similar recipes say as low as 45 minutes, but I wanted mine to be really soft, and they were still crunchy and grainy at 45 minutes on my stove. I recommend you begin checking them at 45 or 50 minutes, and if they are not ready, stir them up and let simmer at 10 or 15 minute intervals until you like the consistency. An hour and a half for me was perfect.

9. Turn off burner. Let the beans sit for a couple more minutes, just to let them soak in a little more moisture and also cool down.

10. Drain the liquid. There will probably be a lot of it. (A lot of liquid is important to avoid burning.) Drain until there is still a little water left as a sort of juice for the beans, but no free standing water left. This is obviously a matter of taste, but I would guess I left 1 or 1.5 cups of water at the bottom of the pot.

11. Use the beans! Eat them however you want! I put them in a completely delicious black bean and hummus “burrito” (really the world’s largest soft taco):

Black Bean & Hummus "Burrito": Organic Flour Tortilla (soften with 1/4 tsp EVOO and 2-3 minutes in oven at 250˚F), Spicy Hummus, 1/3 Cup Black Beans, 1/2 Avocado, tomato, onion, carrots & arugula (however much you want!)

12. Put the rest in a sealable container and save for next time! They should last about a week.

The final product

This was probably my biggest foray into the world of clean cooking (is that a term?) so far. It covers a lot of hours, but the actual work time is completely manageable.

I’ve been really enjoying cooking. Eating these clean recipes, using only organic, fresh products makes me feel energized and accomplished. Plus, the only way to trust what’s in it is to make it at home! Now I just have to decide what to make next…