Although I am not a vegetarian, at times I wish that I was. That may seem like a strange statement, so let me explain.
I don’t like any type of meat. Well, that is not entirely true. I like lobster and shrimp, but I don’t eat it more than once or twice a year because I don’t believe that they are good for me. For every other type of meat, I could take it or leave it.
The problem is that though my taste buds can’t stand it, (I have to hide chicken in foods and there always must be a sauce of some sort!) my body seems to crave protein. Without it, I get shaky and am very prone to overeating. Oh, and my body turns into one big bruise – it is a very pretty sight let me tell you! (I am very prone to anemia and have been since I was a child.)
I do try to stay away from meat a couple of days a week. On those days, I opt for protein shakes and vegetarian sources of protein. Cooking quinoa is always a priority of course!
One of my favorite things to go along with quinoa is black beans. Now, you may think of black beans as something you have with Mexican food, but there are really quite a few ways to serve black beans. There are so many great black bean recipes! One of my favorite ways is in a quinoa salad. In fact, I just made this quinoa salad black beans recipe for the 4th and it was a big hit!
Cooking Black Beans
I try to stay away from cans when I can because of the dangers of BPA toxicity. When I do use canned black beans, I go with the BPA-free Eden Organics.
Most of the time I use dried black beans that I pick up in bulk from whole foods.
Basic Black Bean Recipe
- Pick through beans carefully and remove all stones and twigs.
- Soak overnight in the refrigerator.
- Add three parts water and one part black beans to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two hours
Black Bean Recipes
Since I started eating clean, (Thanks Tosca!) nutrition has been a big priority for me. I never thought of black beans as a health food but the fact is that they are a nutritional powerhouse! Black beans, (often called black turtle beans, Mexican beans or black Spanish beans) are loaded with protein and fiber. Just one cup has 15 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber and 220 calories! Black beans are a great source of iron, phosphorous, thiamin, manganese, magnesium and folate.
There is no argument that all beans are great for you, but it would seem that black beans edge out some others in a few health categories. Specifically, they contain 8 flavonoids which are color producing phytonutrients that are packed with antioxidants. These flavonoids happen to be a great source of anthocyanins, which are the same antioxidants that give red wine their claim to fame.
In case you don’t already know, antioxidants (and anthocyanins in particular) play a critical role in fighting oxidative cellular damage caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals lead to aging and age related diseases and antioxidants play a big role in fighting free radicals in your body.
Black beans also contain a small amount of Omega 3 fatty acids. Although it is an amount equal to that of one ounce of cold water fish, this is still important to those of us who don’t eat fish!
Do you have favorite black beans recipes? I would love to hear from you!