If you are a frequent visitor to my blog, you know by now, I am a big fan of beans. They are such a great low-fat source of protein with tons of vitamins and minerals and even a great source of iron. I personally think they are a SUPER FOOD! I feed them to my family as much as possible. We especially like them because we eat very little meat. Beans are a wonderful staple to the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. To see why I love beans so much, read my post: The Absent American Food: BEANS.
Did you happen to see last week’s Black Bean Tacos? It has full directions for how to prepare a pot of black beans, using your crock pot.
Here’s is a quick review:
1-bag of dried black beans
1-medium onion, diced
1-medium green pepper, diced
1-clove of garlic, diced
1-jalapeno (or more – I had to watch the heat for my kiddos), diced
1-box low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
4-cups of water
Soak black beans in approximately 6-cups of water, overnight in the crock pot (do not turn it on). In the morning, drain the beans and rinse them really well. This is an important step as it cuts down on the bean’s gassy properties. Add the vegetables to the crock pot, add the beans back to the crock pot. Dump the broth into the crock pot. Add 4-cups of water. DO NOT SALT. Salt will actually prevent the bean from softening properly during cooking.
Turn your crock pot on low and cook for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Cook them while you’re at work! You should be able to smash one bean with the wooden spoon, easily. That’s when they are done. You can decide if you like them more or less done. They will eventually begin to split open, the longer they cook.
Now is the time to salt the beans, if you wish.
To store the leftovers in the fridge, keep the water. They will dry out if you drain them before refrigerating.
One of the best parts of making a big pot of black beans is what you can do with the leftover beans! Make these delicious pancakes for dinner. I promise, your kids will love them.
Black Bean Cakes:
1-cup of black beans, drained of most of the liquid
1-cup of whole wheat flour
2-tablespoons baking powder
1-teaspoon garlic salt
2-4 tablespoons of buttermilk (regular milk is fine too or water if you’d like to make them vegan)
optional: fat-free greek yogurt (like FAGE Total 0%)
optional: fresh or store-bought pico-de-gallo (great recipe)
Process the black beans in a food processor or a blender until paste consistency. Add to a medium bowl. Add the flour, garlic salt and baking powder and mix thoroughly to make sure the dry is incorporated into the beans. It should be pretty dry and floury when finished. Add the eggs and mix well. Add buttermilk, one tablespoon at a time and stop when it’s the consistency of pancake batter. You may need a little more buttermilk and that’s fine too. It should be runny enough to form a round flat pile, about 1/4″ thick when poured, just like pancake batter. Heat your griddle or pan over medium heat. Pour onto pan in scoops of about 1/4 cup each. Flip when top is pocked with holes around edges and underside is browned slightly, about 2-minutes each side.
Top with fat-free greek yogurt and with fresh pico-de-gallo.
Other toppings that might be good: hot sauce, apple sauce, chopped tomatoes, green onions, chutney, fresh fruit compote, maple syrup or honey.
I usually serve with a salad, fruit, cole-slaw or a steamed or grilled veggie.