Friday, February 5, 2010

Two Tasty Treats to Try

These are the last two recipes featuring black beans. They are the last recipes for two equally important reasons: 1) I ran out of ideas and, 2) Eric is responding to the week of bean recipes in a very odoriferous way, if you know what I mean. He keeps blaming the gas on our dog, Berkley, but I'm on to his little ruse.

Black Bean Salsa Chili
Inspired by Cooking Light, made even healthier by Mel

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon Agave nectar
8 ounce Tempeh
1 cup chopped sweet onion
½ cup chopped yellow bell pepper
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 ½ TBLS chili powder
1 TBLS ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (14-ounce) can vegetable broth
1 ½ cups fresh salsa—medium
3 TBLS tomato paste
¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Combine 1 ½ cup beans, 2/3 cup water & agave nectar in food processor & blend until smooth. Add remaining black beans & set aside. (Do not blend remaining beans).

Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Crumble tempeh and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add onions and bell peppers & cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add spices, tomato paste, bean mixture, vegetable broth & salsa. Bring to a boil & then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lime juice & stir. Garnish with cilantro.

Taster notes
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this chili and think it is particularly divine served over a baked sweet potato, as does Mel. My meat-loving husband, Eric, was completely fooled by the tempeh and thought it was ground turkey (please do not inform him otherwise or it may put a screeching hault to my healthy recipe testing); he prefered his chili plain with some blue corn chips or served over a regular baked potato. All of the Simons gave this recipe their Super Simon stamp of approval.


World's Easiest Black Bean Burgers

1/2 onion, diced
1 can black beans, well drained
1/2 cup flour
2 slices whole wheat bread, crumbled
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onions in a little bit of olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mash the beans until almost smooth; you can also use a food processor but I would "pulse" the mixture so it doesn't completely puree. Add sauteed onions and the rest of the ingredients to combine, adding the flour a few tablespoons at a time. Mixture will be thick.

Form bean mixture into patties, approximately ½ inch thick and cook patties in a small amount of oil until slightly firm. Please note that you can use a "grill pan" but they are not sturdy enough to stand up to an actual grill. Serve and enjoy.

Taster notes
We dressed these burgers up in the traditional way with lettuce, tomato and katsup and served them on a whole wheat bun. Eric had a small issue with the consistency (they are not as firm as a meat burger) but he really enjoyed the flavor. He gave me the thumbs up to make them again. I think chilling the patties in the refrigerator for 30 minutes prior to cooking might help with the consistency.

Jackson, age 6, was so smitten with these burgers that he just ate his plain, with his bare hands before Mel could even get them to the table. Harrison, 3, dipped his "burger" into some hummus and Harper, 4, declined to try this recipe.

I toasted the leftovers until warm (use a toaster oven or broil them as the microwave will make them too soggy), and served them with a mound of fresh salsa and slices of avacado for lunch the next day. Yum.

Remember, not only are beans healthy, but they are also extra easy on the budget. Have fun experimenting with these nutritious recipes and go ahead and pat yourself on the back for trying some healthy new meals this weekend.

Let me know what you think!

Bon appetite!


  1. Those look great, I would love to try problem is that my husband will not eat onions, peppers or tomato's :-( He can be worse than the kids sometimes. Just curious, what do you do when your kids refuse to try/eat the food you cooked for dinner? Do you fix them something else?

  2. Erin - I have loved all of the black bean recipes - thank you! They have always been one of my favourites and I never know enough creative things to do with them. I made the hummous for the girls night and it was a roaring success.

  3. anonymous, i wish someone would tell me what to do about kids who refuse to eat too. Tish has eaten honey nut cheerios for dinner for the past week.

    organic, unprocessed cheerios. of course.

  4. also, erin's babies are sick so she probably won't be able to answer us today. anybody else have any ideas for stubborn eaters?

  5. Yeah, that's what I do....they can eat cereal...but I usually make them try 1 bite first (which is often met with gag's and watery eyes). I try NOT to fix two meals. Too much work.

  6. G - Grace doesn't get anything else. She has to try 2 bites of each thing, and I can usually get more in her after that (unless it is just awful). She has gone to bed without dinner many a night. Yes, I am a mean mommy... :)

  7. Laura- You are NOT mean. I am a tough love type of mommy. I STOP manipulation REAL earlier in my kids lives.

    Erin- hope kiddos get well soon. They seem to have been hit real hard this season. Building amunities sister, building amunities.....they wont be missing any of the PE classes when they get to school.

  8. I will attempt the black bean recipes and try to fool my husband. All the while my daughter (age 9) will be screaming "this is disgusting, I'm not eating it" and my son (age 7) will be joyously screaming "mom this is the best dinner yet, I love it" just to piss off his sister. I tried to fool my husband once with no success with turkey burgers. I was told never to make them again.

    I'm not so sure about the chili as I don't know what some of the ingredients are???

    BTW - My kids do eat what I make or like above they are hungry. Now I don't go overboard and expect them to eat something crazy. But they always have to try it.

    Erin - hope the babies get better soon!


  9. Sigh. sigh sigh.
    I love how you're handling things Laura, I just can't seem to pull off the food tough love well.
    If I'm being really honest, I think since I've had such an awful relationship with food my whole life, I'm scared to death to make any real food decisions for my daughters. Scared to make them eat, scared to send them away hungry, scared to say too much about what's healthy and what's not, YADDA YADDA YADDA.

    This is not good, I know.

    Love, G

  10. I am a little behind on the recipes so I just got around to making the black bean hummus today. I loved the flavor (added some extra jalepenos) but couldn't get the texture quite right in the blender. I now have a huge jar of tahini so I might try to make some different flavors/types of hummus to mix things up.
    As for feeding a picky toddler...I hedge my bets and offer a plate with something that I know he'll eat (usually fruit and some type of carbs) to lure him in, plus small portions of the main dish. He's gone to bed hungry some nights and I admit that I've also given him bowls of cereal or PB&J if I'm feeling extra sympathetic that day.
    No easy answers, huh?