Monday, April 8, 2013

Black Beans, One of the Top Healthiest Foods in the World

Cuban Black Beans 

     The history of black beans is ancient. They were first domesticated over 7,000 years ago in the region of South America now known as Peru. Since the beans grew readily in warm weather and preserved well, they quickly became an integral part of the South American diet. Other varieties of beans also entered cultivation during this period, with different people selecting different beans for their different traits.The ubiquitous food entered Europe when early explorers brought beans back with them in the 1500s.
    Like other legumes, beans pack a serious nutritional punch. They are very high in fiber, folate, protein, antioxidants, and vitamin B, along with numerous other vitamins and minerals. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, black beans make a complete protein, which is one of the reasons they are commonly included in a vegetarian diet. Since the beans are cheap to produce, they are an important part of a balanced diet for people on low incomes around the world.
     Black beans, like all beans, are high in fiber, making them the perfect addition to our diets. The more beans and grains we eat the better we feel. Beans are natural toxin cleansers for the body. The old song about beans is true "the more we eat the better we feel".   
    About the side effects of beans, it is a proven fact that the more we eat the less side effects we have.  Gas is caused by lack of enzymes in the body. That is what "Beano" does. It supplies the body with enzymes that help to digest beans. Also eating large amounts of beans increases the enzymes in the body the natural way.  
       As a young boy I had never heard of Black Beans. When I turned 19 years of age I was called on a mission for my Church. I was called to the Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission. It included Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Miami Florida. I started out in Miami and had my first introduction to Black Beans in the homes of Cubans. Oh my. Their black beans are the standard to what Black Beans should be like. I loved the fact that every day they cook black beans and they were served with every meal.  No matter what they are eating they had black beans. I loved walking the streets. It smelled so great.  They would put the beans on in the morning and let them cook all day. I fell in love with the beans. I ate so many and never got tired of them. I love them.  
    In fact my love of rice and beans started there and has continued since then. It is a much enjoyed meal with my family. In Miami they used white rice. I do like white rice, but I adore black beans with brown rice. That is my favorite comfort food in the entire world. And as stated, when beans are combined with a whole grain like brown rice it creates a perfect protein. Perfect Proteins are the building block to the body. The more we get the better we feel. Our bodies need perfect proteins to build strong bodies.  

Black beans and rice are amazing.


      Nothing like a nice platter of Black Beans and rice.  It an be eaten alone or with the main course. I personally like it alone and I also love it with wonderful Cuban foods.

Black Beans uncooked.

Cuban Style Black Beans

2 1/2 cups black beans, dried

6 cups water
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
bay leaf
3 tablespoons  Balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup dry Spanish wine or cooking sherry 
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil (to drizzle over beans in final step)

In your pressure cooker place olive oil and heat up.  Add onions, bell peppers, garlic.  Sauté until tender.  Add oregano, cumin, vinegar,  salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf.   Sauté for couple of minutes and add all remaining ingredients.  Pressure cook for 45 minutes on high pressure.  Serve over brown rice cooked your other pressure cooker.  

Black Bean Avocado Salsa  
Salsas are great anytime anywhere.  I love adding Black beans to them.  It adds flavor and texture and of course nutrition.  
2 cups *fresh cooked black beans
2 fresh avocados, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
        2 cups roasted tomatoes  
½ cup toasted pine nuts.  (to toast place in skillet and stir until golden brown)
¼ cup flax oil
         2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch chopped green onions
        1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped
        2 teaspoons salt
        2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Place all in a bowl and toss. 

*To cook black beans, place dry beans in a pressure cooker.  For every cup beans add 3 times the amount of water.  Pressure for 45 minutes on high.  Cool and rinse to add to salsa or salads.

     Beans are a great way to add much needed fiber and nutrition to our diets. I love adding them to salads.  The trick I learned is to cook the beans and then rinse them with water.  They store well in the refrigerator  for longer amounts of time when rinsed. I have even added them to fruit salads. They work well in breads and can even when dried be ground up in a mill and the bean flour can be used in many things from breads to thickening soups and sauces. I love beans and love adding them to my cooking. They are a cheap source of protein and greatly enhance the diet.  
Enjoy, Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy


  1. Chef Brad,

    I LOVE your recipes! I LOVE this blog, I've already sent the link to so many of my friends. Thank you for sharing everything.

    As a newly wed I was invited to a Relief Society activity, about 10 years ago, where you taught about grains. I have been using whole grains ever since.

    I have a question, so I've been taught that when vegetables' are cooked too hot, it cooks the nutrients out of them. Is that true and if so, what about grains? I currently cook with Saladmaster pans and I'm wanting to get a pressure cooker, to utilize your recipes better, but I always have that worry at the back of my mind. What do you know about that?

    Lucia Norris

    1. Hello, Thank you for the support. I am so grateful. In answer to your questions. Don't worry to much about it. if you are using good quality pans and cooking with fresh veggies you should be fine. Sometimes we worry to much about the wrong things. You are probably doing better then you think. IF you are cooking with grains and eating fresh fruits and vegetables you are on the right track. Keep up the good work.

    2. Love your answer! Thanks for responding. I do waste a lot of time worrying.

      The gluten fee recipes that you have made are so good! We love the kamut pancakes. I've been wanting to go gluten free for awhile but I was unsure of how to eat with whole grains. So Thank you.