20 Delicious Ways to Eat Black Beans

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You’ll almost never find our kitchens without a can or two of black beans stocked in the pantry. This versatile ingredient can be used in so many different ways. From soups and chilis to enchiladas and salads, the possibilities are seemingly endless. We chose our 20 favorite black bean recipes to get you started with something new.

1. Spicy Salmon Black Bean Salad

Hot smoked salmon is a salty, meaty counterpart to earthy black beans. This is a salad that can be tossed together in minutes and is equally satisfying for dinner as it is for lunch.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

2. Easy Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

These lightened-up enchiladas are ones you can feel good about serving your family. They’re filled with black beans and roasted veggies and topped with a creamy cilantro-lime yogurt sauce.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

3. 10-Minute Black Bean Tacos

Dinner in 10 minutes sounds like just the kind of thing we can get behind on a busy weeknight. These rely on canned beans and a few store-bought condiments to come together fast.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

4. Cuban Black Bean Soup

To make this soup the right way, use dried black beans and let them soak overnight. You’ll also want to give it ample time to cook on the stove so, really, it makes a better weekend recipe. Finally, don’t skimp on the vinegar — it’s what gives the soup that little extra kick.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

5. Roasted Squash, Corn, and Black Bean Enchiladas

Start with pre-cut butternut squash to make these veggie-filled enchiladas much faster and easier to bring to the dinner table. You can also swap in store-bought enchilada sauce if you’d rather not bother with making your own.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

6. Loaded Black Bean Nachos

A couple of cans of black beans add protein to this sheet pan full of ooey, gooey nachos. Top everything with a couple dollops of Greek yogurt and you can feel good about eating chips for dinner.

(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

7. Chilled Black Bean, Feta & Cucumber Salad

This is one of those salads that actually gets better with more time spent in the fridge to let the dressing work its magic. We recommend making a big batch over the weekend and enjoying it for lunches all week.

(Image credit: Nick Evans)

8. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

These pan-fried tacos are made with soft tortillas and are somewhere between a taco and a quesadilla. You can fill them with anything you want; they are a great way to use up a small amount of leftovers.

(Image credit: Megan Gordon)

9. Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili

While the options for vegetarian chili recipes are nearly endless, we’re partial to this one with sweet potatoes (or you could substitute butternut squash) and quinoa. Just remember — you might have to add a bit more water at the end since the quinoa will soak it up.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

10. Slow Cooker Black Bean Enchiladas

Slow cooker enchiladas are a bit magical. They might not be the prettiest meal on the block, but they are one of the tastiest. Plus, they are easily adaptable, so you can basically clean out your fridge and end up with a mouth-watering meal.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

11. Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Ketchup

What really makes these veggie burgers stand out is the jazzed-up ketchup, which is sweet and smoky and dangerously addictive.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

12. Kale and Black Bean Tacos with Chimichurri

No, chimichurri wasn’t originally intended for vegan tacos, but the garlicky sauce adds a whole new dimension to these tasty tacos. Of course, the big chunks of avocado and sautéed kale don’t hurt either.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

13. Baked Black Bean and Avocado Burritos

Somewhere between a burrito and an enchilada, these avocado and black bean delights reside. You can play around with additional fillings, like sautéed peppers or greens; make sure you taste-test the filling to get the spices to your liking.

(Image credit: Joanna Miller)

14. Vegetarian Black Bean Espresso Chili

It can be hard to get that rich, meaty taste in a vegetarian chili, but the addition of instant espresso powder adds a depth that most vegetarian chilis lack. Try making this version, or adding a little espresso powder to your own favorite chili recipe, to get the full effect.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

15. Southwestern Pizza with Black Beans and Corn

One of our favorite unexpected black bean recipes is this Southwestern pizza. In place of traditional red sauce is a black bean mash. The whole pizza gets topped with corn, peppers, and a healthy dollop of avocado cream.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

16. Smoky Sweet Potato & Black Bean Casserole

Smoked paprika, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, and smoked mozzarella all join forces here to create a comforting casserole that has serious depth of flavor.

(Image credit: Chungah Rhee)

17. Sheet Pan Sweet Potato & Black Bean Hash

This hearty hash is perfect for feeding a weekend brunch crowd. Everything cooks on one sheet pan, which means you can spend time drinking mimosas with your guests instead of standing over the stove.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

18. Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili

A bit of unsweetened cocoa power lends deep, rich flavor to this meatless chili. Let it cook slowly while you’re at work and you’ll be rewarded with a comforting meal as soon as you walk through the door.

(Image credit: Guy Ambrosino)

19. Black Beans and Plantains Breakfast Bowl

Make a big batch of these Cuban-style black beans ahead of time and when morning comes all you’ll need to do is fry up a plantain and some eggs while you reheat them.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

20. Freezer-Friendly Roasted Vegetable Burritos with Black Beans and Rice

These hearty burritos are a miracle meal when you discover them tucked away in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner. They’ll keep well for up to 3 months, so it might be worth doubling the recipe if you have a large family.

Organic Rice, Grains & Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on The Kitchn

15 Wonderful Benefits Of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein which helps prevent diabetes and aid in weight loss. The amazing benefits of chickpeas include the ability to improve digestion, prevent heart diseases, stabilize blood pressure levels, and lower the risk of genetic diseases and cancer. They also boost boneskin, and hair health.

What are Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)?

Chickpea or garbanzo bean is a famous legume also known as Ceci bean, Bengal gram or Egyptian pea, depending on where you’re eating them. These small, pale-brown beans have been cultivated for the better part of 7,000 years, making them the oldest and most popular legumes on the planet. [1]

Types of chickpeas: There are roughly 90 identified species of chickpea. Although the most common variants are pale-brown, black, green, and red chickpeas.

Chickpeas Nutrition Facts

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are a powerhouse of nutrients, packed with plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and carbohydrates. [2] They are a rich source of antioxidants and minerals such as ironzincmagnesium, folate, and phosphorous. The nutty seeds also have a number of essential vitamins like thiamin, riboflavinniacinvitamin C, A, B6, B12, and vitamin K.

Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Let’s look at some of the health benefits of chickpeas:

Prevent Diabetes

Chickpeas have a high amount of soluble fiber which helps regulate blood sugar levels by optimizing digestion. [3] They can prevent the development of diabetes by ensuring normal levels of insulin and blood sugar and help people manage the condition.

Weight Loss

Garbanzo beans with their high density of nutrients, combined with the dietary fiber, are perfect for people trying to lose weight. [4] The fiber helps the body feel full for longer, by interacting with ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and inhibiting its release to some degree. The blend of nutrients and minerals also keeps the body energized and active, preventing fatigue and snacking between-meal. This makes chickpeas great for reducing overall caloric intake, because you simply don’t feel hungry, despite the 270 calories per cup of chickpeas.

Improve Digestion

The high levels of dietary fiber found in chickpeas can help to bulk up your stool. [5] This keeps your bowel movements regular while eliminating inflammation, cramping, bloating, and constipation. This can also improve absorption of nutrient digestion and ensure that you’re making the most of the nutritional value of your food.

Boost Heart Health

Our cardiovascular health gets a boost in two different ways from garbanzo beans. First, the high levels of soluble fiber help to balance cholesterol levels and aid in preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. [6] Second, this legume can also reduce the amounts of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. [7]Furthermore, the only fats that are found in garbanzo beans are omega-3 fatty acids, which are the beneficial polyunsaturated fats that help protect the heart and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

Good Source of Protein

Chickpeas are an important source of the proteins needed for growth and development, as well as proper healing and repair throughout the body. They are an ideal option for vegetarians who want to ensure they have the proper nutrient intake. However, one should not rely on chickpeas as a sole source of proteins. [8] A balanced protein intake is advised.

Rich Source of Antioxidants

The antioxidant compounds found in chickpeas include polyphenols, phytonutrients, beta-carotene, and key vitamins. These reduce oxidative stress in the body and prevent chronic diseases. Antioxidants seek out free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism, which can cause healthy cells to mutate. [9] These antioxidants can help protect the body from cancer, coronary heart diseases, macular degeneration, and even cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Strengthen Bones

Garbanzo beans being rich in iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and zinc are exceptionally good for bone health. [10] Many of those minerals are essential to improve bone mineral density and prevent age-related conditions like osteoporosis.

Prevent Genetic Defects

Folate is an important B-vitamin for many different reasons, especially for women. [11] Low folate levels are closely associated with neural tube defects and other complications with the birth of children. Adding folate-rich chickpeas in the diet during pregnancy is a delicious way to ensure baby’s healthy delivery.

Maintain Blood Pressure

One of the key ways to maintain low blood pressure is to go for a low-sodium (low-salt) diet. Garbanzo beans being naturally low in sodium help in lowering high blood pressure. [12]

Lower Inflammation

Choline in chickpeas is a macronutrient that plays a vital role in the body’s ability to fight chronic inflammation. [13] It also regulates your sleep cycle, increases the range of movement in the muscles, as well as boosts learning and memory.

Prevent Hair Loss

Owing to their high protein and iron content, chickpeas can act as a wonderful natural supplement for those experiencing hair loss. These beans are also rich in vitamin A, B, and E, along with omega 6 fatty acids, all of which improve scalp health and boost blood circulation. [14]

Boost Eye Health

Intake of chickpeas on a regular basis can boost your eyesight. They are a good source of zinc and vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and E, all of which help protect vision.

Skin Care

The presence of manganese in chickpeas enhances skin health and keeps the formation of wrinkles and fine lines at bay. Essentially, manganese prevents wrinkles by reversing the damaging effect of free radicals. This legume also contains the element molybdenum, which eliminates sulfites, providing a detox effect on the skin. Other vital nutrients like folate, zinc, and vitamins repair UV damage and toxin overload while keeping the skin supple and glowing.

Balance Hormones

Consuming garbanzo beans can be a safe and natural way to counter menopausal and postmenopausal symptoms like night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes. Chickpeas contain plant hormones known as phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural female hormone estrogen. They also guard against diseases that commonly affect women such as breast cancer and osteoporosis.

Other Uses

  • For dandruff, make a paste with chickpea flour and some water. Massage this on your scalp and leave it for half an hour before washing off.
  • Chickpea flour is also good for oily, spotty skin. Simply combine some flour with milk and rose water to make a face mask.

How to Cook Chickpeas?

Chickpeas are available easily throughout the year in dried or canned form. The canned version contains salt and preservatives but offers convenience. Here’s how you cook dried chickpeas:

  • Washing and soaking: Wash and soak chickpeas in water for 8 to 10 hours. Soaking the legumes not only brings down cooking time but also removes some of the harmful compounds and oligosaccharides that can cause problems in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Cooking: The best way to cook soaked chickpeas is to simmer them for a couple of hours until tender.

Quick Serving Tips

Some quick ways of adding garbanzo beans to your diet include:

  • Chickpea is used as the main ingredient in hummus. [15]
  • Chickpea sprouts or steamed chickpeas can be added to any salad. They can be used to prepare soups, salads, dips, and dishes.
  • Chickpeas are ground to make chickpea flour, also known as Bengal gram flour. It can be used as a substitute for wheat flour as a vegan and gluten-free flour, or in combination with others to enhance taste and nutrition.
  • Flatbread can be made with equal quantities of chickpea and barley flour. This is a beneficial recipe for diabetics.

11 Best Smoothie Ingredients To Boost Your Health

The right superfood smoothie ingredients can energize your life and keep you healthy.

smoothie ingredients
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A smoothie can be your best friend or worst enemy, depending on what you put in the blender.

Mixtures whipped with sweeteners, sweet-flavored yogurt, or even excessive amounts of fruit could have a sugar content close to that of a bowl of ice cream. That too-sweet situation could cause disease-causing inflammation in the body and depress your immune system—not exactly healthy. (For healthy smoothie recipes, see the only 4 smoothie recipes you’ll ever need.)

(Slash your cholesterol, burn stubborn belly fat, solve your insomnia, and more—naturally—with Rodale’s Eat For Extraordinary Health & Healing.)

On the flip-side, the right smoothie can turn ingredients that might not be the tastiest yet are still highly nutritious into a delicious blend bursting with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Plus, they’re perfect for on-the-go lifestyles.

“Smoothies are a fast, portable, and delicious way to get a diversity of nutrients into your body,” explains Navitas Naturals Chef Julie Morris, author of Superfood Smoothies: 100 Delicious, Energizing & Nutrient-dense RecipesSo, in the spirit of true superfood smoothies, we call out 11 smoothie add-ins to have on standby as smoothie ingredients.

chia seeds
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Chia seeds

Perfect for thickening up a smoothie, these tiny energy-promoting seeds thicken and turn into a gel. Chia is a robust source of protein and is rich in trace minerals. The seeds also contain more than three times the concentration of essential fatty acids in most grains.

Winning combo: “It’s a very neutral flavor, so it pairs well with virtually any food,” Morris says. “It’s one of the most versatile superfoods on the planet—literally, put it in anything.”

goji berries
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Goji berries

A bit bitter on their own, they’re a great smoothie ingredient, and a popular acai bowl addition because other flavors can mask the bitterness. One of the world’s richest sources of antioxidants, goji berries contain 18 amino acids. Traditional cultures cherish the berry for its immune-boosting and vision-protecting properties. It also helps keep your liver and kidneys healthy.

Winning combo: Organic goji berries or goji powder, pure coconut water, and lime.

kale
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Kale

Don’t like cooked kale on the dinner table? Enjoy the green powerhouse raw in a smoothie instead. Dubbed one of the world’s healthiest veggies, kale contains isothiocyanate and glucosinolate compounds that help lower your risk of cancer.

Winning combo: Kale, apple, banana.

Try this: Fresh, organic kale from your local farmer’s market

camu camu
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Camu camu

An antioxidant-rich tropical fruit you can buy in powder form, camu-camu boasts a vitamin C concentration up to 60 times greater than an orange. It’s also rich in potassium, calcium, protein, and other phytochemicals. “Just a quarter teaspoon gives you over 250 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamin C, and you’ll never taste its strong tartness,” Morris says. “Camu is a ‘why not?’ functional ingredient.”

Winning combo: Camu and tropical fruits or vanilla

cacao powder
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Cacao powder

Great in creamier smoothies, cacao is the raw form of chocolate and is one of the world’s richest sources of antioxidants and magnesium, explains Morris. Cacao also contains iron and potassium.

Winning combo: Cacao, almond butter, banana or added to berry smoothies.

maca powder
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Maca powder

Boasting a strong, earthy, slightly butterscotch flavor, maca is rich in mood-boosting B vitamins, amino acids, and brain-boosting fatty acids. The root has long been used in traditional medicine to raise libido and combat fatigue, Morris explains.

Winning combo: Cacao, nuts, creamy ingredients; avoiding using with fruits (pineapple, dates, and bananas are an exception)

wheatgrass powder
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Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber, antioxidants, and even a bit of beneficial fatty acids. It will help boost your energy and immune function while detoxifying your body. It helps alkalinize your body to balance out high acid culprits like coffee and meat.

Winning combo: Wheatgrass and spinach, or with fruits like strawberries, pineapple, and banana.

Try this: Use organic wheat grass powder for convenience or grow your own from organic seeds.

coconut oil

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Coconut oil

Coconut oil contains lots of lauric acid, a potent immune system protector, and the same compound found in breast milk.

Related: You Should Stop Freaking Out About Coconut Oil Being “Unhealthy” And Read This

Winning combo: Coconut oil, bananas, almond milk, strawberries, honey.

avocado
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Avocados

Avocados are rich in vitamin E, a nutrient that could help protect your brain from Alzheimer’s disease. They even contain plant-based proteins.

Winning combo: Avocados and cucumbers

Try this: Try pairing with blueberries, banana, and almond milk (here’s how to make your own almond milk) if cucumbers aren’t your thing.

whey protein
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Grass-fed whey

Whey protein contains the amino acid cysteine that helps convert glutathione in the body. Glutathione is a potent antioxidant that prepares cells for battle against bacterial or viral infections. (Note: Since this comes from a cow, it may not be suitable for vegans.)

Winning combo: Organic whey, banana, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, cacao.

hemp powder
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Hemp protein powder

Hemp contains all of the amino acids to form complete protein, making it a go-to protein source for vegans and vegetarians. Not getting enough protein can make you tired, cranky, and even cause skin rashes and changes in skin color. (Here’s more on the many benefits of hemp.)

Winning combo: Hemp protein powder, almond milk, peanut butter, banana

Organic Grains & Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Rodale’s Organic Life