11 Delicious Ways to Eat Black Beans

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 recipes are seemingly endless. We chose our 11 favorite black bean recipes to get you started with something new.

(Image credit: Michaela Cisney)

1. 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: Faith Durand)

2. 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: Nick Evans)

3. 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)

4. 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)

5. 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: Emma Christensen)

6. Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

The secret to the subtly smoky flavor of this black bean soup? The single piece of bacon it’s cooked with. It takes a quick weeknight staple to a whole new level.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

7. 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)

8. 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)

9. 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)

10. 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: Faith Durand)

11. Avocado Lime Black Beans

We call this the can-o’-beans lunch. It takes almost no time to make, and can be eaten for a couple days in a row for lunch. You can also dress it up with a few other freshly chopped veggies and make it into a delicious side dish.

Organic Black Beans is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on The Kitchn

Health Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds

Health Benefits of Black Sesame Seeds

Overview

Sesame seeds are so nutritious that you might not want to wait until your next visit to the bakery to eat the few that top your bagel. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of many essential minerals as well as a very good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin) and dietary fiber. The nutrients found in sesame seeds may contribute to cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, support respiratory health, protect against colon cancer and osteoporosis as well as other conditions. Depending upon the variety, sesame seeds come in many different colors, including white, yellow, black and red.

Many Major Minerals

Black sesame seeds are an excellent source of magnesium and calcium. A 1/4 cup serving of provides 126 mg of magnesium, or 32 percent of the Recommended Daily Value (DV), and 351 mg of calcium (35 percent of the DV). That’s slightly more than you find in a cup of milk, however, the calcium is located in the hull of the seeds, so hulled versions offer much less calcium.

Magnesium and calcium are important essential minerals that help regulate blood pressure, reduce the likelihood of developing tension and migraine headaches (triggered by blood vessel spasms), reduce the occurrence of airway spasms in asthmatics and regulate sleep patterns, especially in women suffering from menopause-induced sleep disturbances.

Essential Trace Minerals

A 1/4 cup serving of black sesame seeds provides almost 1.5 milligrams (mg), or 74 percent of the DV, for the trace mineral copper, and 2.8 mg (about 19 percent of the DV) for zinc. These minerals are needed in very small quantities, but are essential for human health. Copper plays a role in the anti-inflammatory process which is beneficial for reducing some of the swelling and pain characteristic of inflammatory diseases. Copper also is needed to activate an enzyme necessary for building collagen and elastin, which provide structure and elasticity to bones and joints.

Low dietary intakes of the trace mineral zinc (low circulating levels in the bloodstream) is associated with a depressed immune system as well as loss of bone and decreased bone density of the hip and spine. Consuming zinc-rich foods, such as black sesame seeds, reduces the risk of suffering from bone fractures caused by reduced bone density (common among the elderly) or osteoporosis. Optimal zinc intake may reduce the frequency and length of the common cold because it keeps the immune system healthy.

Tiny Cholesterol Fighters

Black sesame seeds help lower serum cholesterol levels (which contributes to cardiovascular health) in several ways. They contain two unique substances known as sesamin and sesamolin. These substances belong to a group of fibers called lignans (flaxseeds are another rich source of lignans). Lignans are rich in dietary fiber and have a cholesterol-lowering effect.

Black sesame seeds are rich in phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant compounds very similar in structure (chemical) to cholesterol. Consuming more dietary phytosterols not only decreases blood cholesterol levels but reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Sesame seeds offer the highest phytosterol content (400 to 413 mg per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces) of all nuts and seeds.

Organic Black Sesame Seeds is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on LIVESTRONG.COM