A Convenient Meal: How to Cook Black Beans (52 New Foods, Week 32) August 17 2012, 4 Comments

how to cook black beans

Stopping at a convenience store on our road trip, the healthy food choices were scarce. But nestled between the canned spaghetti and corn chowder we found a healthy friend: black beans.

Convenience stores are a frequent stop on any road trip. Notorious for their unhealthy food choices, they are usually a place I try to avoid. But we were on a different mission this vacation. Amongst the candy bars and cranked up sodas, we were determined to find a healthy choice. Our goal: prove that if you try, you can cook a healthy meal even if you’re limited to foods found at a convenience store.

Hidden at the back of a dusty, low shelf was the ticket I was looking for: black beans. Packed with protein, and budget-friendly, we decided to make black beans our new food of the week. Bonus points for trying a new food and managing to find a healthy choice among a raging sea of salt and sugar.

How to Cook Black Beans

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours

Luckily, the place we were staying on our trip had a well-stocked kitchen, so we decided to learn how to cook black beans in the slow cooker. You can just as easily use a good ol’ fashioned stockpot.

1 lb bag, dried black beans
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Sort the black beans, removing any debris or broken beans. Soak in water overnight. Be sure the water fully covers the beans.

how to cook black beans step one: soak

2) Drain the beans, then add to your slow cooker along with the chicken broth, the garlic powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

how to cook black beans step two: add to slow cooker

how to cook black beans step three: add chicken broth

3) Set the slow cooker to low and cook the black beans for about 8 hours, or until the beans are tender.

how to cook black beans step four: set the slow cooker to low

4) Serve warm with a little bit of corn and a sprig of parsley or mint for garnish.

how to cook black beans step five: serve with corn and parsley

Crunch a Color Kids Vote:
Hello Mr. (Black) Bean!

What we Liked: Learning how to cook black beans was easy and made a healthy, inexpensive meal. They would also make a great addition to a healthy lunchbox. We served our black beans with a side of mixed veggies and Spanish rice. Tune in next week when we show you how we transformed a few other simple ingredients we found at the convenience store into these healthy side dishes.

* What are your favorite recipes featuring black beans?

Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: Eating Healthy on the Road.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color -- the award-winning nutrition games that make healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game. Winner of the Dr. Toy and Parent Tested, Parent Approved awards, Crunch a Color has been featured by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Laurie David’s Family Dinner, Kiwi Magazine, Dr. Greene, and Yum Food & Fun For Kids, among many others, as a simple, fun and playful way to get kids to eat healthy and try new foods! Jennifer’s passion is making mealtime fun, easy and healthy for busy families. Her easy recipes, quick tips, and new food adventures are regularly featured at Pottery Barn Kids, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, The Huffington Post, and on her weekly recipe blog at crunchacolor.com.