Last Wednesday, I ate an entire can of black beans for dinner. And now, you might just do it too
Canned beans get such a bad rap. I do not know why, but it might be because I have been eating canned beans since… well since forever. As a kid, I refused to eat meat. Like flat out refused. And my mom, bless her, had to figure out a way to get protein into me. The only food doing it for me was… well you guessed it. Beans.
Since then, I have always loved to cook with and eat beans. Especially black beans. I love cooking dried beans in my Instant Pot with aromatics and letting them steep for hours. The texture and taste is just unreal. In all honesty, though, no one has time for that.
That is when I turn to the can.
But there is something weird about eating canned things in general, you know? They just can taste so darn… well bland. So, lately, I have tried to give canned beans an upgrade.
Especially being a grad student and all, you know?
Canned beans work well for being a student (or the mom/dad of a student, or just a human… let’s be real) for two reasons. Number one, they are cooked and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Number two, you can’t kill anyone if you under/over cook them. I used to eat them straight out of the can in college as a snack. However, for the average human, giving them a little loving might be the best wa
So here is how I do my best to give my beans some loving. Number one: I always start off with organic canned beans. I know they cost more or whatever, but, for the taste factor alone, you need to trust me on this. Second, you gotta add a little fat. A lot of families add the traditional lard to their beans. And, don’t get me wrong. If you are a lard family, then by all means add the lard! Personally, I have found that coconut oil gives the same luscious texture and offers the added bonus of some coconut undertones.
You will also need to add some spices. I feel like this is where people either go very minimalist or all in. My non-neogotiables for this recipe are cumin and garlic. If you like spice, feel free to add some hot sauce (I highly recommend it) or some chopped chili. The flavor is so freaking delish!
During cooking, I also love to smush the beans to make the sauce super thick and creamy. And dang, these are amaze. I love piling these high on tostadas, tamale bowls, tacos, or taco salads. I am freaking obsessed (and I hope you will be too!
- 4 cans organic black beans
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- salt + pepper
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- hot sauce (optional)
Pour the beans and their liquid into a medium saucepan. Add the coconut oil, spices, maybe ten or fifteen shakes of hot sauce (if using), and the garlic (if using; see above). Stir to mix. Place over medium-high heat, and bring just to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and looks creamy and the beans are very tender, maybe even falling apart. I like to smush mine towards the end of cooking for a luscious texture. You can cook it as long as you like, really. Cook it to your taste. (And keep in mind that the beans will thicken further, and get creamier, as they cool.)