You might be wondering how to cook canned black beans, and that’s only natural. Everyone, at some point in their life, has had a black bean meal and loved it. For many of us, these dishes take us back to childhood and to a sense of safety. Comfort food at its best, warm and tasty black beans can create feelings of home and authentic simplicity.
Unfortunately, many folks who know how to make the best black bean meals won’t part with their knowledge, so what is a simple cook to do? There are many ways to use black beans in straightforward recipes. My goal is to help you discover and remember these secrets. You will be able to recreate that homely feel too!
Why Black Canned Beans Are Great
Widely used in several cuisines around the world— including those from South America, the Caribbean, and the South of the United States—, black beans are appreciated by millions. They are also a nutritional powerhouse: one cup of black beans will give you half the fiber you need daily to keep your body healthy. They’re also chock-full of antioxidants and filling protein, making them perfect for a balanced diet.
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Pick Your Beans Wisely!
Black beans can be bought dry or canned. While dry beans are the more traditional choice, they can also be hard to cook. They have to be soaked overnight, often for longer than 10 hours, before cooking. Canned black beans, on the other hand, are already soaked and tender. This way, they are the more time-efficient and simpler option. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when buying them:
- Check for “no salt added” or “low sodium” options. They are the best for your health and allow you to be more creative when cooking.
- Inspect the can thoroughly: don’t buy a can that is damaged, dented or rusty.
- The can must be airtight— if it’s swollen or leaking, it’s unhealthy and you must not buy it.
Prep for Cooking Black Canned Beans
After you have the can with the precious beans, you need to prepare for using them!
- First of all, carefully wash and wipe the can dry. This will get rid of any harmful bacteria that could contaminate your food.
- Open the can with a clean (not rusty) opener.
- Set aside the amount of beans you’re going to use. If you have leftovers from the can, you can store them for later use: put them in a covered plastic or glass container and stick them in the fridge. They will keep up to four days.
- When taking the beans out of the can, keep the liquid they come in! It has absorbed nutrients and flavor, so you can use it in your cooking.
- Some people prefer rinsing the beans well before use. If you didn’t pick a can that stated it was low in sodium, you might be better off adding this step to your bean-cooking routine.
- If you do rinse the beans, be careful to dry them thoroughly before use, to get rid of the remaining residue,
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How to Prepare Black Beans the Easy Way
How to cook canned black beans, then? There are endless options, some more complex than others. If you’re short on time or you simply prefer straightforward meals, I’ve got you! This is the best, easiest recipe for cooking canned black beans:
- Make sure you have all the ingredients. You’ll need:
- Canned black beans (1 can),
- Half a garlic clove,
- 2 teaspoons of sugar,
- A third of a teaspoon of pepper (you can use black, white or Cayenne)
- 1 minced purple onion
- A dash of oil or a smidgen of butter
- Cilantro and salt (optional)
- Spread the oil or butter in a saucepan or pot and heat it up.
- Sauté the clove of garlic until it becomes golden.
- Add the contents of the can— juices included— to the pot or saucepan.
- Stir as it warms up, and add the minced onion, pepper, and sugar.
- Before it boils, taste the mix— be very careful not to burn yourself!— and add as much salt and cilantro as you like.
- Keep stirring until it boils. Then lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for 6 minutes before you take it off the fire.
Serve in individual bowls or deep plates. You can add a little sprig of parsley or cilantro on the top, just for presentation.
Best Canned Black Beans Recipes
If this recipe is way too simple for you, or if you like to mix things up a little, you can try any of these easy and quick recipes for cook canned black beans:
- Black bean hummus: these delicious little beans can work very well as a substitute for chickpeas in hummus.
- Strain the black beans as you take them out of the can, leaving only a little liquid.
- Add olive oil, some tahini (to taste), and a piece of garlic.
- Pour the contents into a blender or food processor and blend until it looks smooth.
- Refrigerate for half an hour and serve!
This is a quick and delicious side dish, filling, or dip for parties.
- Black bean vegetarian burgers: this super easy vegetarian burger recipe is a sure crowd-pleaser. You only need a couple ingredients!
- Mash the canned black beans together with their liquid.
- Chop a half onion and saute the pieces.
- Add the bits of onion to the mashed beans. Pour in crumbled bread (approximately three slices), powdered garlic, and some salt and pepper.
- Combine the mixture with half a cup of flour. Use your hands to mix it all together!
- Make burger-shaped lumps out of the combined ingredients, and fry them individually in a medium-hot pan.
- You’ll know when it’s cooked because it will turn golden (and smell wonderful!).
- Place the patties on a tray covered with paper towels (to absorb extra oil).
- Serve with buns, salads, and sauces!
This recipe is ideal for a game night or mingling party— especially if you don’t know whether some of the guests might be vegetarian!
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How to Season Black Beans— the Tastiest Spices!
A good black bean dish will taste earthy, homely and a little bit hot. There are many spices, ranging from the traditionally used to the exotic, that you can add to your black bean recipes to make them more entertaining:
- Cilantro: Also known as vietnamese coriander or Chinese parsley, this sharp scented plant will add a bit of oomph to any black bean recipe.
- Mint: Any of the many varieties of mint can be combined with these beans to produce an unusual but pleasantly flavorful result. Prepare for the freshness!
- Cumin: Traditional and unique, cumin blends seamlessly with black beans, and it will bring back memories of times gone by.
- Epazote: This Mexican herb will bring a touch of the exotic to your kitchen. Besides being aromatic and distinctive, epazote is known for its medicinal properties. What better to add to a warm, comforting dish than a plant that will cure you?
- Oregano: Present in every pantry, this herb’s flavors range from hot and complicated to simple and sweet. Depending on which variety you use, you can end up with wildly different end products.
How to Store Your Beans Properly
People sometimes make mistakes when storing black canned beans, making them useless and not edible. However, this can be avoided:
- Never ever put your leftover beans back in the can. What made it such a great container before— namely, its airtightness— is gone, and placing them back in will make them go bad and give them a metallic taste.
- Instead, throw away the can— if you can wash and recycle it, all the better!— in a safe way and grab a sealable container. Place it in the refrigerator, away from other uncooked food (such as meat or chicken) to prevent microbes from spreading.
- If your can is unopened, store it in a cool, dry place and make sure the can remains without damage. This way, your beans will remain high-quality until the expiration date on the package.
- If you’ve already cooked your beans, pay attention to the other ingredients. For example, a dish that contains meat or chicken can’t be left out of the fridge for long and should be stored more securely than a recipe that uses only vegetables.
- Keep that in mind when planning to reheat the cooked dish: non-vegetarian meals will keep for less, and you should cook them until they are very hot again.
- If you want to store uncooked beans in the freezer, strain them and put them in a freezer-safe container. They will stay tasty for 2 months.
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Enjoy the Warm, Homely Comfort of Black Beans
It doesn’t matter if you go for simple or complex, hot or sweet: black beans are always good to eat. They can transform any meal into a comforting trip down memory lane or help create new, welcoming traditions.
Canned Black Beans: the Simple Facts
When you buy to cook canned black beans, you’re getting great nutritional value, homely comfort, and many options for easy recipes!
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