National Celiac Awareness Month, Day 15: Vegan, Gluten-Free Warm Black Beans with Chilies and Cilantro

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Beans are an excellent way to celebrate National Celiac Awareness month, so we are devoting the rest of the week to the lovely legume. Beans are a staple in the diet of many vegans and vegetarians because they are packed full of fiber and protein. When we think of beans, often we think of bland or overly-seasoned varieties that come in cans, ready to plop on the barbecue while still in the can. Blech! Beans are much more versatile than that and deserve a ton more credit! When simmered in just the right seasonings and condiments, they offer a savory, warm and filling meal that will leave you feeling satisfied.

Today’s recipe, from Fields of Greens pairs the black bean with aromatic cilantro, garlic and onions, spicy chili peppers, tart vinegar and tangy orange juice. The black bean, in addition to tasting wonderful, is extremely low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It is packed full of protein, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, thiamin and fiber. These tiny nutritional powerhouses are nutritious and delicious!

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Warm Black Beans with Chilies and Cilantro

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups dried black beans, about 12 ounces, sorted and soaked overnight (or 1 can of pre-cooked beans)
  • 5 cups cold water
  • 1 fresh oregano or marjoram sprig
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1/2 medium-size yellow onion, diced, about 1 cup
  • Sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons Ancho Chili puree*
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chiptole puree*
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespons coarsely chopped cilantro

Drain and rinse the soaked beans; place them in a large saucepan with water, oregano, sage, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet; add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Saute over medium heat until the onion softens, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, and oregano. Keep the onion on very low heat.

Add the beans and their broth to the onion with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and the chili purees. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes. If the beans need more liquid, add a little water to keep the dish saucy. Add the orange juice, 1 teaspoon of vinegar, and for spicier beans, add more of the ancho and chipotle purees. Garnish with a little cilantro on top.

*For the puree: if you have both chilies in their dried forms, submerge a chili pod in a dish of warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes. For some extra flavor, warm the dried chili pods in an oven at 350 for 5 minutes before submerging in water. Remove from the water and blend in blender, add a little of the water if needed. If you get canned chipotle in adobo sauce, simply puree a chipotle and bit of the adobo sauce.

We accompanied this dish with one of our favorite vegan, gluten free ciabatta parbaked rolls!

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