Attention, friends, one of my most requested recipes coming at you! You may recognize these simple yet flavorful beans from a variety of other recipes – my vegan crunch wrap being the most famous of them. But I don’t save these savory beans for the only the glam recipes, I love having a batch in the fridge for tacos, burrito bowls, enchiladas & salads throughout the week.
Packed with protein, fiber, folate & iron, beans are a plant-eater’s best friend. I use one pound dry black beans for this recipe. If you’re not accustomed to cooking beans from dry (rather than using canned), this is a good place to start as it’s a simple, versatile recipe and beans typically come in one-pound bags. Cooking beans from dry makes them an ultra inexpensive source of vegan protein, and dry beans also take up a lot less shelf space then stacks of cooked/canned beans.
There are lots of benefits to cooking beans from dry, but there are also some downsides. One is the “need” to soak dry beans before cooking them. Using dry beans takes some planning and time management, but there are always ways to cut corners. Yep, that’s right, I’m here to spill some tea – soaking dry beans before cooking is not required. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I choose to soak dry beans. Like if I’m making a soup, because the vegetables will turn to mush by the time the beans are cooked, so soaking the beans cuts down on the time they need to cook with the rest of the ingredients. And I don’t soak them in this recipe because I’m going for a thick, starchy, reduced liquid, which I achieve by cooking the beans in the same liquid from start to finish.
Spicy Stewed Black Beans (vegan)
1 lb dry black beans, 1.25-1.5 cups
1 bay leaf*
1 large yellow onion, diced (2 cups)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, to taste/spice preference
In a medium-large pot add beans, 8 cups water, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, cover, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 2 hours, until water is just covering beans and still very liquid-y.
Meanwhile, heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a small-medium skillet. Add chopped onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté until softened and starting to brown, 6-7 minutes. Add spices – oregano, cumin and chipotle powder (1/2 teaspoon chipotle is a mild spice level with a slight kick, reduce to 1/4 teaspoon for no kick, 1 teaspoon will be pretty spicy). Sauté for another minute or two, add a splash of water, maybe 1/4 cup, to get all the flavor off of the pan, turn off heat and add onion mixture bean pot.
Bring bean mixture back to boil, if needed, and reduce to a rolling simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about an hour (see notes). Season with salt to taste, I add 1/2 teaspoon. The beans will thicken further as they cool.
Cooking time varies due to evaporation variances and simmer strength. The final stint of simmering, after adding the onions, could be 45 minutes or a few minutes more than an hour. Keep an eye of them. The beans will thicken even further as they cool, so keep that in mind.
Bayleaf has a very overpowering flavor if you add too much. Most jarred bay leaves are fully dried and 1 of these fully dried bay leaves has a perfect amount of flavor. But beware, 1 fresh or gently dried bay leaf will be too overpowering, use just 1/3 of a fresh or gently dried leaf. Your jar or container should warn to use less if required, otherwise it’s probably fully dried.
Serving size guesstimate, 4-6 entree portions, 6-8 side dish portions.