A creamy, beany Southwest-style salad

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Sometimes I just need salad. Not often, but it happens (I have to consciously choose to eat my leafy greens). This salad is colourful, crunchy, hearty enough to eat as a meal or fun to serve as a side with Mexican food.

Ingredients

The salad

1 head of lettuce, chopped. Use a sturdier lettuce such as romaine or even kale

1 green, red or yellow pepper, chopped

15 ounces (1 ½ cups ) black beans – drained except reserve 1 tablespoon of the brine for the salad dressing

½ a small red onion, chopped

1 cup corn niblets (I use frozen corn and just let it defrost).

2 tomatoes chopped

 The dressing

1 avocado

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp brine from the canned black beans

2 Tbsp pickled jalapenos

1 Tbsp brine from the pickled jalapenos

2 -3 Tbsp cilantro

The juice from one lime

Directions

Add all dressing ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth.

Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Toss with the salad dressing and enjoy.

If you do not dress the salad or add the tomatoes, this salad will last covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just add the dressing and tomatoes before serving.

Omit the lettuce and this salad makes an amazing creamy, beany salsa to eat with natchos.

My recipes is closely based on one I read on Buzzfeed, but I modified it to lower the fat in the dressing and turn up the heat.

 

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A stack o’ quesadillas with black beans and sweet potato

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So this happened in my kitchen the other night. Someone had told me, quite definitively, that quesadillas must have cheese and could not have beans. “Oh yeah,” I thought to myself. Let’s see about that.

I created a stack of beany, cheesy, creamy quesadillas and baked them all together. Black beans and sweet potato give the dish an incredible creaminess. The result is , if not authentically Mexican, still a fiesta in your mouth!

Ingredients

3 large tortillas or even flat bread

1 cup of shredded vegan cheese – I used Daiya pepperjack flavour cheese

1 cup of bottled salsa

1 cup of unsweetened, unflavoured plant-based milk

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 ½ cups cooked black beans (a 15 oz can drained and rinsed)

1 red pepper diced

1 clove garlic minced

1 onion diced

1 sweet potato

1-2 Tbsp chipotle adobo sauce (optional but mmm… the spice!) or a jalapeno, deseeded and minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1-2 Tbsp fresh cilantro (optional)

1 cup fresh spinach finely chopped (optional)

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil

Directions

Wash but do not peel the sweet potato. Dice it and either microwave it or bake it until it’s soft. If you’re baking it – 350F for about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Mix the milk and the salsa together and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until the onion is softened. Add the chili powder, cumin, basil and oregano and heat through. Add the chipotle adobo sauce or jalapeno if using and heat through. Switch off heat. Add the beans, sweet potato, spinach and cilantro and mix together.

Oil a 9” pie plate or other casserole dish. If you’re not using a round dish, you will have to cut the tortillas to fit the dish. Line the bottom with one of the tortillas. Add half of the black bean mixture. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. Spoon 1/3 of the salsa/milk mixture over top. Repeat with another tortilla, the remaining bean mixture, 1/3 cup of the cheese and 1/3 of the salsa/milk mixture. Place the last tortilla on top. Pour the remaining salsa/milk mixture over then the remaining cheese.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Let the dish stand for a few minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

 

 

The “Oh Hell Yeah!” of Black Bean Brownies

 

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Listen, I’m not complaining or anything, but I’m forced to eat an awful lot of amazing vegan food in pursuit of great recipes for this blog. I’m considering renaming this site The Fat Vegan.

Here’s a black bean brownie recipe that’s very closely based on Chocolate Covered Katie’s recipe.

The results are chocolately, dense and fudgy, and deliciously versatile. I’ve had these brownies three different ways. Dusted with icing sugar as shown above.

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With vanilla coconut ice cream, raspberry coulis and berries.

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And topped with maple butter and walnuts.

Rough gig. Let’s get baking. You need a food processor for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (a 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well)
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ½ cup liquid sweetener – agave or maple syrup or even corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • ½ cup walnut pieces (optional)
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional – but it adds depth to the chocolate flavour). Alternately, you could use 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (trust me on this).
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa powder

Directions

Heat your oven to 350F.

Grease a 9”x 9” pan for thinner brownies or a 8”x 8” pan for a thicker brownie. I used a 9”x 9” for these photos.

Put the rolled oats into the food processer and blitz them until you have a coarse meal. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chocolate chips and walnuts and blitz again until everything is combined. You may need to scrape down the sides once.

Remove the food processor blade. Manually stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts to combine.

Spoon the brownie batter into your greased pan and level out the batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let the brownies cool before trying to cut them. I like them best of all after they’ve thoroughly cooled – they seem to get even chewier and fudgier!

Get creative with your toppings… or no toppings. I see in my future that I’ll be trying these brownies with cinnamon and cayenne added to the batter. I’ll let you know how that goes.

 

Black bean and butternut squash chili – a bowl of happy

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Meet my new favourite chili recipe. It’s pretty, spicy, satisfying, full of happy little black beans that are simultaneously chewy yet creamy and just a big old bowl o’ yumminess. This recipe is perfect for this time of year too when squashes prevail. If you don’t have a butternut squash, you could use any winter squash, except spaghetti squash, which is the wrong texture.

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Ingredients

1 medium onion chopped

2 red bell peppers chopped

About 3-4 cups cubed butternut squash – (a small squash of about 1 ½ pounds)

4 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 -2 Tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo chopped. I chopped in 2 of the peppers because I like the heat.

1 bay leaf

½ tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp oregano

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 19oz can diced tomatoes

2 cans black beans drained and rinsed (that’s 3 cups if you cook your beans from scratch)

2 cups vegetable broth

Directions

Wash the squash and pierce it a few times. Microwave it for 6 minutes to make it soft enough to easily cut and peel. When the squash is cool enough to handle, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds which are in the bulbous end of the squash. Peel the squash and cut in cubes. If this is daunting to you, go ahead and buy a bag of already peeled, seeded and cubed frozen butternut squash. No one will judge and it’s good to eat your veggies!

In a very large pot, sauté the garlic, onion and peppers in the olive oil. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir together. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes and then remove the lid and simmer for another 30 minutes (for 1 hour total), stirring occasionally. The liquid will reduce and you’ll have a perfect chili. Yes, it’s that easy.

This dish makes 4-6 servings and freezes well. It’s great with sliced avocado.