Friday, October 11, 2013

Big Batch of Black Beans ~ Meal Musings ~ Free Menu Printable

"No supper was so good as the thick bean porridge…
Laura liked it hot, and she liked it cold,
and it was always good as long as it lasted.
But it never really lasted nine days. They ate it up before that."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie

Black beans are a fun transitional food between the seasons because they pair beautifully with your last harvest of fresh tomatoes while making tasty soups for the chilly months ahead. We prepared a large batch to use now and extra to freeze for the future.

"Black beans are included in the family of dried beans and peas known as legumes. They are high in protein and fiber, low in fat, and rich in several essential vitamins and minerals. The nutrients in black beans aid in normal body processes, maintain good health and fight chronic disease. To get these benefits, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating at least three cups of beans every week."

'"I'm glad I put beans to soak last night," said Ma."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter

To prepare, soak a large amount of dry beans the day before (first sort through them and remove any non-bean stuff). An overnight soaking in warm water and an acidic medium is supposed to be beneficial to our digestion system and enhance nourishment. Make sure you allow room in your pot for beans to swell during the soaking process (so add three times as much water as beans). For every cup of black beans, add 1 tbsp. of acidic medium (either whey, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, plain yogurt or kefir) to the warm water. Soak black beans for 24 hours.

The next morning, drain the pot, rinse the beans in fresh water and simmer them until tender (for about three hours). We didn't bother with any salt or seasonings at this point.

Here is what we did (and will do) with them:

One of our favorite ways to enjoy black beans is in a soft taco. I love how simple they are to prepare. We sautéed some onions and garlic in oil, then added the black beans and brought them to a simmer. Serve with soft corn tortillas (just heat them on the grates of your stove until you get a grill mark). Add some shredded cheese, lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, fresh onion and a sprinkle of parsley or cilantro for a tasty meal!

We love to add our avocado salsa to the black bean taco too. You will find our recipe here.

You could also create a black bean salsa. Use the ingredients from the avocado salsa (shared above) and toss in some black beans (rinse and drain beans first). Serve with tortilla chips for a delicious appetizer!

Something interesting we experimented with is what I will call a "pantry corn tortilla mix". This can be something to try when you are out of corn tortillas or masa harina (the corn flour that is used for authentic corn tortillas).  I like to have these kinds of alternate recipes on hand because we live quite a ways from a good grocery store. It resembles a corn tortilla crepe and could be used in your enchiladas in place of corn tortillas (you wouldn't have to dip your tortillas with oil when using these). Here is how to make these peculiar "tortilla crepes":

Pantry Corn Tortilla Crepe

3 cups of cold water
2 cups all purpose flour (do not use self rising flour)
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs

Directions: Beat ingredients together until smooth. Prepare as you would crepes by heating an 8 inch skillet on medium heat (grease pan with a napkin prior to every tortilla crepe). Pour 1/4 cup of batter and distribute it evenly in the pan until you have a thin circle (rotate pan to spread the batter). Cook a few minutes and then flip and cook for a few seconds more (until firm and looking "done"). Yield: approx. 20 corn tortilla crepes.

They were interesting but worked in a pinch and I will make these again if the need arises. For our purposes, I stacked them under a towel to keep them warm and served immediately as a soft taco.

I also placed some of our beans in plastic baggies in two cup increments to make taco soup. This will come in handy when the weather cools. I found this recipe at The Prudent Homemaker and will give it a try. It looks very easy and doable for our family. I would probably serve this soup with cornbread and a green salad for a delicious dinner.

Another option for the two-cup bag is our fast and festive taco casserole. This recipe is a family favorite but it does require some ground beef.

The other favorite way to use up black beans is in this black bean burger recipe (also shared by The Prudent Homemaker). My husband *loves* these! What a wonderful way to create a vegetarian hamburger! The thing I like about this recipe is that you could prepare the bean mixture the day before and leave it to sit in the refrigerator. When you are ready to prepare, it just takes a few minutes to cook up! Serve on buns with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and if feeling decadent, homemade french fries for a happy weekend meal!

Needless to say, I also freeze the black beans in 3-cup increments to accommodate this recipe. Make sure you label the purpose for the beans so that you take out the right amount for the proper recipe.

Another idea is to grind up your black beans in the blender or food processor with some seasonings, make some spanish rice and create burritos. Serve with all the fresh fixings that are favorite to your family. Here is our flour tortilla recipe that you may want to try to compliment this satisfying meal.

Black bean salad is something my sister-in-law shared with me. It is *amazing* and if you would like to try this recipe, you will find a printable version here. It makes an excellent side dish to your BBQ'd meat. You won't be disappointed!

We also like to cut up a large green salad and add any leftovers we have to it and sprinkle with black beans (rinse and dry first) as a quick, healthy and tasty lunch.

You could use black beans in place of pinto beans in the ideas that we shared here. Or, to learn how to pressure can beans for your pantry, visit here!

This is what we have done with our big batch of black beans... Do you have any other ideas to share? HERE is a printable summary of this meal inspiration for your recipe book. Perhaps you will want to place this page behind the "main dishes" tab but in the very front. Look upon it on those days when you don't know what to make and hopefully have a stash of these tasty beans in your freezer or pantry!

"Small cheer and great welcome make a merry feast." 
~ Shakespeare
All the fine print. This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The Scoop, Tuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersThe Homesteader HopWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadAwesome Life Friday Link Up and Shabbilicious Friday. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these. This post may contain affiliate links (which are merchant links that help to support this site at no additional cost to you if you purchase an item through them).


  1. Why should you add something acidic when soaking the beans? :-)

    1. Good question! You will find a wonderful post explaining it here:

      Hope this helps :)

  2. Hey JES, I am now hosting a link-up every Friday, I would love for you to come link-up!

  3. Looks wonderful, and the tortilla crepes are now Pinned on my Food board. I'll be trying those out soon. Great post, thank you!

  4. Hello Jes, I will try to make my own tortilla this week (with your recipes) sure my children will love them!!!!!! Many blessings from France

    1. Hi Sandra :) The flour one is our favorite, hope your family enjoys it!

  5. I love black beans. One of my favorite recipes is Black Bean pumpkin soup. So creamy and there is no cream. Absolutely delish

    1. Oooh, yum, that sounds so fall!! Thanks for sharing that :)

  6. Love these recipes! I have a bag of black beans but did not really know how to use them in a recipe.
    Have a great week!

  7. I put dried beans in my crockpot before I go to bed with lots of water. cook on low and the next morning you have beans cooked just right. When you just soak beans without heating they become really "gassy".
    Susan from Michigan

    1. Oh yes, the crock pot! I can't believe I didn't mention that in a bean post :) Thank you for adding that idea and I love the overnight cooking option! Slow cooking is the best for beans...

  8. Love this, JES! Thanks so much for the reminder to add an acid when soaking my beans.

    Love cooking them in the slow cooker and serving with homemade tortillas.

    Pinning this to my 'beans' board. Thanks, again!

  9. Great post - I love the idea of putting up batches of beans in the freezer for easy meals later. Thanks so much for linking up to Awesome Life Friday - I hope you'll come back again this week!