Why I love… black beans

You know how you sometimes meet someone and don’t hit it off straight away? You don’t think twice about them afterwards and just get on with your life, maybe even ignore them. Then you bump into them again – and everything’s different and somehow you fall in love. That’s me and black beans.

Several years ago I made a black bean and pepper stew that took all night and many pans. A lot of effort and I was so disappointed with what I ended up eating. From then on, I passed over other recipes using black beans and happily lived my life without them.

Then a few years ago I couldn’t find any kidney or pinto beans when buying ingredients for a burrito so I reluctantly bought black beans. I cooked them up with some spice, slapped them in a tortilla with the usual fillings and have been obsessed ever since.

These days I always have a packet of dried black beans and several cartons of them in the cupboard and start to panic if supplies run low.

Every week I think of ways to put them on the menu, then hold myself back in case my wife is getting bored of yet another dish where they are the main ingredient.

I fell in love with the taste of black beans but when I found out about their nutritional profile, that’s when I knew this relationship was for life.

According to USDA Nutrient Database, 100g of uncooked black beans contains 339 calories and just 0.9g of fat. But they are also packed with protein (21g per 100g, or 42% of RDA) and dietary fibre (16g per 100g, or 64%of RDA).

On a micro-nutrient level, they are just as impressive. 100g of them packs in 48% of your iron RDA, 40% of magnesium and 16% of calcium. They also contain several phytonutrients like saponins, anthocyanins, kaempferol and quercetin, all of which are claimed to offer antioxidant benefits.

All that translates into some pretty big health claims being made for these humble beans.

An article on Health News Today says black beans have been linked to health benefits such as:

  • Maintaining healthy bones, thanks to the effect the iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and zinc contained in them has bone structure and strength
  • Lowering blood pressure as they contain potassium, calcium and magnesium, which help to naturally decrease blood pressure
  • Supporting a healthy heart, through being a source of fibre potassium, folate, vitamin B6 and phytonutrients as well as being low in cholesterol

When you consider the number of things you can do with them – make burgers, soups, stews and dips where they are the star of the show or just throw them in a chilli or salad – then you realise they’re a pretty solid staple food.

I hope you like black beans as much as I do, because I suspect there’s going to be a lot of recipes on here making use of them!


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