Stewed Black Beans with Avocado Sour Cream and Chopped Tomatoes
Looking for a high protein, tasty and very filling vegan dish? Try this.
Did you know that this month is Vegan Month? Well, it is. But it’s by a pure coincidence that today’s and Monday’s recipes are vegan. I’m not vegan. I’m not even vegetarian. And to be honest I feel a little guilty about that. I’m persuaded by the arguments for vegetarianism but I don’t seem to be able to be a healthy vegetarian. I think most people can be. Just not me unfortunately. But I want to try and minimise the amount of meat of I eat. My plan is to be vegetarian two days a week and vegan one day.
I also want to ensure that I’m eating the right amount of protein for me so I’m on the lookout for high protein vegan meals and this dish qualifies. It yields 4 – 6 servings. If you serve four portions you get about 24g of protein in each bowl, if you serve six you get about 16g.
I made the Pioneer Woman’s Black Bean Soup a few years ago and this recipe is pretty much the same as that. Except I do it slightly differently every time I make it depending on what I have to hand – or what I’ve had to add because I’ve messed something up. The ingredients are give here are what I used to make it on this occasion.
Did I have to add anything unusual to correct some other unusual thing I added? No. In fairness this is super simple to make. You just have to rinse the beans, soak them overnight, rinse again, then boil them up in some stock with veg, herbs and spices, let them stew for a few hours, top with a bit of guacamole – and that’s it. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just a few small simple tasks with hours of just leaving it do it’s thing in between.
Perfect sort of recipe for hibernating weather.
Did I just admit that the avocado “sour cream” is in fact guacamole with a little more lime and the tomatoes not mixed in?
It’s a little different.
But yes you could just go with guacamole. Just add in a bit more lime than usual. And the freshness of the chopped tomatoes when they aren’t mixed in works really well here.
OK, yes, it’s guacamole, whatever way you combine it.
Back to the recipe. What didn’t I have to hand? I didn’t have onion and I need to get a stronger chilli spice because the one I have seems to have no effect on dishes at all. So I used cayenne pepper instead. I also added some ground mace.
Because I have a jar of it which I’ve never used and I decided it was time to add some to something. This is the kind of thing that sometimes results in corrections being necessary. As it happens, mace works well here.
(Sorry, that’s incorrect. I use ground mace in the Levantine Lamb Stew – probably bought it for that. If you’re vegan try substituting chickpeas for the lamb. Seriously the spice mix in that is amazing.)
Since I didn’t have onion I couldn’t make the avocado sour cream that day and I mention this because the beans are fine by themselves. They are particularly yummy with something creamy and sharp tasting. But they are perfectly good by themselves. And when you have been smelling them stew in the garlic and cumin for hours you’re not going to be able to resist having a bowl once they’re ready.
They really are very good. And they’re even better with a sharp, not fully mixed together, guacamole.
I also didn’t have any vegetable stock cubes to hand. And I didn’t want to waste any of the veg I had on making stock. So I used a cheat’s version of vegetable stock. You put some garlic, fresh herbs, small lump of nutmeg, peppercorns and salt into a jug. Fill the jug with boiling water and leave it to infuse while you chop and prepare your veg for cooking.
Soaking the Beans
Apparently there is a big divide among raw bean cooks about whether soaking is good or bad. Yes everybody let’s choose a side and line up because you’ve got to know which side you’re on. Is there any topic left that isn’t somehow contentious?
Anyway some people argue that soaking the beans robs them of their full flavour and doesn’t save you much cooking time.
My personal take on it is I used to only eat canned beans so the soaked versions I’ve cooked are still a lot more flavoursome than the canned ones. And as to the cooking time, they take ages anyway. It’s not the kind of dish where you need to stand over the cooker. You put them on the stove and forget about them for a couple of hours. If it’s an hour less of more, who cares?
The soakers of the world say that soaking reduces the amount of phytic acid and makes them easier for you to digest. Is this true? I don’t know. But in hopes that it is I’m going to soak the beans.
I don’t soak lentils though – they cook quite quickly anyway. And I’ll cross any lines that suit me.
Full of protein and fibre.
And apparently bring out your bolshie side.
Just in case you’re reading the crossing lines bit as me saying I’m anti-PC-culture, you could not be more wrong. I like it when people are real but I don’t see how being polite and considerate makes anyone less real.
Not that I’m some paragon of good behaviour or anything. But when I’m impolite or inconsiderate I know that I’ve done wrong. I’ll accept the consequences. And if needs be I’ll do what I can to correct things. I think half the time in this world of ours the problem isn’t so much people being wrong but people refusing to admit they’re wrong when they clearly are. And they know it too.
Full of protein and fibre.
May make you a little bit bolshie and cause you to ponder the manner and mannerisms of things.
I’ve just found out that ponderous is not the adjective of to ponder !?! And … and … I’ll just have to stop this here. Who knows what I’ll find out next…
Do you dare???
- 500g dried black beans
- 1750 ml vegetable stock
- 1 red bell pepper - cored, deseeded & chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper - cored, deseeded & chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- sprig of thyme
- 1 generous teaspoon ground cumin
- good pinch of cayenne pepper
- good pinch of ground mace
- 2 ripe avocado
- 1 - 2 limes
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
- pinch of salt
- Rinse the beans in a sieve or colander and make sure there aren't any little stones among the beans. Apparently this isn't unusual but I haven't come across any so far. Place them in a large pot with three times their volume of cold water. Bring to boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Cover and leave overnight to soak. When ready to cook the next day, drain into a colander and rinse once more.
- Add the soaked beans into a large pot together with the stock, garlic, peppers, spices and a good pinch of salt. Bring to boil, boil for 5 minutes or so, reduce the heat to low-moderate setting and leave to simmer for two hours or until beans are sufficiently soft. Then taste and add more salt to taste.
- Peel and deseed the avocados. Mash their flesh up with the juice of 1 lime and a pinch of salt. Mix in the onion. Taste and add some more lime juice if it doesn't taste sour. I would add the juice of 1 lime for every avocado - but I often like things quite sour.
- Ladle the beans into bowls, top with the avocado sour cream and the chopped tomatoes.