I love beans because they’re an excellent source of fiber, protein, and they are vegetarian friendly! They make for a versatile filling to quesadillas or enchiladas and are super easy to make ahead of time if you like to meal prep. Growing up, we seldom ate out at restaurants because it was difficult to find satisfying meals for my mom who was a vegetarian. Whenever we picked a place for dinner, she’d ask if there were beans on the menu. I thought this way funny. But this was partly because yes, she loved Mexican food, but also because beans and pulses (a group term for lentils, beans, peas, etc.) were culturally familiar to her. She found comfort in these dishes because they were part of her childhood and I loved that she found a little piece of her culture and home in the dishes she would try. Black-eyed peas curry or kidney bean curry (Rajma) were dishes she grew up eating because beans and peas were not only nutritious they were very affordable. With what little they had, they found ways to make everything flavorful and delicious.
Some of you have a similar story and grew up either eating pulses yourself or watching your parents eat them, and so I’m sure this recipe will resonate with many of you.
Did you know there’s also a US Dry Bean Council?! Yup, an entire council for beans! This organization is comprised of leaders in the bean industry and educates consumers on the versatility and benefits of beans nationwide. So if you’re planning on going vegetarian for your New Year’s resolution, then not only will beans taste great in dishes, but they are also sustainably grown and sourced which means you’re helping the planet take a step in the right direction too!
Moreover, beans are a part of so many unique culinary dishes across all sorts of cultures and serve as a unique vessel to adding some excitement and taste to everyday meals. I always like to start with a mix of bell peppers, scallions, and cilantro because they add a ton of flavor to the beans. You can also add other veggies to pack in extra nutrition. In terms of spices, I use taco seasoning and cumin but if you like a bit of smoky taste to your beans, you could add in some chipotle peppers or ancho chili powder and it would work really well in this recipe.
So have fun with this recipe, add in different veggies or different types of beans, like black beans and kidney beans, for some more flavor and texture .
As always, Happy Eating!