The common black bean is thought to have originated in southern Mexico and Central America over 7,000 years ago. Black beans are part of the traditional Latin diet of beans, corn and squash.
Black beans are a member of the legume family. Legumes include all types of beans and are high in protein. However, the protein in legumes is called incomplete, meaning it does not contain all nine amino acids found in proteins. When eating legumes, it is always good to eat them with grain proteins, such as corn. The grain proteins provide the missing amino acids and make the proteins complete.
Need to lower your cholesterol? Eat beans!
At the market: Black beans can be purchased dried or canned. Dried beans are less convenient. They need to soak overnight and simmer for a long period. Canned black beans are already cooked and ready to use. Buy canned black beans that are low in salt.
Preparation: Place canned black beans in a colander or strainer and rinse in cold water for one minute. This will remove much of the salt used in canning.
Here are a few easy ideas to add black beans in your meals:
Mexican Pizza: Spread a ready to bake pizza crust with salsa and top with black beans, red or green peppers, and corn. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar or jack cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
Simple Side Dish: Saute equal amounts of onions, corn, zucchini, and black beans in olive oil for 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle lightly with chili powder. Add black beans to chicken or vegetable soup recipe.
Black Bean Soup
Garnishes: Try any or all of these: Thinly sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, cubed avocado, sour cream.
Per serving (at 4 servings): 122 calories; 5g fat; 6g protein; 14g carbs; 5g fiber; 0mg cholesterol; 395mg sodium
Black Bean fun facts