Hearty Meals for Heavy Times

One of the first items I noticed disappearing from grocery store shelves when this crisis began was beans. Canned beans, dried beans, they were all gone. Seems like everybody got the same memo and decided to buy beans in bulk. That means many of you have tons of beans sitting in your pantry and you’re probably wondering what to do with all of them.

Beans are relatively inexpensive and are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, and many other important vitamins and minerals. They are a staple in Latinx cooking, and I grew up eating a myriad of bean recipes. In an effort to help you eat through your pantry items, I present to you some of my favorite bean recipes below.

Frijoles Negros. My absolute favorite.

Black bean stew aka frijoles negros is served at every Cuban restaurant and is on the menu of every Cuban household I’ve ever visited. Every abuela has their special spice mix to make this dish muy exquisito. Remember that Cuban cuisine is seldom spicy, but always full of robust flavors. If you don’t have the sour orange or fresh lemon on hand, you can substitute vinegar like my grandma used to. You just need a little acid to make this delicioso!

Cuban Chicharos or Smoky Split Peas

This is not your grandmother’s split pea soup, in fact it’s not my grandmother’s split pea soup either since hers included ham hocks and chorizo. This recipe is smoky, substantial, and delicious. When I’m feeling run down, this is my go to meal. Layers of herbs and spices make this flavorful and comforting. What more could you want?

Cuban Congri or Dirty Rice

This dish is spectacular. Eat it as a meal in of itself or as a side dish. I make this one for potlucks often and people ALWAYS ask me for this recipe. Give it a try! Pruebelo!

Chili con Kinda Carne

I’m a vegan, but you might not be. If you don’t have ground beef substitute on hand, you can omit it all together and add another can of beans or just use whatever protein you prefer. This recipe calls for red and pinto beans, but you can substitute just about any beans you like. Be creative! The key to this recipe is the ground chipotle that gives it that rich, smoky flavor that sticks to your sides.

Refried Beans

What’s not to love about refried beans? Eat them in a burrito, on nachos, as a side dish, over rice, choose your own adventure. I make this recipe every other week. It’s quick, delicious, and satisfying. Feel free to crank up the heat, if you dare!

I hope this post gives you some ideas of what to do with all the beans you stockpiled and inspires you to try something new.

Here’s hoping you’re all staying healthy and staying home.

Until next time, buen provecho!

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