Black beans are the workhorse of the Mexican kitchen. They are so versatile- you can add them whole to salads, mash them for a side dish, or turn them into this delicious Black Bean Burrito for a filling meatless meal.
There are many ways to get your basic black beans:
- from a can (instant). Open, rinse and drain the beans.
- dried beans cooked in a pressure cooker. Follow you pressure cooker instructions. Mine take about 30 minutes to bursting, soft texture.
- dried beans simmered on the stove (about 2 hours). Cover beans with an inch of water and simmer 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Drain.
- dried beans in your slow cooker (about 8 hours). Cover with water and cook on high for 7 hours. Take out 1 cup of beans and mash them. Add the mashed beans back into the slow cooker if you want to make a bit of a saucy consistency. Add water as necessary to keep it so you can just see water at the top of the beans.
Whichever method you use you can then mash them with spices and cream or allow them to cool so you can use them whole.
I have to admit I like canned beans if I am using in salad like my Layered Southwest Salad With Spicy Pepitas, because they have the perfect texture for a salad.
But I prefer cooking my own black beans if they are destined for refried bean or black bean mash because they are creamier than mashing up the canned beans.
In this recipe the black bean purée, mushrooms and corn form a hearty filling for the tortillas and then you can garnish them with all the typical nacho toppings – salsa, sour cream, jalapenos.
You may not need the jalapenos if you switch up some of the spicier chili pepper powders. Ancho pepper powder is a nice variation in this dish. If you are a heat lover then you could substitute 1/2 teaspoon (teaspoon not tablespoon) of Habanero powder. Habanero is much hotter than ancho or jalapeno so experiment carefully!
If you want to compare the heat on Jalapeno vs Ancho vs Habanero – Ancho has approximately 1,000-1,500 Scoville HeatUnits (SHU) , Jalapeno has 2,500 – 8,000 SHU and Habanero weighs in at a whopping 100,000-350,000 SHU, similar to a Scotch Bonnet. The Hot Pepper List is a really good site if you want to learn more about Hot Peppers.
You can make a big batch of beans and freeze them plain or after you do the purée. Or you can assemble the entire burrito minus the garnishes and freeze them. They reheat beautifully. I find it hard to find healthy convenience food that is vegetarian or vegan but this one fits the bill beautifully!