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One Bag of Black Beans: Three Meals

Classic Seasoned Black Beans
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One of the more frequent questions I get is how to do this whole healthy eating thing on a budget. Is it even possible? And to that I say, absolutely yes!

It takes some adjustments and problem-solving, but I believe that a healthy diet can be just as budget-friendly as a diet loaded with cheap (and not-so-nourishing) foods. And one of the main stars of a budget-friendly healthy diet? Pulses!

Pulses are the delicious, protein-packed, sustainable foods known as dry peas, chickpeas, lentils and beans. They are so tasty, so versatile, incredibly healthy, and so affordable to cook with. The average cost of beef per serving is $1.49, whereas you can serve dry peas, chickpeas, lentils, or beans for about 10 cents per serving. TEN CENTS!

Pulses

Canned pulses are a great deal, too, but to stretch your budget even further, drive your cart down the grocery store aisle a little more and pick up some bags of dried beans, lentils, chickpeas, or split peas. A pound of dried pulses runs between $1-$2, and trust me, you can streeeettttcchhh each of those bags into multiple meals.

Today, I’m partnering up with the awesome folks from USA Pulses and Pulse Canada to show you exactly how to do just that. We’re kicking things off with one bag of black beans that I show you how to transform into three separate meals. And over the course of the next few months, we’ll cover all categories of pulses—chickpeas, lentils, and even split peas!

Classic Seasoned Black Beans

Classic Seasoned Black Beans

First things first, we gotta cook this bag of black beans! I have a full tutorial on the blog for how to cook dried beans from scratch and freeze them, but that shows you how to make plain beans. Today, we’re going to spice them up a little bit—literally! This base seasoned black bean recipe will serve you well, and I’ll show you how to transform this one pot of seasoned black beans into three separate meals in a sec.

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Classic Seasoned Black Beans

Classic Seasoned Black Beans


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 8 hours
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours
  • Yield: About 6 cups of black beans

Description

These perfectly seasoned black beans are great on their own with a side of cornbread, or mixed into any number of other recipes.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried black beans, picked through
  • Water
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 jalapeños, seeds and membranes removed and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Place black beans in a large stock pot and cover with at least two inches of water. Let soak overnight. Or, for a quick soak, bring stockpot to a boil, boil hard for one minute, then remove from heat, cover, and let soak for an hour.
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Return them to the pot. Add in all the remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the beans are tender. This will depend a lot on the age of your beans. Fresher beans will be ready in 45-60 minutes, older beans might take 2-3 hours. Your best bet is to start tasting around the 45 minute mark.
  4. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary, then remove beans using slotted spoon. Eat immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Once you have your pot of black beans made, you can eat them as is (so good with some cornbread!) or stash them in the fridge to turn into these three meals throughout the week. A one pound bag of black beans should get you around six cups of cooked black beans (or three cans worth). Let’s dig into the meals!

Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Beans and rice are a classic combo because they are affordable, packed full of balanced nutrition, easy-to-make, and über tasty! Here, you’ll take a base of half brown rice and half seasoned black beans, and then top it with your favorite fixin’s. I highly recommend fresh pico de gallo, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro!

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Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Black Bean Burrito Bowls


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 10 min
  • Yield: 1

Description

Beans and rice are a classic combo because they are affordable, packed full of balanced nutrition, easy-to-make, and über tasty! 


Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked seasoned black beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh pico de gallo salsa
  • Avocado, cilantro, sour cream, lime, etc., for topping

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, layer the brown rice and black beans together. Top with pico de gallo salsa.
  2. You can stop here (it’s deliciously simple!) or top with your favorite toppings like avocado, cilantro, sour cream, and fresh lime juice.

Notes

If you don’t have time to make your seasoned black beans from scratch, you can also buy them from a can in the grocery store. Check out the brands in the international foods aisles for the best flavor.

  • Category: Vegetarian

Black Bean and Avocado Quesadillas

Avocado and Black Bean Quesadillas

Simple quesadillas are one of my favorite meals to make for chaotic weeknights. The mashed avocado in these quesadillas give them an ooey, gooey texture, even if you choose to make these dairy-free and leave out the cheese. Serve them with lots of salsa and sour cream for dipping!

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Avocado and Black Bean Quesadillas

Avocado And Black Bean Quesadillas


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2

Description

Quesadillas make a great meal for hectic weeknight evenings. The mashed avocado in these quesadillas give them an ooey, gooey texture, even if you choose to make these dairy-free and leave out the cheese!


Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 burrito-size, whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1 cup cooked seasoned black beans (drained well)
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
  • Salsa and sour cream for serving

Instructions

  1. Spray a large skillet with the cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat. Add in one of the tortillas.
  2. Spread the avocado evenly over the tortilla, top with the black beans and the cheese. Add in the remaining tortilla on top and press down to seal.
  3. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the underside of the tortilla begins to brown. Carefully flip the quesadilla, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until heated through and brown on the underside.
  4. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes, then slice into eight wedges. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

Notes

If you don’t have time to make your seasoned black beans from scratch, you can also buy them from a can in the grocery store. Check out the brands in the international foods aisles for the best flavor.

  • Category: Vegetarian

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Now I see a good 37% of you rolling your eyes and saying, “Um, salsa isn’t a meal.” When you do it like this? It totally is. This is one of my favorite summertime dinners—a big bowl of rainbow-colored bean salsa, a bag of chips, and the front porch. It doesn’t get easier (or tastier) than that! If I still haven’t convinced you that this salsa is hearty enough to make it a meal, you could also grill up some fish or chicken and serve this salsa alongside. Yum!

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Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Black Black Bean And Corn Salsa


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 15 min
  • Yield: 4

Description

This hearty salsa makes a wonderful summertime meal – just add chips!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked seasoned black beans (drained well)
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes worth)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the tortilla chips, in a large bowl, and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
  2. Let salsa meld for at least 10 minutes before serving with tortilla chips.

Notes

If you don’t have time to make your seasoned black beans from scratch, you can also buy them from a can in the grocery store. Check out the brands in the international foods aisles for the best flavor.

  • Category: Vegetarian

Each of these recipes uses about two cups of black beans, meaning you can cook up a single one pound bag of black beans and make all three of these dishes. Now that’s how you stretch your grocery budget!


This post is brought to you by a Wholefully partner.

Looking for ways to eat healthier? Just add pulses! This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of USA Pulses and Pulse Canada. All opinions are my own.

Learn about my sponsored post policy in the bylaws. Want to be a sponsor? Let’s work together!

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17 comments

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  • Hilary SAYS

    Hi Cassie – love these recipes! I just wanted to check that you want 12 whole jalapenos in this black bean base? That seems like a TON to me – and I like spicy things!

    • Julie @ Wholefully SAYS

      Oh good catch – that didn’t go into the recipe format correctly. It should be 1-2, not 12 (ouch!). Should be fixed now! Thank you!

  • kerry SAYS

    Love these recipes! But the link to print doesn’t work?

  • Amanda Costella SAYS

    What a great post. I love pulses and can’t wait to see what else you come up with for them.

  • Kat SAYS

    I can’t wait to try these next week! I get Hello Fresh delivered, but then have to come up with another 2-3 meals… This looks perfect :D

  • Ingunn SAYS

    Brilliant! I’m usually lazy when it comes to beans and end up using cans, but now that our second baby is starting to eat solids I’m going to go back to dried again (our pediatrician is really strict about canned foods in the first year because of the botulism risk…the silver lining is that we save money). Definitely trying this base!

  • Melissa SAYS

    I love these recipes! You’re just brilliant!

    http://www.melodramaticadventures.com

  • Mary B SAYS

    This was exactly what I needed for this week! Burrito Bowls for lunch = delicious :-)

  • LOUISE SAYS

    After the beans have soaked, when your begin adding flavorings, what does the “1 Water” means in
    the instructions? Thanks! Making these now, just unsure how much water I need to add for the final cook.

    • Julie @ Wholefully SAYS

      When you soak the beans, you just need to use enough to cover the beans by about 2 inches of water.

  • Misrii - Homemade Food SAYS

    I love these recipes! You’re just brilliant!
    http://www.misrii.com/

  • Kerri SAYS

    Can the beans be done in a crockpot??

  • z SAYS

    2 tablespoons of cumin!!!!!!!!!???????

  • Mikayla Flanders SAYS

    Hello! A friend made these beans for me and they were the best! Sadly though, every time I look it up (including now) the recipe doesn’t show up. :( Do you think you could copy and paste the recipe and send it to me so I can see it?

    • Julie @ Wholefully SAYS

      So sorry about that – we were having some technical difficulties. The recipe should be there now!

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