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!
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
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.Print
These perfectly seasoned black beans are great on their own with a side of cornbread, or mixed into any number of other recipes.
- 1 pound dried black beans, picked through
- 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
- 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.
- Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Return them to the pot. Add in all the remaining ingredients.
- 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.
- 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!
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!