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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!
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!
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.
These perfectly seasoned black beans are great on their own with a side of cornbread, or mixed into any number of other recipes.
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!
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!
Beans and rice are a classic combo because they are affordable, packed full of balanced nutrition, easy-to-make, and über tasty!
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.
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!
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!
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!
This hearty salsa makes a wonderful summertime meal – just add chips!
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!
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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!
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!
Love these recipes! But the link to print doesn’t work?
What a great post. I love pulses and can’t wait to see what else you come up with for them.
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
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!
I love these recipes! You’re just brilliant!
This was exactly what I needed for this week! Burrito Bowls for lunch = delicious :-)
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.
When you soak the beans, you just need to use enough to cover the beans by about 2 inches of water.
I love these recipes! You’re just brilliant!
Can the beans be done in a crockpot??
I think it would work if you didn’t presoak them and cooked them on low for 6-8 hours.
2 tablespoons of cumin!!!!!!!!!???????
Yup! Cumin is one of those spices where it takes a lot to make an impact. :)
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?
So sorry about that – we were having some technical difficulties. The recipe should be there now!
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