Black Bean and Feta Dip

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Okay, I promise this is the last post on what to do with leftover black beans! But this one is crucial to know. It is a to-die-for dip, with only 3 ingredients, and can be made a day ahead.

This dip is served warm, but even warm, it’s fabulous during the summer months, served up with fresh salsa, guacamole and good chips.

Just to re-iterate, I first made a pot of beans from 1 pound of Black Beans, and so far have made a black bean salad, and Refried Black Beans. See how versatile beans are?!!

To make this dip you need to use the same food processor method that I used to make faux refried beans, plus crumbled feta cheese and green onions. That’s it! And because of its simplicity, I’ll show you how to make the dip without a recipe. The ratios are fairly straight forward!


The only variable is the flavor of the beans. You can leave them plain, or season them with cumin, coriander, and dried oregano. That will make it more Southwestern in flavor, so the seasoning depends on the other appetizers. The dip is good either way.

Black Bean and Feta Dip

Cooked black beans
Feta cheese, crumbled
Green onions, sliced

Begin by placing drained black beans in a food processor. You can add liquid if necessary to process the beans to a refried texture. You don’t want them too pasty thick, but also not drippy wet.


Use a fairly tall and clear baking dish, because this dip is layered and pretty.  What I really need for this dip is a mini trifle dish that could go in the oven – or something with straight sides. But for now my Pyrex bowl will have to do!

Spray the baking dish lightly, and have the oven on 350 degrees.

Begin by placing a third of the bean mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.
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Then top the beans with a third of the feta and a third of the green onions.


Repeat.

Make sure there is a generous amount of feta cheese and green onions on the top.
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See the layers?
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Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, until the beans are heated through, and the feta slightly golden brown.
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Let cool to warm, then serve with tortilla chips.


note: The dip can easily be re-heated or warmed in the microwave. And if you have leftover dip, use the dip as refried beans in tortillas. They have built in cheese! I promise you none of your dip will go to waste!

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Refried Black Beans

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Today I want to show you something else to do with leftover cooked beans, which I originally wrote about when I posted on black beans. Like I’ve mentioned before, I love beans, and although canned are useful, it’s so easy and so much less expensive to cook your own from dried. So if you are scared to cook dried beans from scratch, check out that link.

Since I made that pot of beans, I’ve posted on a couple of different ways to use the cooked beans, and today is the final post. I’m making refried beans, although there’s no frying involved. By simply using the food processor, you can process cooked beans into the same texture as refried beans. Only a little liquid or broth is required.

So once again, no recipe is required, I’ll just show you what I do to make the refried beans, and turn them into black bean burritos.

1. Place the cooked beans in the jar of a food processor.
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2. Process, using a little leftover bean broth if you have some, or water, just enough to mush up the beans.
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3. For burritos using this refried bean mixture, simply place the amount you want on a tortilla. I’m using whole-wheat tortillas.
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4. Continue doing this with the remaining tortillas and refried beans, placing them in a greased baking pan.
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5. Pour on your home-made ancho chile sauce or even salsa if you have that on hand. Just make sure the salsa isn’t watery. Then sprinkle with cheese. I used a white cheddar, but goat cheese, or Mexican cotija cheese are wonderful as well.

6. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned slightly.

And that’s it! You can also fill these burritos with grilled veggies, steak, or chicken, but I typically leave these as is for our one vegetarian household member.
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Besides, they’re really good and meaty on their own.


If you want to season the beans, I would add cumin, dried oregano, and coriander.
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Black Bean Salad

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Last week on the blog I cooked a pound of dried beans to show how easy and inexpensive it is to prepare beans. But I also wanted to show what you can do with a pot of beans, such as use the beans in other dishes.

It’s easy to use the beans in soups and stews and even pastas. I love the idea of stretching dishes, especially those heavy with protein, in order to make them healthier. But there are also so many other ways to use cooked beans.

Today I’m going to make a bean salad. This is not an exceptional or “gourmet” recipe; in fact, you can really change it up to make it your own. But it’s a hearty, healthy, satisfying salad. I must say that whenever I’ve taken a bean salad to parties, people go nuts over them. And they’re so simple!

So hopefully this is a dish that you’ve never thought of making before, and are willing to try it out! It’s definitely wonderful to take to a pot luck, and it can be made ahead of time.
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Plus, you can use many different kinds of vinaigrettes or citrus-based dressing with bean salads. I even posted a bean salad on the blog a while back using a home-made green goddess dressing. So the options are endless!

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Black Bean Salad

Black beans, no liquid included
Raw zucchini, chopped
Fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
Onion, finely chopped
Chile peppers, finely chopped
Fresh cilantro leaves
Dressing (see below)

Begin by placing cooked beans in a medium-sized bowl. Then begin adding what you want to the beans. I’ve listed what I used, but the fun thing about these bean salads, is that you can use what you like.
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Continue to add the ingredients, then pour in the dressing and give everything a toss.


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I served my salad with some pickled jalapenos on the side, but you can offer anything you’d like.
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And that’s it! Think about how you can make this salad your own with your favorite ingredients, like including avocado, corn, and bell peppers, for example. It all works, and it’s all wonderful!

Lemon Garlic Dressing

Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil, about 1/3 cup
1 clove fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Salt, to taste

Place everything in a blender jar and puree until smooth. If you don’t want a Southwestern-flavored dressing, omit the cumin and oregano.

Black Beans

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Everyone knows I’m enamored with beans. But there is just something about black beans that I really love. Perhaps the striking color?

Before my children were on their own, I made sure they knew how to cook beans from scratch. For one thing, beans are healthy. But they’re also extremely inexpensive, especially given the number of meals 1 pound of dried beans can provide when cooked.

Today I’m cooking beans to show how easy it is. You can eat them as is, as a side dish. But you can also turn the beans into a bean salad, a bean soup, or even refried beans – all of which will be in future posts. Plus, you can also add your cooked beans to any stew, soup, or pasta. So versatile!!!

Black beans are common in Latin American cuisines, and you’ll find them also in West African cuisines. So they’re not just for Southwestern and Mexican purposes.

All dried beans must be hydrated with water before cooking. That’s the only “rule.” In the old days, you also had to inspect the beans for stones and grit, but I haven’t had to inspect beans for years, fortunately.

Beans can be soaked in cold water overnight. But if you are in a hurry, add hot water, and the beans will be ready for cooking in two hours.


When you’re ready to start cooking, pour the soaked beans in a colander and rinse them well.

So following is my recipe for a pot of beans. Many other ingredients and also seasonings could be added, but I’m keeping the beans plain, because I am going to use them in different dishes.
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Black Beans

1 pound dried black beans, soaked, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
Broth, your choice of chicken, beef, or vegetable
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

Have your beans set aside in a colander.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.

Add the onions and sauté them for about 5 minutes, without much browning. Add the garlic and stir it in for about 30 seconds, then pour in the beans.


Add broth just to cover the beans. Add the bay leaf.
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Bring the beans to a boil, then cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer the beans for about 45 minutes. I typically remove the pot from the heat, but leave the lid on to allow the beans to absorb any more liquid they need to absorb. Black beans stay whole; you won’t discover a pot of bean mash after an hour.
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If you don’t want much liquid with your beans, remove the lid and allow some of the broth to evaporate. Keep in mind, however, that you can use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked beans from the pot, avoiding the liquid. That way, you can utilize the bean broth for other purposes, like baking bean soup, for example.

Taste the beans for salt and pepper. And that’s it!

Now you can eat them as is, as a side dish. I served mine alongside a spicy pork chop, and topped the beans with some peppers and chives. Simple.

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As you can tell, the beans are fully cooked, but keep their shape.
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They have such a wonderful, meaty flavor. I really love them simply flavored. But of course, you can season beans however you wish. (see note below)

note: If you just want to make your pot of black beans more involved and flavorful, here is a list of other ingredients you can use in the above recipe:
Celery
Bell peppers, red or green
Fresh chile peppers
Adobo paste
Chipotle peppers
Canned tomatoes
Parsley
Cilantro
Seasonings like chili powder, curry powder, or a combination of Mexican seasonings such as cumin, coriander, and oregano.

Black Bean Salad, variations

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I use black beans all the year round. They’re delicious and versatile, and they’re also healthy. I make black beans from scratch, refried black beans, black bean soup, black bean gratins, black bean dips, black bean enchiladas and black bean flans. Fortunately, everyone in my family loves black beans.

In the summer I tend to throw black beans along with other goodies together to make salads – especially when I have company. And it’s so surprising how well these salads go over. You can make them ahead of time and they’re so easy!!!

These black bean salads are vegetarian, but you can always serve grilled chicken or shrimp to top the salad, for those who desire more protein.

So here are three versions of a black bean salad. The first is extremely easy, and a little more effort is required for the next two versions. I just want you to know that no matter what you do, it will work! Use the ingredients you love and get creative!

Summer Black Bean Salad, version 1

2 cans black beans, well drained
1 can whole corn, well drained
1 fresh tomato, seeded, diced
1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper
Fresh cilantro

For this super easy salad, combine the black beans, corn and tomato together in a large bowl. Add the tomato, the juice of the lemon, and the olive oil.
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Then season with salt and pepper and give everything a gentle toss.

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If you want, the salad can be made ahead of time and sit and room temperature up to an hour before serving. If you need to refrigerate the salad, don’t add the tomatoes until the last minute before serving. Especially if you refrigerate the salad overnight. Toss again, taste for seasoning, and then serve at room temperature.
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note: If you want this salad more Southwestern inspired, add about 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander. And then add a small can of chopped green chilies. Super fast and easy!

Summer Black Bean Salad, version 2

2 cans black beans, well drained
1 can whole corn, well drained
1 small zucchini, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 small purple onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
4 tablespoons olive oil
Chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
Cayenne pepper, optional

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, zucchini, red bell pepper, tomatoes, purple onion, jalapeno and garlic. Toss together gently. Then add the lemon and lime juices, olive oil, cilantro, and seasoning. Toss again gently.
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As with the above salad, let sit at room temperature before serving, if you wish, so that the flavors come together. Then serve at room temperature.

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Summer Black Bean Salad, version 3

This salad is mostly like the last salad, with all of the fun goodies included, but the dressing is different. For this salad I used the Green Goddess dressing that I posted recently.

You don’t have to use this dressing, you can just add some chopped avocado to the salad if you prefer, but I liked the addition of the creamy dressing. It’s an option. But it’s a really good option. It’s just a little more work to make the dressing. I actually liked the green goddess dressing so much that I whipped up a batch! That’s why there’s a bottle of it in the photos.
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I actually meant to roast some fresh corn on the cob for this last salad but I completely forgot. That would have been instead of using the canned corn. But it just goes to show that you can create your own salad and make it your own. Use the ingredients that you love, whether they’re canned or not. And season how you wish as well. You’re the one eating the salad!!! Enjoy!

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note: With any of the these salads, vinegar can definitely be used instead of the lemon and lime juices. It’s just that lemon and lime juices go so well with beans. It’s just a choice.

Black Beans and Kielbasa

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I love cooking beans. They’re delicious when home-made, especially because you can make them taste however you wish – barbeque style, Mediterranean, or Southwestern. But I have to admit that canned beans are pretty good – especially in a pinch.

For this recipe, I used canned black beans. The only important thing is to drain them well in a colander before using. Other than that, they require no cooking, so they can be added to whatever you’re making at the last minute.

This recipe is kind of like a chili, in that there are meat and beans, but the flavors are quite different. And unlike real chili, this dish can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. And it’s good, too!

Black Beans and Kielbasa Stew

3-4 tablespoons oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 – 14 ounce package polska kielbasa, or polish sausage, cut into 1″ pieces
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon hot paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cans black beans, drained

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Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add the onion, red bell pepper, and sausage and cook over high heat until there is some color on the sausage.

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Turn down the heat to medium, and stir in the garlic. Then add all of the remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine, and heat through.

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Serve hot. It’s really good with freshly made cornbread!

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