5 Cheap Ways to Eat Black Beans

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By Nicole Dean

If you have a family budget worked out, you know how hard it is to stick to it without having some real concrete plans and strategies to stretch your money as far as it will go. Usually, the first area we can squeeze a few extra dollars out of our wallets is on groceries. I’d like to introduce you to your new partner in your frugal endeavor, the black bean.

We all find ourselves searching the grocery store for something to cook for the family that won’t take our last few dollars. When you find yourself standing in the middle of the store ready to give up, wander over and take a look at the black beans. First take a look at the price. Then take a look at the nutrition label. How can something with the nutrients you need like protein, calcium, iron, and fiber, also be so inexpensive, and low fat, too? When you can feed your family a healthy, delicious meal for literally pennies per serving, you should consider black beans a pantry must-have. How about a few quick and tasty meals that you can prepare for your family so they can fall in love with the wonderful black bean, too.

1) Easy Bean Soup

What you’ll need for the beans is 1 can each, black beans, garbanzo beans, butter beans, and navy beans (although you may substitute your favorite beans for any of those). Drain each can and set aside. Into a large pot, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil, add 1 cup finely chopped celery and 1 cup of diced onion. Cook on medium low until celery is just tender. Next add 1 clove of garlic, either minced, crushed, or grated, and let cook for just one minute. Then throw all your beans into the pot. Add 1 small can of fire roasted diced tomatoes and 1 small can chicken broth. Simmer nice and slow for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. It’s done!

2) Loads Of Beans Salad

Pick your favorite canned beans like, black beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, butter beans, waxed beans, kidney beans, and any others that you may like to try. Drain and rinse them all very well. Put them in a nice big serving bowl. Add to the salad bowl some chopped onion, celery, chives, fresh parsley, rosemary if you like, thyme, or any other herb on hand. Season by sprinkling a good vinaigrette salad dressing all over and mixing in well. I prefer for this salad Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette; it’s reasonably priced and good for a lot of recipes.

3) Too Easy Black Beans & Taco Sauce

Try it and I guarantee you’ll be wondering why you haven’t thought of this before. My daughter was the person who “invented” this recipe in our family, and now we’re all sold on it. Simply drain and rinse a can of black beans. If you have those little packets of taco sauce laying around, leftovers from carry-out, just squeeze a few in your black beans, give it a toss, and you have an incredibly delicious side dish that is sure to please. You’ll have to try this one to believe it. You might want to try some hot salsa instead of the taco sauce, but use only a little, just enough to flavor the beans. (Throw some shredded cheddar on top and you’re set.)

4) Black Bean Salad with Cottage Cheese

A simple but delicious use for black beans is turning it into a creamy salad. Put a 1 scoop of cottage cheese in a serving bowl, and sprinkle a little salt and freshly ground black pepper on top. Then top with some drained and rinsed canned black beans, about 1/2 cup. Add a bit of chopped celery to the mix and you have a great, crunchy, creamy lunch, packed with protein, calcium, iron and fiber.

5) Use-It-Up Black Bean Burrito

If you have a few staples in your pantry you can whip up this simple burrito. You’ll need a flour or corn tortilla, either heated or not, that’s up to you. Drain and rinse your black beans, then start building your burrito however you want. I add black beans, some diced tomatoes, a little onion, lots of shredded cheddar cheese, a little sour cream, leftover rice, some chopped up pieces of chicken from last night, and whatever else I have to use up. Depending on how I feel that day, I go a little heavier on the black beans and lighter on the other stuff. Get your salsa or taco sauce ready and enjoy.

There are countless ways to enjoy our new friend, the black bean. You will easily be able to take the five ideas I’ve listed here and add your own personal flair to create black bean dishes to suit any taste, even your family’s most finicky eater.

Nicole Dean is the mostly-sane mom and owner of ShowMomtheMoney.com – a fun and informative website to help moms achieve success working from home. She invites you to learn more ways to save money in her Frugal Moms section. Be sure to sign up for her free tutorial for work at home moms.

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