|Creamy Black Beans with Cilantro make a great side dish any time of year.|
(This easy side dish made in the slow cooker was first posted in 2006 and updated July 2012 with step-by-step photos and better instructions.) I can't remember where I first saw this recipe, but I jotted it down in a little notebook I carry around to write down ideas for the blog. Then when I decided to use cilantro in every recipe for a month I remembered this recipe and tried it. I loved these flavorful black beans that were so easy to cook in the slow cooker without heating up the house. The dried cilantro that seasons the beans while they cook isn't in any way a substitute for fresh cilantro, but in something like this that's cooked for a long time, it adds a lot of flavor. I get my dried cilantro from Penzeys, but if you don't have dried cilantro, I'd suggest oregano as a substitute.
Dried beans are allowed in small servings even for phase one on the South Beach Diet, and black beans are one of my favorites. For recipes like this that start with dried beans, it's important to soak them, and it's also important to use reasonably fresh beans or you may have a hard time getting them softened. (If your beans are more than a year old, throw them out and get new ones.) These beans were a perfect candidate for the slow cooker, but if you don't have a CrockPot, you can easily cook the beans in a pot on the stove.
And just for fun, here is the original photo of this dish from back in 2006, which is not bad at all. Nowdays I like my beans a little softer than the ones in this photo.
(a CrockPot recipe, about 8 side dish servings. I would use at least a 4 quart crockpot for this recipe so there's plenty of room for the beans to expand.)
4 cups dried black beans (measure before soaking; beans must be soaked overnight)
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock ( used homemade stock, but canned would be fine)
2 T dried cilantro
1 T garlic powder (or use 2 T chopped fresh garlic)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (measure after chopping)
The night before you plan to cook this, rinse beans and pick out broken pieces. Place beans in a large pot or in the slow cooker, cover with cold water by several inches, and soak overnight.
The next morning, rinse and drain beans, then place beans, stock, dried cilantro, and garlic powder or fresh chopped garlic in CrockPot slow cooker. Cook all day on low, 8-10 hours for very soft beans. (If you want firmer beans, start to check after about 7 hours. If you don't have a Crockpot, combine ingredients in a large, heavy pan and simmer on low for about 2 hours.)
Wash fresh cilantro and dry well. (I used a salad spinner.) Chop enough cilantro to measure one cup. When beans are well softened, turn off Crockpot and stir in fresh cilantro. Serve immediately, garnished with additional chopped cilantro if desired.
These beans can also be used in burritos, mixed into taco meat, or on a salad.
South Beach Suggestions:
Beans cooked like this make a perfect side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. I served my beans with Cuban Flank Steak. This would also taste great with Grilled Halibut with Cumin and Lime, Sauteed Scallops with Garlic, or Curried Chicken on the Grill with Cilantro Chutney.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty Ideas with Black Beans:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Lime from Kalyn's Kitchen
Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Black Beans with Sofrito from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy Black Beans and Tomatoes from Budget Bytes
Carribean Black Beans and Rice from Food Blogga
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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