PREP: 20 minutes + overnight soaking of beans | COOK: 1 hour 40 minutes | YIELD: 5 x 1-cup servings

The black beans in this side dish not only impart a satisfying texture but they also pair perfectly with the bold Cuban spices. Onions and bell peppers add a crunch to juxtapose the softness of the beans, and lime juice gives it all a perfectly tangy finish. Pair this dish with fish, tofu or a side of rice and you’ll feel like you’re suddenly on vacation!

1 lb (454 g) dried black beans

1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt

½ tsp (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

2 cups (480 ml) low-sodium, gluten-free vegetable broth

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dried oregano

1 bay leaf

1 tsp (5 ml) balsamic vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

Cover dried beans with plenty of water and let stand, covered, overnight or for at least 8 hours. To speed up the process, bring them to a boil, remove from heat, let stand covered for 1 hour, then drain.

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven on medium. Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a mortar and pestle (if you don’t have one, see Prep Tip below), mash garlic, sea salt and black pepper into a paste. Stir garlic paste into onion-green pepper mixture and cook until fragrant but not brown, 1 or 2 minutes.

Add drained beans, vegetable broth, 1 cup (240 ml) water, cumin, oregano and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer, covered with the lid tilted, until beans are tender, about 1½ hours. Occasionally skim the foam that appears on surface and discard it. If liquid cooks down so beans are no longer covered, add ½ cup (120 ml) water at a time. The beans should be thick, not soupy.

When beans are cooked, remove bay leaf and discard. Transfer 1 cup (240 ml) of beans to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return blended beans to the pot, Stir in balsamic vinegar and lime juice. Cover, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Taste, and make any adjustments to seasoning with salt, pepper or more lime juice.

TRY THIS!

Serve over steamed brown rice, garnished with a sprinkle of finely chopped white or yellow onion and chopped cilantro.

PREP TIP

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just use the side of a chef’s knife to press the minced garlic into a paste.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE PER SERVING:

Calories: 370 | Calories from Fat: 39 | Protein: 20 g | Carbs: 64 g | Total Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Fiber: 15 g | Sodium: 158 mg | Cholesterol: 0 mg