Vegetable Chili Recipe

This recipe was originally published over 10 years ago, but I still make it all the time and have given the photos a makeover!

We are a football-watching family.  On any given Sunday during the season, we are hunkered down for a good part of the day at home with the likely chance of random family and friends dropping by.  I like to prepare hearty, comfort food that can be left on the stove for everyone to help themselves whenever hunger strikes.Continue reading

Slow cooker vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes (stovetop version, too!)

As I type this, my slow cooker has been on for 36 hours straight.  Is that allowed?  I am officially obsessed and I completely understand why you all have been too while I was under a little rock.  Wow!  I made this awesome sweet potato chili the other night, then washed out the insert and put in some beef bones to make beef stock while I slept.  Then the next morning strained the beef stock and made a grass-fed beef brisket with veggies that I turned into a delicious sauce for pasta.  I’m on fire!

Are you gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday?  I love football, so I am always excited for the big day.  What I’d really like to know though, is why does everyone make chili for the Super Bowl?  Or a lot of Tex-Mex food?  I take that back.  My family in NY will be eating sausage and peppers and a baked pasta of some sort.  Maybe it’s just Southern California, but everyone I know is ripening their avocados for guacamole to go on top of their tacos or nachos or what have you.   Just curious since I am one of these people too and I’m not quite sure how I got to be.

I do try and mix it up a little every year, but somehow chili makes it onto the menu in some way.  I have been alternating between Vegetable Chili (my favorite) and Deer Valley Turkey and Black Bean Chili, which I serve alongside a baked potato bar, corn bread and Mexican Chopped Salad which I have a feeling doesn’t resemble anything you’d get in Mexico but sure is the perfect salad to go along with everything else Tex-Mex-y.  I’m in a bit of a conundrum this year with only two days to go until Super Bowl Sunday because I have no menu yet!  There are too many things I would love to make, including this fabulous chili as well as Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos or even this terrific-looking vegetarian tortilla soup recipe I spotted on Foodily.  Alas, I have a mere one slow cooker.

Fear not, good people.  I will share with you how to make this recipe on the stove in case you either do not have a slow cooker (yet) or you only have one slow cooker and you are planning on making my slow cooker chicken tacos.  I like to have a good balance of different food groups even on Super Bowl Sunday so that it’s not just chips and animal protein all day long.  Personally, I think chili is an easy dish to do vegetarian.  All those beans are super high in fiber and protein so they’re really filling and it’s the spices that make everything taste delicious, not the meat.  This chili is really interesting because it includes a bit of sweet potato, one of my most favorite foods.  There’s a touch of cinnamon and cocoa powder which you can’t really taste, but pairs great with the chili powder.  I didn’t add any leafy greens, but in retrospect I think a few chopped leaves of chard, spinach or kale would have been a nice addition at the end.  This Super Bowl I’m rooting for you to eat something healthful!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined olive oil (or skip this if you don’t want to pre-saute vegetables)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (remove seeds to make it less hot or use half or omit altogether)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt (depending on salt in tomatoes)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 28-ounce container chopped or diced tomatoes with the juice (I prefer to use Pomi from a box or tomatoes in glass jars to avoid the inevitable BPA in canned tomatoes.)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked black beans or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed (click here to learn how to cook beans from scratch, otherwise Eden Organics doesn't use BPA in their cans)
  • 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 pound total, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup water (use 2 cups water if cooking this on the stove)
Instructions
  1. Omit this step if you cannot bear to pre-cook anything when using a slow cooker. I like to sauté my vegetables because I think it adds more flavor, but feel free to dump everything (omit the oil) into the slow cooker and press “start.” Otherwise, heat oil in a large skillet (if not using a slow cooker, sauté in a large pot) over medium heat. Add onion, peppers and garlic and sauté until onions are tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add spices, salt and pepper and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. If your tomatoes are unsalted, use 2 teaspoons salt.
  3. Add tomatoes and their liquid and cook for another minute or two.
  4. Pour the onion and pepper mixture into a 4-6 quart slow cooker. Stir in beans, sweet potato and 1 cup water. (If cooking on the stove, add remaining ingredients to the pot plus 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until sweet potatoes are tender and everything is nice and thick, about 1 hour.)
  5. Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  6. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with desired toppings such as tortilla chips, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, and sour cream.
Notes
I have also served this with cooked quinoa and millet, which was delicious. Also, I think adding some chopped fresh leafy greens about 10 minutes before serving would be very nice, too. Swiss chard, spinach and kale would all work well.

 

How to cook beans from scratch

This is the time of year when I start to make more bean-based soups and chilis.  And as soon as it stops being 80 degrees around here, I’ll get right on that.  Actually, regardless of the season, we are a bunch of bean eaters in this house.  Besides chili, I use beans in Mexican dishes, salads, pastas, veggie burgers, with braised greens or in dips.  There are many varieties of beans that we eat — from garbanzos to black to pinto to Cannellini and more.

Beans are incredibly versatile and they happen to be a great low-fat source of fiber and protein.  Beans are one of those low-glycemic foods that gives you long-lasting energy without spiking your blood sugar.  Hooray!  No insulin surge!  And what’s more is that several types of beans including kidney, pinto and black are off the charts in antioxidants, as in a whole heck of a lot.

Beans are quite affordable, especially if you make them from scratch.  A pound of dried beans can cost anywhere from $1 to $1.50 and that will yield the equivalent of 3-4 15-ounces cans.  If you buy high-quality organic beans from a company like Eden Organic, which doesn’t line their cans with BPA, one can costs approximately $2.30.  You can do the math here and realize that you would save a lot of money buy cooking your beans from scratch.  Not only that, most cans are lined with BPA, which is a carcinogen that is not easily detoxified.  And wouldn’t you feel better about not throwing all those cans into a landfill?  Yes indeed.  

I am teaching a black bean and pumpkin soup recipe this month in my classes and I have noticed my students furiously scribbling my instructions for how to cook dried beans.  I realized this would be a good thing to post, so here are a few of my tips for preparing beans from scratch.

  1. Buy beans from a store with a high turnover to ensure you don’t get very old beans which take longer to cook.
  2. Plan ahead since you need to soak beans for at least 6 hours and then cook them for an hour or more.
  3. Pick through the beans before soaking and look for any small stones or debris.
  4. Place beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with a generous (4-6 inches) of cold water.  If you have a piece of kombu (kelp), add that to the beans for additional digestibility and alkalinity.  Leave the bowl on the countertop or in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.  Check to make sure all the beans stay below sea level!   I usually start soaking in the morning when I’m making breakfast.
  5. Drain the beans in a colander and transfer (with kombu, if using) to a large pot.  Sometimes I add some onion and celery if I know I’m going to use the beans for a salad, but I usually don’t add vegetables.  Fill with fresh cold water to cover by at least 4 inches and bring to a boil over high heat.
  6. Lower heat to a simmer and skim off any foam from the top.  Maintain a gentle, active simmer.  Boiling the beans rapidly can make them lose their shape.
  7. Start to test the beans for tenderness after 50 minutes.  Continue to taste them until desired tenderness is achieved.  This can take an hour or more depending on the age of the beans.
  8. Turn the heat off and if you have time, add some kosher salt to the beans and allow the beans to cool in their cooking liquid.
  9. Drain and now they’re ready to eat!  Or store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Update 4.30.13:  I have had great success cooking dried beans in a slow cooker.  Whereas the beans are more digestible if you presoak them, they will still cook to perfect tenderness without soaking.  I put 2 pounds of dried beans in my slow cooker and filled it up with water (an inch or so under the lid.)  Set it on LOW for 7 hours and they will be perfect.  So exciting!

Potato and bean soup (patate e fagioli)

Who invented the idea of “Meatless Monday?”  The U.S. Food Administration did during World War I and urged families to conserve key staples to aid the war effort, but the idea was revived in 2003 by an ad exec-turned health advocate for dietary and environmental reasons.   Ironically, the Food Administration also tried to promote “Wheatless Wednesday” during WWI, which I would love to see make a comeback.  But I have a feeling you won’t see the US government advocating abstaining from any big political donors major food industries anymore.  However if you ask my sisters and me who invented “Meatless Monday,” we would tell you with conviction that it was our mother.   Vegetarian dinners on Mondays were a part of my life growing up.  I loved them since I was a vegetarian from about the age of 10 to 18.  But believe me, my mother was not trying to cater to me at all.  Her thought was that we tended to indulge over the weekend with heavy meals, usually centered on lots of pasta, meat and cheese and that we needed a break.  My sisters, who were most definitely NOT vegetarians called it “Low Budget Night,” since Monday’s dinners tended to be less expensive and less fancy.

Beans or lentils were almost always the star of the show on Mondays and they usually found their way into a soup.  This potato and white bean soup is just a take on a traditional pasta and bean soup or “pasta e fagioli,” as you might see it on a menu.  I love that potatoes, a whole food, take the place of pasta, which is a (processed) food I eat very occasionally.  The recipe requires so few ingredients, many of which you probably have in your pantry.  And if you make your beans from scratch, this soup will cost you practically nothing.  The potatoes and beans both add a rich creaminess to the soup, as well as work together to form a complete protein.  Even though beans are typically bland, this soup has a nice, almost smoky flavor and feels very satisfying despite the lack of fat.  A typical Monday dinner would be a nice big bowl of this soup with a side of sauteed greens or a salad and some crusty bread.  Sometimes my parents would also add a wedge of good cheese (that my father smuggled in his suitcase from Italy) to the table and that was that.

My husband grew up with neither Meatless Mondays nor Meatless Any Days, so getting him to buy into a dinner of potato and bean soup took some time.  Now he loves it and especially how it makes him feel afterwards (“not gross”).   Lest anyone feel cheated, I happily serve both a salad and some roasted vegetables on the side.  All my kids, Mr. Picky included, love this soup.  It’s white!  What kids don’t like white food?  Of course,  I can’t help but stir in some escarole in at the end.  You know me and my greens.  They’re going to save your life, so I’ll find anyway to include them that I can.  If your local market doesn’t carry escarole, feel free to add some spinach, arugula or chard.  I always plan to have extra soup for thermoses in the next day’s lunch boxes, which works out perfectly for “Trash-free Tuesday” at our school!

Have you made any new year’s resolutions?  I’ve been contemplating a few, but what tends to work better for me are measurable resolutions, such as “cook dinner five nights a week” or “do yoga every Sunday.”  I’ve never had luck with “eat better” or “exercise more.”  Most people tend to come up with resolutions about diet and health, but they’re usually about short term weight loss or feeling better after 6 weeks of holiday overindulgence.  I think “Meatless Mondays” is an easy one to try and it doesn’t mean you’re becoming a vegetarian or a vegan, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  It just means a commitment to eating more plant-based foods and acknowledging the heavy environmental footprint of raising animals in this country.  Just a thought.

Talk to me here — am I the only one who grew up with Meatless Mondays?  Does your family currently partake?  I need some inspiration for my new year’s resolutions — feed me!  Or just make this soup.  Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Potato and Bean Soup (Patate e Fagioli)
Author: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini, about 2 ½ cups*
  • 1 2-3 inch piece of kombu (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (or other boiling potato), cubed
  • 1 6-inch sprig of fresh rosemary (optional, I like it just as much without)
  • 3-4 teaspoons sea salt (depending on saltiness of the stock)
  • 1 head escarole, leaves coarsely chopped
  • Grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired
Instructions
  1. Wash beans well and pick over for stones and debris. Soak beans with kombu in plenty of fresh cold water overnight or at least 6 hours. This can be done in a covered container or in a pot (I use the same pot for soaking as for cooking the soup) on a countertop. Refrigerate if your kitchen is warm.
  2. Just before you begin cooking, drain the beans into a colander. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot, and add the onion and garlic. Cook until softened, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and stock to the pot and raise the heat to high. You can add the kombu to the pot, if you like for additional alkalinity. Bring soup to a boil, cover, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour.
  4. Add the potato, sea salt and (optional) rosemary. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Test the beans for tenderness. If they’re not done, continue to simmer until they’re tender. Once beans are tender, you can puree the soup to your desired consistency or leave chunky. Remove the kombu and sprig of rosemary before pureeing.
  5. Stir in the escarole and cook until wilted. Serve with grated cheese, if desired.
Notes
If you want to use canned beans, you will need 4 15-ounce cans, or about 6 cups. I like Eden Organic. Follow the directions below:

Saute onions and garlic.
Add potatoes, stock, salt and (optional) rosemary. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender.
Add beans to pot and cook until heated through. Puree to desired consistency (or don’t). Stir in escarole.

 

White bean salad with celery and mint (and sometimes tuna)

Happy summer!  I really can’t believe it’s here, but I am just thrilled to bits.  Even though I still teach during the summer, I find that my schedule with the kids is a little easier and frees me up to spend a bit more time cooking.  The ironic thing is that during the summer, we don’t need to “cook” as much.  The weather is warmer and our bodies can tolerate more raw or lightly cooked foods.  But this has to be my favorite season for just the sheer bounty of vegetables and fruits available.  You can find me literally bouncing around the farmer’s markets in the summer overbuying berries and stone fruits, corn, eggplant, greens and tomatoes.  This past Saturday I bought a bushel of mint that was so gorgeous and fragrant, I couldn’t resist.  But I should have since already I GROW mint on my patio.

I also love summer since we entertain much more frequently and it’s a wonderful chance to catch up with friends.  I enjoyed a little quiet time this morning planning some weekend meals with guests in mind.  I have several new recipes I’ll be trying out, like chicken and vegetable kabobs with chimichurri sauce, black bean burgers with a smoky red pepper spread, and cantaloupe and cucumber salad.  I’m hoping they get the thumbs-up and I’ll post them before the end of the season.  Also, the kids and I have been having fun dipping big chunks of peeled ripe bananas into melted dark chocolate and freezing them.  But in as much as I get excited about experimenting, I also love my favorite stand-bys.

One of my regular dishes in the summer is this white bean, celery and mint salad.  By now you know I have a thing for creamy and crunchy together and I clearly have no self-control when a healthy bunch of mint seduces me.  On a beach day, I like to put the fixings out for a make-your-own sandwich bar.   Whether we choose to eat a quick bite at home or pack the sandwiches to go, this bean salad is always the perfect side to chicken salad, grilled vegetables or a humble turkey on wheat.  It is a great salad to bring on a picnic since the beans and celery don’t suffer after sitting in dressing for hours.  But the recipe is so easy that you might find yourself at home for lunch one day and decide that you can pull a beautiful healthful salad together with that can of white beans in your pantry and a simple vinaigrette.

Beans are a great source of inexpensive, low-fat protein and contain a ton of soluble fiber — so great for helping balance the LDL and HDL levels.  I am pretty good about planning meals in advance, so I will usually soak dried beans and make them from scratch, but opening up a can of Eden Organic beans is just fine, although a tad more expensive.  Sometimes I add canned tuna to this salad and you really need nothing more, although my girls love to take crusty bread and scoop up the salad and eat it that way.  Now would be a good time to mention that I dread BPA, which is a plastic and resin ingredient found in the linings of most cans, as well as water bottles and is associated with several health problems including breast cancer and infertility.  Thankfully, Eden Organics and Vital Choice Seafood do not use BPA in their can liners.

Please stop in again for more fresh, healthful and seasonal recipes to share with family and friends.  I’m looking forward to a great summer!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
White Bean Salad with Celery and Mint (and Sometimes Tuna)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried Great Northern or cannellini beans*
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 stalk celery, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 2-inch piece kombu (if you have it)**
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • Dressing:
  • ¾ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized
  • ½ teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cups chopped celery
  • 1 shallot, cut into thin half-moon slices ar ½ red onion, small dice
  • 1 ½ cups loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 7-ounces can albacore tuna packed in oil or water (optional), flaked
Instructions
  1. Rinse the beans and pick over for small stones or debris. Soak the beans in cold water overnight with a 2-inch piece of kombu.
  2. Discard the soaking liquid, and place the beans and the other ingredients for cooking them in a 6-quart pot. Add enough cold water to fill the pot half full. Bring to a boil. Simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beans are tender. Turn off the heat, add the tablespoon of kosher salt and allow to cool in the cooking liquid. Drain and discard the cooking liquid, onion, celery and kombu.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified.
  4. To make the salad, transfer the cooked beans to a serving bowl. Add the celery, sliced shallot, fresh mint and (optional tuna.) Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to blend. Serve at room temperature.
Notes
*Or you can use 6 cups drained and rinsed canned beans, approximately 3 or 4 cans.

** Kombu is a seaweed which helps tenderize the beans and make them more digestible. If you also cook the beans with the kombu, it adds alkalinity. I buy Eden kombu at Whole Foods or from amazon.com

 

white bean salad with celery and mint (and sometimes tuna)

serves 8

 

1 pound dried Great Northern or cannellini beans*

1 medium onion, quartered

1 stalk celery, quartered

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 2-inch piece kombu (if you have it)**

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

 

Dressing:

¾ cup unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar, preferably unpasteurized

½ teaspoon raw honey

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

1 ½ cups chopped celery

1 shallot, cut into thin half-moon slices ar ½ red onion, small dice

1 ½ cups loosely packed mint leaves, chopped

1 7-ounces can albacore tuna packed in oil or water (optional), flaked

  1. Rinse the beans and pick over for small stones or debris.  Soak the beans in cold water overnight with a 2-inch piece of kombu.
  2. Discard the soaking liquid, and place the beans and the other ingredients for cooking them in a 6-quart pot.  Add enough cold water to fill the pot half full.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the beans are tender.  Turn off the heat, add the tablespoon of kosher salt and allow to cool in the cooking liquid.  Drain and discard the cooking liquid, onion, celery and kombu.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified.
  4. To make the salad, transfer the cooked beans to a serving bowl.  Add the celery, sliced shallot, fresh mint and (optional tuna.)  Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to blend.  Serve at room temperature.

 

*Or you can use 6 cups drained and rinsed canned beans, approximately 3 or 4 cans.

** Kombu is a seaweed which helps tenderize the beans and make them more digestible.  If you also cook the beans with the kombu, it adds alkalinity.  I buy Eden kombu at Whole Foods or from amazon.com

 

Mexican black beans from scratch recipe

Mexican Black Beans | Pamela Salzman

Mexican Black Beans | Pamela Salzman

When I am coming up with a menu for entertaining mixed company, e.g. kids and adults or carnivores and vegans, I steer most often towards Mexican food.  It is always a crowd pleaser, easy to prepare and I can very often employ a topping bar of sorts.  It is no surprise to me that my Mexican-themed cooking classes are my most popular of the year.  I always teach them in April so that my students have some fun, healthful recipes to use for Cinco de Mayo (May 5th.)   You know I am a sucker for themed family dinners on “holidays.”  That and I just don’t enjoy taking the kids to crowded, greasy Mexican restaurants on one of the busiest and most inebriated nights of the year for something I can easily make at home.

Black Beans

These versatile black beans are a staple in our house all year long.  They’re close to Frijoles Refritos, meaning “well-cooked beans” (as opposed to “twice-cooked beans,” which is what I thought it meant for years.)  But I’m not frying anything in lard or vegetable oil, instead cooking the beans with some onion, garlic, jalapeno and cilantro for great flavor.   We eat them simply over rice, wrapped in a burrito, as a side with fajitas or tacos, or with huevos rancheros.  Daughter #1 and her friends like to toast corn tortillas over the gas flame on the stove (they’re 14 years-old) and eat the beans like a dip.  They are a must with any Mexican meal.  The good news is that I can tell you how to easily make them from scratch (soaking dried beans) or from a can.  Even though I avoid canned food like the plague, you have a great option with Eden Foods which does not use BPA in its can liners.

Mexican Black Beans | Pamela Salzman

Beans are an incredible source of low-fat protein and fiber, especially soluble fiber which has been shown to help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.  Black, red and pinto beans are crazy high in anti-oxidants, too.   Another bonus is that they are rather inexpensive, especially if you buy them dried and cook them yourself.  1 pound of dried beans might cost you about $1.00.  One pound dried equates to approximately 3 15-ounce cans of black beans at about $2.19 per can for Eden Organic in my natural foods store (other brands are much less, but you’re also getting that pesky BPA.)  You can also buy the cans by the case from Amazon and save some money (12 cans for $16.60 at the time of this post.)  Making beans from scratch is as easy as boiling water, but you need to plan at least 6 hours in advance to soak them and an hour and a half to cook them.  Or just make a ton over the weekend and freeze them.  Love that!

Over the next week and a half, I’ll be posting some of my favorite Mexican-inspired dishes to wow your family and friends without letting your healthful eating take a siesta!

Mexican Black Beans | Pamela Salzman

5.0 from 4 reviews
Mexican Black Beans
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried black beans (aka turtle beans), picked over for stones or foreign objects, and rinsed*
  • 1 (2- to 3-inch) piece kombu**(optional)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons unrefined, cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chile, minced (take the seeds out if you want to cut the heat)
  • 1 Tablespoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the beans and the kombu in a large glass bowl or pot. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by at least 3 inches. Let stand overnight or at least 6 hours. (If the weather is warm, put the beans in the refrigerator to soak.)
  2. Drain and rinse the beans, reserving the kombu. Place the beans and kombu in a large, heavy pot with enough water to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming the foam that rises to the top. Lower the heat to low and simmer gently, covered, for 1 hour.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté gently until tender, about 10 minutes. You can cover the skillet with a lid to soften the onions and garlic without allowing them to brown. Add the jalapeno and cook 1 minute, until tender.
  4. Remove the kombu from the beans and discard. Add the sautéed onion mixture, sea salt and cilantro to the beans and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, or until very tender.
  5. Drain the beans and reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid. Pour 1 cup of liquid back into the beans and mash the beans with the back of a spoon until you have the desired consistency. Add more liquid, if necessary. Taste for seasoning and squeeze some fresh lime juice on top, if desired.
Notes
*Or you can use 3 15-ounce cans of cooked black beans, undrained. Follow along here:

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a medium saucepan until softened.
Add jalapeno and cook for 1 minute.
Add beans and liquid from the can (usually about ⅓ cup liquid per can) plus 2-3 teaspoons sea salt, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
You can serve the beans as is or I like to mash them up a bit so they’re nice and creamy. Squeeze a little lime on top if you like.
**Kombu is a sea vegetable which helps tenderize the beans and improves their digestibility. It is also rich in many vitamins and minerals.