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Unfried Black Beans (+ a Tostada recipe!)

This is a two-in-one recipe post! The main recipe is for 'unfried' black beans, cooked on the stovetop, and then the second recipe is for Black Bean Tostadas. Both recipes are oil-free, vegan, gluten-free and delicious.

Last night I had to get home from work in time to pick up the dogs from the vet, where they were having their teeth cleaned. I then got to spend the evening hanging out with two completed stoned creatures. I also nearly dislocated my shoulder when Buffalo attempted to jump into the back of the car and got his entire body in the air before he realized he hadn't considered how to stick his landing. I had to catch a 70lb uncoordinated dog midair and then shove him into the car. Envision the lift from Dirty Dancing going horribly, horribly wrong with a lot more squealing from both parties and you've got a pretty good mental picture of what we looked like. However, monitoring the stoned dogs meant I worked from home for a few hours, which inevitably meant I ended up playing in the kitchen. This recipe isn't the quickest, but the amount of hands on prep-time is very low. You can also adjust how long the cook time takes by adjusting the amount of liquid you use. Read on to see how to make your own restaurant-style 'unfried' black beans!


What you need:

  • One cup of dry black beans, rehydrated in a pressure cooker (or two cans of black beans)

  • Two cups of water

  • 1/2 a medium onion, finely diced

  • Three garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or 2 tablespoons dried cilantro

  • 1 tsp Chili Powder

  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne (eliminate this if you're heat-averse)

  • Salt to taste (I used a 1/2 tbsp, but use as much as tastes right to you)

Directions (For Black Beans):

  • Drain your beans, and put them to one side

  • In a saucepan, saute the onion and garlic until translucent

  • Pre-mix your seasoning (chili powder, black pepper, cayenne, salt)

  • Add the beans, water, and cilantro to the pot

  • Leave this to simmer on medium/low heat for at least 20 minutes

  • After 20 minutes, take a fork or a potato masher and start slowly mashing the beans (OR if your mother knows you really well and buys you quirky presents like mine does, use your tiny guacamole masher!) As they boil more they will get more tender.

  • Continue doing this until the beans hit a consistency you want. I have left them for up to two hours before and ended up with really thick, flavorful, pasty black beans. Conversely if you're looking for more of a soup, you can pull them off immediately.

  • **If you're in a big rush just lower the amount of water from two cups to one, and after about 20-30 minutes they should be ready to serve!

So that's your recipe for oil-free, healthy 'unfried' black beans. There are so many options for how to eat them, including straight out of the pan...but if you want to class it up a little, continue reading!


Unfried Bean Tostadas

Last night I made the unfried black beans for the explicit purpose of making tostadas. I LOVE tostadas, but not the greasy, soggy kind--I like the really crisp, dense kind that can be hard to find in vegan form, especially since most restaurants seem to think the main ingredients should be cheese and sour cream. I have a feeling this version of tostada will be sneaking in to my regular recipe rotation because they're really not that hard to make and they are surprisingly fillling. The recipe below makes six tostadas. The beans were the main ingredients, but I also used:


  • Turn on your broiler to 500 degrees

  • Layer your tortillas on baking sheets so they don't overlap

  • Put your tortillas under the broiler, checking every minute or so that they don't stick, for about 4 minutes, or until you see the sides start to flip up

  • Take the tortillas out of the oven, and flip them over

  • On the flipped over side, layer your ingredients, starting by spreading the avocado as a bottom layer. My layers were: avocado, spinach, beans, pepperjack

  • Put these back in the oven for another 3-4 minutes, watching to ensure there is no burning

  • Pull out of the oven, garnish with cilantro, and allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve!

I have another way of making 'unfried' beans that I'll be sharing soon--but in the meantime, hopefully this gets you experimenting with some Mexican dishes you haven't had in awhile.

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