Black beans are what I call functional foods – ie a food containing natural compounds that aids specific bodily functions in addition to being nutritious.
In fact, black beans have been found to have more antioxidant activity per gram than other beans.
The main type of antioxidant compound found in black bean is anthocyanins, which is commonly associated with blueberries and grapes.
The high fibre content of black beans is also incredibly beneficial and research has suggested 63 % of the fibre content is from resistant starch. If you haven’t heard about resistant starch, it is essentially a type of fibre that cannot be digested and goes straight to the colon to feed bacteria. In other words, it provides fuel to our bacteria which is crucial for supporting gut and colon health.
If we take a closer look at black beans, a 100g serve offers:
If purchasing tinned black beans, make sure to read the ingredient list and look for a brand, which contains only black beans and water.
You can pretty much substitute black beans for any type of beans and they are also versatile and affordable!
Here are 2 ways I like to cook with and use black beans:
Black Bean, Kale and Tomato baked eggs
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, outer leaves removed and finely sliced
1 cup, finely chopped kale leaves
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped + extra for serving
1 small red chilli, diced (optional)
1 punnet cherry tomato, halved (or 400g tin diced tomatoes)
1 x 400g tin black beans, drained and rinsed
In a medium sized frying pan heat the olive oil, add leek and chilli until golden brown. Approx. 5 minutes
Add kale and allow to slightly wilt before mixing in the tomatoes and basil.
Cook for 5-10 minutes on a low heat.
Add the beans and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Let the ingredients thicken slightly, this will take 10 minutes
Make 4 wells in the mixture and using the back of a spoon break the egg over the spoon, into each gap.
Cook for 4-5 minutes with the lid on, keeping the yolk runny.
Sprinkle with basil and serve in the frying pan on the table and spoon into individual bowls.
Black Bean, Freekeh & Roasted Cauliflower Salad
1 cup freekeh, cooked
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets, roasted
1 x 400g can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 cup cooked)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 avocado, skin and pip removed, sliced
1 punnet blueberries
2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds, chopped
½ bunch basil, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups rocket leaves
2 tbsp. tahini paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
salt and pepper
To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar, mix well and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, add freekeh, cauliflower, black beans, onion, avocado, blueberries, pumpkin seeds and basil, mix well and season to taste.
In a large serving bowl, add rocket leaves to the base of a bowl. Add freekeh mixture on top of the leaves and pour over the dressing, serve.