Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Black Bean Tacos – A Meatless Meal to Save You Money and Prevent the Freshman 15

Ever try being a vegetarian? I did once. I was on the residence meal plan and the mystery meat they served was grossing me out so I made the decision to go all veggie. I lasted about 2 weeks. The good thing is I emerged from that experience realizing I didn't require a meat dish every night of the week. I also felt more energized after eating a meatless meal.

Going meatless has many benefits. One biggie is it leaves more money in your pocket because it’s usually much cheaper than preparing the same recipe using meat. These Black Bean Tacos are a perfect example. You can get a can of black beans for under a dollar rather than handing $4 over to the cashier for a pound of lean ground beef.

Meatless meals can also help prevent the freshman 15 happening to you if you're a student who has to cook your own meals. By making this recipe you'll avoid many of the extra calories and fat found in a typical meat based taco. Just remember to go easy on the cheese and use a low-fat sour cream for the topping. As an added bonus black beans are packed with nutrition and have many other health benefits.

Finally, if you are new to cooking these tacos are a great way to test your abilities in the kitchen. I hope you decide to give them a try!

Song Pairing: "There's No Other Way" by Blur...for those of you who find yourself in a cooking rut and begin to think there's no other way to prepare a meat based dish. Thankfully if you look around your kitchen and use your imagination you'll often find there is.

Black Bean Tacos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

1 can (28 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup salsa
1 tsp vegetable oil
¼ diced red onion
1 can (127 ml) green chilies (look for them in the same grocery aisle as the taco shells)
6 Taco shells, lightly toasted in oven

Topping Options
Shredded Cheese
Chopped Lettuce
Chopped Tomatoes
Sour Cream
Chopped Green onions

In a blender, combine ½ cup black beans with salsa. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onions. Cook and stir until onions begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in remaining black beans, green chilies and bean-salsa purée. Stir to coat black beans.

Spoon equal amounts of the bean mixture into the taco shells. Top with shredded cheese, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and green onions.

Volume: 3 black bean tacos for you and 3 for a friend!

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Recipe by Brent "The Kitchen Roadie" Garell who gobbled these up right after the picture was taken!

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