Brenda’s Maple-Ginger Red Beans

Brenda Langton had been cooking Blue Zones foods 30 years before I found the first Blue Zone. Her Minneapolis restaurant, Spoonriver, is my go-to lunch haunt— one of those few restaurants where you can’t get an unhealthy or so-so meal. Everything tastes fantastic! As for this recipe we’ve adapted from The Spoonriver Cookbook: Better than any baked beans, these red beans are sweet and savory.

Servings:
4 to 6
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Brenda’s Maple-Ginger Red Beans Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup dried small red beans
1⁄2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Soak dried beans in a large bowl of water at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander set in the sink.
Put the beans and 3 cups of water in a large pot.
Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.
Drain in that colander.
Return the beans to the pot; set it over medium heat.
Stir in the broth, maple syrup, ginger, soy sauce, and salt.
Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for a couple of minutes longer until slightly thickened before serving.

Tip: Use small red beans, not red kidney beans.

Tip: If you want to add some diced carrots, onions, and celery, cook 1⁄2 cup of each in a tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, then add to the beans with the broth.

Tip: You can also use 2 1⁄2 cups drained and rinsed canned beans or precooked beans; simply skip steps 1 and 2 and add them in step 3 with the other ingredients.

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