Featured in almost every Nicoyan meal, black beans contain high levels of anthocyanins, the important flavonoids in red onions and blueberries, and have 10 times the antioxidants of an equivalent serving of oranges. These hearty, one-pot meals are staples in Costa Rican kitchens, but should also find their place on the American dinner table. They are easy to make, high in nutritious vegetables and spices, and cost less than $1 a serving. Rich and hearty, they will serve as a main meal paired with corn tortillas or rice. You can do as the Nicoyans do – make a large batch of bean soup and then enjoy it all week.
1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight (or three 15-ounce cans, drained)
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 chayote squash, diced
1⁄2 carrot, peeled and diced
3 red, orange, or yellow sweet peppers, seeded and diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons chopped culantro coyote
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced Salt and pepper (optional)
If using dried beans, drain and rinse the beans; discard the soak- ing water.
Place beans in a large pot and add vegetable broth. Add water, as necessary, to cover beans. Bring broth to a boil; then imme- diately turn down to simmer. Cook for 25 minutes.
Stir in the rest of ingredients; cook for about 25 more minutes, or until beans are tender, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.
Add salt and pepper to taste before serving. Enjoy alone or with tortillas or rice.
The Blue Zones Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. The Blue Zones’ food tradition is going the way of the dodo bird, thanks to the encroachment of the American Food Culture.Learn More