Spicy Black Bean Stew

I’m sure there is no need to point out the obvious, but it is cold outside. Blisteringly cold. Oh, the joys of a New York winter. I, as I’m sure many of you are, am feeling pretty heavy and lethargic after the Holidays — and the cold weather outside isn’t helping matters. But if you are trying to start your New Year on a lighter note, this Spicy Vegan Black Bean Stew is my warming midwinter comfort food go to — try saying that three times in a row 🙂 Simple. Warm. Light, yet filling. Delicious! Serve over cilantro brown rice, or with a chunk of crusty sourdough bread. Enjoy! And stay warm.

Spicy Black Bean Stew
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1.5 cups dried black beans, rinsed, soaked overnight or 2 (15 oz) cans black beans
1 tsp salt
1 tbs + ¼ tsp cumin, divided
1 bay leaf
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3 medium carrots, washed, peeled, cut into thin slices
3 stalks celery, washed, cut into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup filtered water
salt and pepper to taste
1 bundle fresh cilantro (chop only what is needed right before serving)
avocado slices (for garnish, optional, although pairs nicely with spiciness of stew)

Method:
1) Rinse soaked beans, combine with enough water to cover by 3 inches, then add salt, ¼ tsp of the cumin, and bay leaf in 1-gallon pot, bring to a boil, simmer for 35 minutes (beans should still have a slight bite at this point, as they will continue cooking in the stew). Drain beans, set aside
2) Heat olive oil in a 1-gallon pot, once shimmering, add onions, carrots, and celery and sweat until onions are translucent (approx. 5 minutes). Add garlic, remaining 1tbs cumin, chili powder, cayenne and continue to cook (approx. 3 minutes)
3) Add tomatoes, water, and beans to the pot, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender
4) Season with salt and pepper to taste
5) Garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced avocado

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