Black turtle beans. Photo by Sanjay Acharya.

Black turtle beans. Photo by Sanjay Acharya.

While beans may not be a fruit, nutritionally speaking, they are definitely magical. High in protein, fiber and other nutrients, beans are considered to be part of both the protein food group and vegetable food group. Because of these facts, beans are an excellent vegetarian alternative for meat. While protein needs vary with gender, age and physical activity, most adults need anywhere from five to six and a half ounces of protein per day. Half a cup of cooked black beans is the same as two ounces of meat protein. Not only are black beans diverse in nutrients, but also in their culinary use. Ranging from appetizers to entrees to desserts, black beans can make almost any dish nutritious.

Black Bean Hummus

Typically hummus is made with garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas. While traditional hummus is flavored to taste with ingredients such as garlic, red peppers, or other spices, this twist on the dish is more like a Mexican bean dip. Just like traditional hummus, black bean hummus can be served with pita, chips, or even vegetables.

Servings: 2-3


1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic


Combine black beans, olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, salt, cumin, onion powder, chili powder and minced garlic into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Spread into a flat dish, creating grooves on the top with spoon.

Let rest about 10 minutes then drizzle olive oil into groves.

Best Ever Black Bean Burgers

Not only does this meatless burger have hearty black beans in it, but it also has quinoa for even more of a protein boost.  The variety of spices that go into this delectable burger give it an extra kick and make it more flavorful than any meat patty you’ve ever had

Servings: 12-14


1- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 c. cooked quinoa, (1 c. raw + 2 c. water + 1/2 tsp sea salt + 5 cloves garlic, minced)

2 Tbsp. olive or grapeseed oil

1 shallot, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1/4 tsp. whole cumin seeds

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. sea salt (for veggies)

1/4 tsp. smoked sea salt (for beans)

1/2-1 c. panko bread crumbs

1 c. cilantro leaves, loosely packed


Begin by sautéing the bell pepper, cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, and shallot in 1/2 Tbsp of oil for a few minutes. Then add the garlic and sea salt. Sauté for a minute or two more. Turn off heat and set aside.

Next, in a food processor, add the beans, cooled veggies, paprika and smoked salt. Pulse until just combined.

Then add the cooked quinoa and cilantro, again pulse until combined.

Hand form into palm-sized burger patties.

Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes. Remove from fridge, let cool for 5 minutes. Next coat each side in panko bread crumbs, being sure to push down to adhere the breadcrumbs to the burger.

Pan fry in remaining oil for 3 minutes on each side.

Enjoy like a burger.

Amazing Flourless Brownies

Brownies have never been the healthiest treat, but why not relieve some of that guilt?  Indulge in this classic dessert by adding some protein to the mix. Aside from providing you with four grams of protein, these brownies are flourless for those who are gluten-free.  When it comes down to enjoying a chocolatey dessert, this is about as healthy as you can get!

Servings: 16


1 (14 oz) canned low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained

2 large eggs

1/2 c. cocoa powder

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. oil

1 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk (or dairy, skim)

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. of freshly ground coffee or instant coffee

1 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a nonstick 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides.

Blend the black beans, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, oil, almond milk, balsamic, baking soda, baking powder and coffee in the blender until smooth and pour into a bowl. Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips until combined.  Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownies.

Bake the brownies until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes.  Allow the brownies to cool completely before slicing them into squares.





About The Author

Leila Shinn

Hi, I’m Leila! Yes, like the Eric Clapton song, but spelled wrong. I am a junior studying to become a dietitian. Until the day that I can afford to drop everything and finally relax and travel the world, I try to get involved in as much as I can. I also work as a research assistant, facility assistant, and a cooking instructor. I am obsessed with Hello Kitty and cartoons.  

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