Here are a couple of recipes that use my favorite variety: the gorgeous little black bean. Maybe it’s because my father used to make a great black bean sauce when I was younger (I can still just about taste it now), but whatever the reason, I’m a big fan of black beans. Here are some ideas to get you acquainted with them. Caribbean Spicy Black Bean Salad serves 4 Spicy Dressing 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper 1/4 tsp. ground allspice 1/4 tsp. cumin powder 1/4 tsp. dried oregano 1/4 cup cold-pressed olive oil 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 1 Tbsp. sweetener Salad 4 cups cooked black beans 1 large bunch watercress, chopped 1 cup red & yellow bell pepper, diced 2 cups corn kernels (optional) 6 cups (loosely packed) baby greens 2 scallions, thinly sliced 1.In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. 2.Drain and rinse beans. 3.In large bowl, toss beans, watercress, peppers and corn with 1/4 cup of dressing. 4.Arrange greens on four serving plates. Top each with bean mixture and drizzle with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with scallions.…… Cuban Black Bean Salad/Dip serves 2 2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup red onion, diced 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1/4 tsp. cumin powder 3 Tbsp. vinegar 3 Tbsp. olive oil 1/4 tsp. sea salt 1/8 tsp. red pepper 1.Place beans, bell pepper, onion and cilantro in a salad bowl. 2.Stir together cumin powder, vinegar and oil in a cup. Pour over bean mixture and gently stir, coating evenly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. •Variation ~ In a food processor, using the “S” shaped blade, place all above ingredients along with three chopped garlic cloves and one tablespoon lime juice. Process until creamy to make a dip. Chill before serving. Homemade Chili Yields 1 medium to large sized potBean Salsa in Radicchio Leaves 1 2/3 cup dry beans (pinto, red or kidney) soaked overnight 5 cloves garlic, diced 1 large onion, diced 1 bell pepper, diced 1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste 1 (12 oz.) can tomato sauce 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped jalapeño peppers, diced, to taste 1 cup bean stock (see step 1) 1 Tbsp. sweetener 1 Tbsp. tamari or substitute 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 1 Tbsp. cumin powder 1 Tbsp. vegetable bouillon 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder (or to taste) 1/4 tsp. sea salt garlic & onion powder, to taste 2 cups ground tempeh or seitan (Optional, but recommended. You can also use texturized vegetable protein – TVP. If using TVP, simmer with 2-3 cups of boiling water until all the water is absorbed.) 1. Rinse soaked beans, then cook for one hour before beginning chili preparation. Drain beans and set aside one cup of liquid. 2. In a separate pot, sauté garlic, onion and pepper. When cooked, add tomato paste, tomato sauce and all other ingredients except tempeh/seitan, beans and bean stock. Continue simmering. 3. Add tempeh/seitan to the chili pot. Stir frequently. When beans are cooked thoroughly, add them to the pot with one cup of the bean stock. Simmer for another half an hour. 4. Serve in taco shells, over rice or with corn bread. Bean Salsa in Radicchio Leaves Yields 5 cups 3 cups cooked pinto beans 1 red onion, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 cup corn kernels 2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced 2 avocados, cubed 1/3 cup cilantro, minced 1/2 cup tomato sauce 1 Tbsp. vinegar 1 tsp. sea salt (or to taste) radicchio leaves (or romaine, kale, chard) 1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except leaves and avocados. Set aside to marinate for two hours at room temperature. 2. Place 1/4 cup of bean salsa into each leaf using a slotted spoon. 3. Garnish with avocado and serve. •Variation ~ Toss Bean Salsa with hot or cold pasta. Lastly, a couple of easy recipes that you can whip up in the food processor. Italian White Bean Topping serves 4 4 cups cooked great northern beans or navy beans 1/4 cup water/stock (or tomato sauce) 1/4 cup olive oil 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 3 cloves garlic, diced 1/2 tsp. basil 1/2 tsp. oregano 2 tsp. onion powder 1/2 tsp. sea salt 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped 2 scallions, chopped 1. Combine beans, water/stock, oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, and spices in the food processor. Process until creamy-smooth, adding more liquid to reach desired consistency. 2. Transfer to a bowl. Top with parsley and scallions. Serve at room temperature.… Bean Dip 5–6 servings 2 2/3 cup cooked pinto beans 3 Tbsp. tamari or substitute 2/3 cup tomato paste 2 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. onion powder 1 tsp. cumin powder 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar jalapeños, diced, to taste (optional) In a food processor, using the “S” shaped blade, blend all ingredients. Chill. Gentle World is a non-profit educational organization, whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making such a transition. Visit www.GentleWorld.org for more information.