INSPIRATION BEHIND THIS RECIPE
As a child, my favorite meal EVER was my grandmother’s version of Bandeja Paisa, which is a traditional dish in Colombia, but more so in the Antioquia region of the country. Traditional Bandeja Paisa consists of rice, red beans, avocado, sweet plantains, and an assortment of different kinds of animal meat. As my family transitioned into a vegetarian household in my early childhood, my grandmother would always make a meat-less version of Bandeja Paisa, which was simply the most delicious thing in the world for me.
What makes this dish so good? I do think it has to do with the combination of flavors (rice, beans, sweet plantains, and avocado), but it’s also so much about the fact that the beans are cooked with flavorful, fresh, and plant-based ingredients. I emphasize on the flavor of the beans because after leaving Colombia to live in the U.S., there have been very few times where I’ve been able to find flavorful beans when eating out. It may have something to do with the inherent flavor that latina moms and grandmothers add to anything they cook, but regardless, I think anything can be learned! I watched my mom and grandmother cook beans endless times growing up, and yet, it wasn’t until I lived on my own and began cooking for myself, that I actually learned how to make home-made flavorful beans.
And so, with this recipe I want to show you how to make a delicious batch of Colombian beans that should not take you more than 40 minutes to make! Even though the type of beans more commonly used in Colombia are red beans, I’ve found that they’re difficult to find here in the U.S., and so I will be using a more accesible kind of beans: pinto beans. And in order to make this recipe a ‘quick version’ of Colombian beans, I’ll be using canned pinto beans, which accommodates to anyone who has a busy life and may not have the time to wait for beans to cook from scratch.
WHY EAT BEANS?
Beans are an extremely nutritious food. In terms of nutrition, beans are a wonderful plant-based source of PROTEIN, FIBER, VITAMINS and MINERALS, and are also naturally low in saturated fat. If you’re looking to transition into a whole-food, plant-based diet, eating beans on a regular basis will be one of the best ways for you to add protein into your diet. A wonderful advantage that beans have is that they’re affordable in any form you buy them, specially when you buy them in bulk.
CANNED VS. COOKED BEANS
It’s not a lie when people say that dry beans can take hours to cook. As someone who tried to cook beans often while being a full-time college student, and later working full-time, I know how frustrating it can be to not have enough time to cook things from scratch. While part of that issue can be solved by preparing beans from scratch on a Sunday and then store them in the fridge or freezer for the week, I think it’s also extremely helpful to simply use pre-cooked beans (canned beans) whenever you’re tight on time. Research has shown that beans, regardless of type or form, are very rich in nutrients, and although canned beans can be high in sodium, this is easy to solve by making sure to drain and rinse your canned beans well before using them. An even better solution to avoiding the high sodium content in canned beans is to only buy the ‘no salt added’ kind.
Inspired by my family’s way of cooking red beans back home in Colombia, I’m sharing with you today my quick and easy way of preparing flavorful beans at home! All ingredients are plant-based and fresh, aside from the canned beans and diced tomatoes in order to make the recipe time-friendly. I recommend serving the beans with quinoa or rice, as well as with some fresh avocado.
Hope you love it & let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
Colombian Beans Recipe (quick & easy version) ❁ plant-based | vegan | gluten free
Inspired by my family's way of cooking red beans back home in Colombia, this heart-warming recipe will give you a taste of how flavorful beans can be! It's high in protein, fiber, non-heme iron, and B vitamins. I LOVE serving them with quinoa and avocado on the side!
- Olive oil
- 2 Garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 medium Onion (yellow or white) peeled and finely diced
- 1 can Diced tomatoes ('no salt added') drain the juice it comes with and dice finely
- 1 handful (about 1/4 cup) Fresh cilantro minced
- 1 Red bell pepper washed, remove the head & the inside/seeds, and dice
- 1 1/2 cups Vegetable broth ('low in sodium')
- 3 cans (15 oz each) Pinto beans ('no salt added') drained and rinsed
- 1 medium Sweet plantain peeled and cut into small pieces
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Ground turmeric
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1 tbsp Organic light brown sugar
Prepare all the ingredients listed above following the instructions for each! It's much easier if you have everything ready!
Using a blender, blend the vegetable broth and the red bell pepper on high until liquified. Set aside.
Using a medium size pot, pour a bit of olive oil and set to medium heat. Sauté the minced garlic and diced onion, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the diced tomatoes and continue sautéing for 2 more minutes. Add the seasonings (except for the brown sugar) and stir well.
Pour the broth and red pepper liquid you had blended into the pot, add the cilantro, and increase the temperature to high heat (uncovered) UNTIL it starts to boil. While you wait for it to start boiling follow the next step!
Using a small skillet with a bit of olive oil, sauté the sweet plantain pieces on high heat for a couple of minutes, making sure to stir often. They should be ready once they look golden and slightly brown. Turn of the heat and add the plantains to the pot with the beans who should have just started to boil.
Add the brown sugar, stir well and cover the pot with lid. Set heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let it sit uncovered for at least 5 minutes before serving! Once cooled at room temperature, you can store in sealed containers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days!