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Photo by David Malosh / The New York Times / Vegan coconut-ginger black beans are simmered in coconut milk with fresh ginger, then finished with lime juice for a light main dish.

Yield: 4 | Total time: 30 minutes

Why we love it: In winter we crave protein-packed bean dishes. But anyone who's attempted to make beans a main-course meal knows that perfecting the flavor can be tricky.

So how do you avoid being bland this season? Try these inspired black beans, featuring ingredients found in a number of African and Caribbean dishes — for example, Ali Slagle writes in The New York Times, Nigerian frejon and Haitian sos pwa nwa.

Featuring coconut, ginger, cumin and coriander, this stove-top dish is both fresh and robust. The coconut milk contributes a rich, velvety texture, while the lime juice provides a light and bright taste, compete with the balancing crunch of plantain chips.

Best of all, this recipe lets you skip the slow-cooker and make your beans in just 30 minutes. And it's vegan.

 

What you need:

2 (15-ounce) cans black beans

2 tablespoons coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin or coriander

1 (3-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 3 tablespoons)

1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/2 cup plantain chips or toasted coconut flakes

1 teaspoon lime zest plus 2 tablespoons juice (from 1 lime)

Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

 

What you do:

1. Rinse 1 can of black beans, and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium. Add the cumin and half of the ginger and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the rinsed black beans and the remaining whole can of black beans (including the liquid), and the coconut milk; season generously with salt and pepper.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are soft and the mixture is flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes. (If you want a thicker consistency, smash some of beans with the back of a spoon as the mixture cooks, and simmer longer.)

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, crumble the plantain chips into bite-size pieces. Add the lime zest and a few generous grinds of black pepper, and stir to combine.

4. Remove the beans from the heat. Stir in the remaining ginger and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the lime juice a little at a time until the beans taste bright but the coconut flavor is still rich. Top with the seasoned plantain chips and serve with hot sauce for more kick.

This recipe originally appeared in The New York Times.

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