Spicy black beans for taco nights

How is your summer going so far?  It's busy around here but at the same time, things have certainly quieted down a bit.  The days are longer and we can go about it at a more leisurely pace without the usual school-year obligations.  We've been taking advantage of the good weather (before the mosquitos come out in force) to grill and eat outdoors, and to take day trips (we recently took a drive out to Brooklyn just for ice cream sundaes).  Everything takes on a more energetic vibe in the summer. 
While my son's at camp in the mornings, I have time to tinker in the kitchen - making muffins, churning ice cream, baking cookies, and prepping easy dinners.  On the weekends, we're still enjoying things like cinnamon rolls and Dutch baby pancakes for breakfast.  It's a time for easy favorites and I find myself a little less focused on experiments when it comes to baking during the summer.  But it's always lovely to pop in here and I thought I'd say hello and drop off this little recipe for spicy black beans for the next time you're having taco night.

A few years ago, we started having occasional taco nights (it's never on a Tuesday though) and they are always fun!  It must be the combination of hands-on eating, the colorful food, and the variety or customization, that make it a great family meal. There may be a bit of prep to get all the fixings on the table but I like to take advantage of some store-bought ingredients like rotisserie chicken and pre-shredded cabbage to make an easier time of it.  We vary the main protein - in the instance pictured here, we were having chicken and I also seared some fish (because fish tacos may be the favorite for my husband and me) - and we usually have the basic lineup of toppings like avocado, salsa, and cheese.  Incidentally, I love hummus as a base for soft tacos.
I often just pop open a can of black beans for taco night but sometimes I take an extra step and make this easy dish of spicy black beans.  Onions, garlic, jalapeño pepper, and some spices are cooked down with canned black beans and a little water. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to make and you have a great dish of spicy black beans for your next taco night or the next time you're having Mexican food at home. I like how the beans soften after cooking and you have all the added flavor with a little spice.  It's something I also like to eat all on its own or to dish into my grain bowls for weeknight meals.
This post reminds me it's time for a taco night soon.  It's a great casual and fun meal for the summer when you're not out there grilling and chilling.  

For these spicy black beans, adjust the seasoning to your liking.  I tend to use cumin sparingly so I go light on that but added some chili powder to make up for it.  If you really love cumin, use the full teaspoon cited in the original recipe. I also add a little extra water and cook the mixture for a slightly shorter amount of time so that the beans don't break down too much.  You can certainly adjust the amount of liquid and the timing to make it the consistency you prefer; just check on the beans as they cook.  

Recipe:

Spicy Black Beans
Adapted from Laura in the Kitchen

- Approximately 6 servings - 

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chili, seeded and minced 
1 (32-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Few turns of freshly ground black pepper
About 3/4 cup water

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, and jalapeño.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened and translucent, about 5-6 minutes.  

Add beans, cumin, chili powder, salt, and black pepper to the pan.  Stir in about 3/4 cup water.  Cover and cook on medium-low heat until the beans have softened and the liquid has become a slightly thickened sauce, about 6-8 minutes (check on the beans and give it a stir after a few minutes to check the consistency).  




28 comments:

  1. I will have to try these spicy black beans. I love serving them but often wish there was a little more flavor - so you fixed that problem for me! Thanks for sharing this lovely idea. It's the perfect family meal and I love how interactive it can be. Sounds like you're having a wonderful summer but don't blink ... it will be over before you know it!

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    1. It's not much work and it gives the beans a nice softened texture and a whole lot more flavor. It's great eaten on its own, too.
      The weather has been a beauty here this week...hope it's the same for you. And you are so right about not blinking! Each year, it goes a little quicker!

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  2. This reminds me fried black beans I had some time ago. Since I am a legume lover, this is a must try for me. Thanks for sharing, Monica.

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    1. Yes, so many ways to enjoy this so worth it to make a batch. It's a nice healthy way to liven up canned beans.

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  3. Hi Monica, love the way you spiced up these beans, they look delicious. So funny we have taco nights too but hardly ever on a Tuesday. I used to love the summer breaks with my kids, now there having their own;)

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    1. We reserve taco nights for weekends when we have more time. It's fun because we make a mess and eat with our hands. : ) Times do change, no way getting around that...I hope you and your kids all enjoy the summer. It'll go fast, as Tricia says!

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  4. Hello Monica! Your husband is SO lucky. This is not a dîner but a feast. My goodness, now I'm dying to have tacos -
    Mexican food at home is a great idea. Have a great weekend ahead :)

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    1. There are a lot of little elements to get together for taco night but it's fun and casual. We are definitely looking forward to the weekend. Hope you have a great one.

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  5. I have been gravitating toward old favorites this summer when it comes to cooking! There's just something about them ... maybe it's just the lazy vibes this time of the year!

    Anyway, loving these spicy black beans! We love taco night at our house!

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    1. It's just so busy in the summer but we get into a more relaxed rhythm eventually. Have a great weekend coming up!

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  6. My son has 1 more day of school (yay!) and then I'm definitely looking forward to some less structured days ahead :) Taco nights are our favorite and these spicy black beans sound like the perfect addiction! Love your spread - wishing I could come over for dinner :)

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    1. It's nice not to have homework and all that for a couple of months. : ) Mexican night is really fun and I know we would have a fun time at the dinner table together, Kelly! You enjoy the little ones this summer, as always. : )

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  7. Taco night is the best! These black beans sound very delicious! Bryan loves black beans. I think he would love these flavors. :)

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    1. Taco nights are so fun and hands on. : ) Hope you have a great July 4th long weekend!

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  8. Summers are the best, so calm and so quiet. Looks like you are enjoying your time my dear. We've been off for couple of weeks now and I couldnt be happier.
    Your taco night sounds wonderful, seriously the best way to enjoy food. Put out everything and build your own. Love love it. Enjoy my dear.
    xx

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    1. Trying hard to enjoy the calm of no school agenda or homework. : ) Gotta try to enjoy every moment and season. Family style eating is wonderful and hands on is always fun. Hope you are having a great summer so far!

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  9. We love tacos nights at our house! And you've reminded me it's been weeks since we've had any,...shame on us! Love your spicy black beans. Good stuff!Have a great weekend!

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    1. Yes, time for a taco night! Thanks and you have a great weekend as well!

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  10. Such a fabulous idea, Monica! I am going to save your recipe and make it soon! Looks so good:)

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    1. It's a simple way to jazz up that can of black beans. : )

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  11. I'd love to try these beans. What a great addition to taco night!

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    1. Hope you have a fun taco night soon, Beth. ; )

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  12. I love a bowl of spicy black beans like that, so delicious. More importantly, when am I coming round for taco night because yours looks incredible!!

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    1. haha - thanks, Caroline. Hope there's a fun hands-on taco night dinner in your future soon.

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  13. Taco night sounds like a great idea! We have our pizza night for once in a while, eating homemade pizza and watching a film together afterward (mostly Harry Potter :) ). We should try tacos sometime, I am sure the kids would love them!

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    1. Pizza and movie night at home sounds great. Sometimes, I put out a picnic blanket in the living room and we eat in front of a movie...very relaxing. : )

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  14. Love spicy food like anything and these black bean tacos look so inviting. Taco nights are awesome, and I am absoluelty loving your beautiful spread. Can't wait to try.

    Anu
    https://www.mygingergarlickitchen.com/

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