Recipe: Black Bean Chili/ Protein 101


This is a recipe that was recommended to me over a year ago by my cousin Sari. It is from the TASTE cookbook that was distributed by the Yeshivah of Flatbush a few years ago. This is a definite crowd pleaser! Served with brown rice, this meal makes for a complete protein.

A few changes family and I have made to the recipe: add water to thin out the chili (about 1/2 cup should do). You can also add fresh garlic (2-3 cloves should do).

Recipe: Black Bean Chili (Taste Cookbook)


2 cans Goya black beans, not drained

1 onion, chopped finely

1/2 red pepper, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 orange/yellow pepper, chopped

1 can tomato paste (I use Muir Glen Organic)

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. hot sauce

dash of red pepper flakes

1/2 cup water (optional addition, not part of original recipe)

2-3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional addition, not part of original recipe)

1. Saute onions and peppers until tender (garlic, if using).
2. Add beans and tomato paste, stir.
3.  Add remaining ingredients.
4. Cover, and cook over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Proteins 101:

Proteins are made up of amino acids, 9 of which are essential amino acids. They are considered essential because our bodies cannot make them. Our bodies need protein for growth and for tissue/muscle repair.

Animal proteins like fish, eggs, meat, poultry, milk etc. are usually referred to as complete proteins or high-quality proteins in the sense that they contain all of the essential amino acids in the correct  proportions.

Plant-based proteins like beans, whole grains, and vegetables are considered incomplete proteins because each is lacking certain proportions of certain amino acids. However, whole grain rice and beans, complement each other because each contain the amino acids that the other is lacking, together making up a complete protein. They are therefore referred to as complementary proteins. Complementary proteins do not need to be eaten  in the same meal in order to get complete protein benefits. As long as they are eaten over the same day, the body can use the amino acids effectively.

Much of the more current scientific research is encouraging people to consume less animal-based proteins and more  plant-based proteins. This is a lesson for another day! For now, you have a new vegetarian recipe to add to your weekly rotation!

Side NoteQuinoa is unique in that it is plant-based, but also a complete protein. You might also like to know that Quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain! Soybeans are also a  plant-based complete protein, but I do not recommend eating soy foods in excess, a lesson for another day!


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