Black Bean, Corn and Sun Dried Tomato Stew

A fusion of Central and South American, Caribbean (notice the word BEAN is in the word Caribbean!) and Mediterranean cuisines, this super-simple, quick and easy, hearty, vegetarian (actually vegan) and gluten free stew is the perfect antidote to a cold winter day. Feel free to either cook your own beans from dry, or open a can…and make your own veggie stock, or open a box or can of that too. Take it easy and take care of yourself on days like these…every day for that matter.

Black beans are bursting with nutrients. A six ounce portion of simple boiled beans contains 15 grams protein, 0 sugar, only 1 gram of fat (0 grams saturated fat) and 41 grams of carbs, but 15 grams of the carbs are fiber. WOW. The corn on the other hand has 3 times the carbs (a whopping 123 grams), less fiber (12 grams) and 8 grams of fat (1 gram is saturated fat) for the same size serving so we suggest you make this dish with a lot more beans than corn.

Another suggestion is to serve this stew with brown rice on the side. The combination of beans and rice is a nutritional winner…a “complete protein” used by many cultures around the world as their ‘center-of-the-plate’ go-to item. We recommend brown rice as we always recommend whole foods before refined ones. Quinoa is an excellent accompaniment to this stew and is also, as rice is, gluten free. The economics look like this: rice is the cheaper component of the meal. Beans are a low-glycemic-index food that makes a person feel full, so they eat less of other things. Beans, in addition to being full of fiber, contain potassium, folate, iron, manganese and magnesium, and they are cholesterol-free and fat-free. They’re a superfood. But people in the poorer countries…understandably…tend to bulk up a bit on rice, as beans cost a bit more. So this complete protein also needs balance…use much more beans than rice if you serve rice on the side with this recipe. You’ll need fruits and vegetables for other vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients so add greens and any other vegetables at will, being the creative home chef that you are. The lesson here is, YES…eat beans and rice (and a teeny bit of corn), along with generous helpings of fresh fruit and vegetables. Keep warm, mangia bene every Meatless Monday and buon appetito!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked (or 1 15 oz can) black beans
  • ¼ cup corn kernels fresh cut off the cob, or frozen
  • 1 quart vegetable stock, reduced in half to one pint
  • 1 8.5 ounce jar Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Italian Herbs
  • 1 large carrot, 2 ribs of celery, ½ small yellow onion and 3 garlic cloves, all minced finely
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, membrane removed and sliced into long slices
  • 4 sage leaves minced fine, plus more for garnish
  • ½ tsp each chili powder and cumin
  • 1 or more dried red (cayenne or other) chiles
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Combine all of the ingredients except the bell pepper and sage, put into a pot and bring to a boil over a high flame.
  • Turn to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Add the sage and bell pepper and simmer 3-5 more minutes.
  • Remove any dried chiles you used.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  • Garnish with sage leaves and serve HOT.