Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Black Bean Dip/Spread – No Oil

I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday. My day started early today but is slowing down now. Sorry I disappeared on you yesterday. I had a nasty headache that had me down for the count. Yesterday I spent most of the day rearranging my library. While this doesn’t sound like a big task it is at our house. I have a ridiculous cookbook collection in addition to my health and nutrition books. Since I was running out of book storage room Dan put in two more bookcases for me. I needed the extra storage but it necessitated a lot of rearranging. Previously my book were stored by category but now I have one bookcase devoted to my most frequently used cookbooks, and one for health and nutrition books. Even I am a little surprised by how many books I turn to regularly for inspiration.

While I was rearranging bookcases I decided to make bean dip. The other evening night I got an email from Laura asking about sandwich fillings. That question must has stuck because the next thing you know I was soaking black beans. I haven’t made a black bean dip in ages and thought it was time.

Black beans are high in antioxidants which means they are good to use whenever you can. This dip/spread is very similar to my other bean dips. The only change I made was to use salsa instead of wet hots. I was surprised by how much salsa I needed in place of the wet hots (aka: hot crushed or pickled peppers). Here is what I made yesterday afternoon:

Black Bean Dip/Spread – No Oil
Makes 12 servings – approximately a fat ¼ cup each depending on how much cooking liquid you add


2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight (or quick soaked)
8 cups water
3 bay leaves (said to help with bean digestibility)
1 cup salsa
1 lime, zested and juiced (more if desired)
2 cups reserved bean cooking liquid (I added about 1 cup slowly until I got texture I wanted)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika (either sweet, hot or smoked)
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
black pepper, to taste


Combine soaked beans, water and bay leaves. Simmer the beans until they are tender. Reserve a couple cooks of cooking liquid and drain the rest of the liquid from the beans. Place the drained beans (bay removed) in your food processor or blender. Add the salsa, lime zest, lime juice and ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid and process. Add more cooking liquid as necessary to get the texture you like. Remember it will thicken a little when it is cold. Add the cumin, paprika, chili powder and garlic and process until well combined. Now add fresh ground black pepper to taste and refrigerate until needed.

This can be used a bean dip for crudités or pita wedges. It is also a good stand in for refried beans. I tend to use bean dips on our salad with salsa as dressing. I also like it on a veggie wrap (using collards of course) with julienned veggies.

Nutritional Information (for 1/12th of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 116.58
Calories From Fat (4%)-  5.04

Total Fat-  0.6g
Saturated Fat-  0.1g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 140.53mg
Potassium - 557.09mg
Total Carbohydrates-  21.87g
Fiber-  8.31g
Sugar - 1.44g
Protein - 7.14g


Comments this is more of a concept than a recipe. Season it any way you choose. I like dips like this because they have flavor but not added fat. When you are trying to keep your fat intake low any place you can add protein without fat is great in my opinion. That is one reason I make beans so often.

Each serving of this bean dip/spread contains approximately 70mg of calcium, 3.5mg of iron, 125mcg of folate, 150mg of phosphorus, and 60mg of magnesium.

Making a Healthy Salad:

As I have mentioned before we eat a lot of salad. In fact we have salad every day at least once. Today for lunch I made myself another salad. It occurred to me that I have a loose set of rules that I tend to incorporate with each salad that I make. I thought you might find this interesting. Here is what keep I mind when making salads:

1. Lots of dark leafy greens (baby spinach, kale, collards, beet greens). If you julienne the greens it changes the texture.

2. Healthy fats to help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (either seeds, nuts or avocado) .  Typically I add a few nuts or seeds, maybe a tablespoon, but today I was in an avocado mood which makes a salad much more decadent in my opinion.

3. Something crunchy for textural variation (cucumber slices, julienned carrots, julienned bell peppers, etc,)

4. Protein (cold baked tofu cubes, cooked beans, bean dip)

5. Low or no fat salad dressing (salsa is my favorite but nut based dressings are also good)

6. Cooked grains or starches (this is optional but does add a nice textural element to a salad and more calories if you need them)

My salad today contained baby spinach, cucumber, ½ avocado, cold cooked green beans, black bean spread, and salsa. I considered adding some cooked wheat berries or cooked sweet potatoes but decided that I had enough calories in this particular salad.

Unrelated note:

After spending the day yesterday rearranging books today I moved to magazines. What a chore this has turned out to be. I am collecting a pile to take to the doctor’s office. I hate throwing the magazines away but by dropping them at the doctor’s office I feel like I am doing something for others.

I have included pics of the newly filled bookcases. If you are interested in any of the books or DVDs and have questions let me know I am happy to answer.  Most of the books I have read more than once. There are one or two that I still need to read which is why I placed them where I would see them more often. These are book cases in my family room.

For now I need to be back to my pile of magazines. Talk to you all later.  I hope Tuesday is treating you well. ;-)


  1. Hi Ali - I'm glad you're back and feeling better. Headaches are a bummer, but at least you were able to be productive. Wow, what a wonderful collection of health and cookbooks! Very impressive.

    I had a terrible day in the kitchen yesterday; I also fired my kiln and the pottery isn't great either! Funny how that works. Did you get my comment on the panelle/polenta triangles? I don't think it showed up. Between that recipe and some bean/oat burgers, I think I'd better stick to easier dishes for awhile! Your bean dip looks great--and difficult to ruin--so I think I'll try it later.

  2. Wow - you truly do have a library! I wish I had a dedicated room for all my books, magazines, etc. What do you think about Tal Ronnen's book The Conscious Cook. I noticed it on your shelf. I have it on my list of future books to look at (I am confined by a tight budget at the moment) so am wondering how you liked it.

    I am so far loving this Eat to Live program. I am feeling great (and this is only the second day). I am sticking to all the basics right now as I begin the program, but since I love to cook so much, I hope to ease into figuring out what I can make/create on this plan. If I let myself, I would eat the same things day in and day out and that is not what I want. I can see how this might be a difficult plan for some but I am grateful that I have been vegetarian/and then vegan for more than 15 years straight, so my palate is used to a lot of vegetables and fruit. My main problem has ALWAYS been all the EXTRA that I was eating - mostly all processed junk...sure it was vegan, but that doesn't mean that my body needs that crap.

    Now that I have written a book in your comments section, I will close! Happy Tuesday!!


  3. I loved browsing your bookshelves, so fun!!I've read quite a lot of the health/nutrition books, and own quite a few of them, but haven't seen Beating Cancer with Nutrition and would love to hear about it.
    Your cookbook collection is great too, I don't have that many:) If I visited your library I might never be seen again;-)

  4. Laura,

    Sadly there are many more cookbooks and health books. I hate to admit how many cookbooks I own, because it is ridiculous. I buy 3 or 4 a month, plus get them for gifts and have done this for 30 years. You can imagine what that means, LOL.

    Sorry you had a bad day yesterday. I didn't get your comment, apparently blogger didn't send me an email but just saw it(since you prompted me to look) and posted it. I will reply soon.


  5. Lolly,

    The Conscious Cook is a pretty book with very artistic food. However, the author relies on processed products (like Gardein and Vegan spreads) more than I think is healthy. If you are looking for inspiration than I say buy it. But I can't say I would make many of his dishes as written. Does that help?

    I am happy to hear E2L is going well for you. We went from omni to E2L so the transition was tough for us. We stayed strict for 18 months until my hubby and our chef friend decided we needed to go to the dark side. But this January we decided strict E2L was back and we both feel great. Now our restaurant meals are far more infrequent. It does get easier to create food on this plan the longer you are on it.

    Happy Tuesday to you too,

  6. Janet,

    I should write a review on that book. Thanks for asking about it. It was written by a PhD in nutrition that used to be the VP of nutrition for the Cancer Treatment Center of America (assuming my memory is correct). I will try to get that review written this week.

    Sadly that is a small subset of my cookbooks. My hubby contributes to my addiction quite regularly. When I last counted them I had over 1,000 cookbooks, most of them omni. I seriously need to join Cookbooks Anonymous, LOL.

    talk to you soon,

  7. Lol, no wonder you needed more shelves!

  8. Oh I totally believe you on the hassle of cleaning up a library. I am a bookaholic and have stacks upon stacks. It's sort of sad actually. I guess there are worse addictions right?! That bean dip looks fantastic. I'm always up for a new bean dip/spread.

  9. Janet,

    I thought you would find that funny. My cookbook collection is so out of control that now it is just funny. Dan had those bookcasea up I had them filled instantly. No spare space again. *rolls eyes* But at least I read them all. LOL


  10. Heather,

    I had those same piles of books at our house. They were tall enough to be side tables, LOL. It was making cleaning up the cat hair tumbleweeds difficult. I really needed the bookcases. ;-)

    I love bean dips too. Did you know black beans had the highest level of antioxidants? I probably told you that before, LOL. Not that you need to think about it since you use black beans all the time. ;-)

    talk to you soon,

  11. Oooooh perfect, I have 1/2 a can of black beans sitting in my little student fridge waiting to be used (used the other 1/2 in a Mexicanish brown rice/bell pepper/corn dish) so i can carry on the Mexi-type theme....
    I am in awe of all your cookbooks and nutrition books! Amazing! And it made me giggle thinking of you "playing" on your Wii! Teehee.
    I'm in the middle of my university exams at the moment so have been rather absent. Taking a little revision break.
    Emma x

  12. I make a similar bean dip too! Anything with cumin and garlic is good in my book, lol :-) I will have to try your addition of the lime juice/zest--that sounds so good!

    I am curious about Techniques of Healthy Cooking (in the first photo)...is that a cookbook? Or more of a how-to book? It sounds interesting! Who is the author?

    Also, I see Clean Food in your cookbook collection. I have always wanted to look through that one! Is it good?


  13. Alicia

    oh wow!
    thats a lot of good books.

    your bean dip, i never thought to add lime, but that sounds SO good, im going to get some today. i love black bean dip and i dont think it needs any fat added,garbanzo beans...i think those are pretty rough without fat.lol AND i thought i was the only one that aded sweet potatoes to my salads! i have been thinking of making a dressing out of them.

  14. Emma,

    Glad I could help with the open can of black beans.

    I love my Wii, which I know is a little odd for a person of my age. The only thing I have for it are exercise "games". I use it when I feel like I need to move around and don't want to pull out a workout DVD or hop on the treadmill. Glad I could make you giggle. ;-)

    Good luck on your exams!

  15. And I thought I had a lot of cookbooks, I got nothin on you.

  16. Courtney,

    I really like to use citrus in bean dip. Either lemon or lime works but lime makes more sense to me with the Mexican theme. Please let me know what you think of it.

    The Techniques Cookbook is from the Culinary Institute of America. It is a very good book. The book is big, 634 pages, with the first 160 being about running a commerical kitchen and how to make healthy food with flavor. I learned a lot reading it. It was written for professional chefs but I think you would like it.

    Clean Food is a much smaller book, 290 pages. But it concentrates on whole food, which I like. However the author is not afraid to use oil. Hower, I have to give her credit for not using Frankenfood. I don't remember seeing any tofutti sour cream or that sort of thing in the book. If it is there it isn't used often.


  17. She Woke Up,

    I seriously need to join Cookbooks Anonymous. You can join with me, LOL.

    Thankfully my hubby likes to eat and sees more cookbooks as an opportunity for new dishes. ;-)


  18. Michelle,

    Thanks, I do like my books, LOL.

    I think you will like the citrus in the dip. I use that all the time. You can also use vinegar and it gives the bean dip a similar spark of flavor.

    Sweet potatoes are great in salad. I put them in the salad I sent to work for Dan today. What an interesting idea to make a dressing out of sweet potatoes. Are you going to add raw cashews to the dressing? Please post the recipe if you like it. It definitely has potential. :-)


  19. oh thanks, praise of an idea from you means a lot.honestly i was just thinking of making it a fat free dressing.maybe you could look up in that book that tells you all the things that"go" with each food,for some ideas of what wold go with it for me??i was also thinking of doing it with bnut squash so i could still get the flavor but not all the starch.

    i JUST went to the store and i forgot limes...aahrgh. limes and lettuce, thats ALL i went for!!

  20. Michelle,

    I can't go to the store without a list or I forget something everytime, LOL.

    The list for sweet spuds is long. I will mail it to you in a minute since I know you make them all the time. :-)


  21. Growl - I forgot to sign in first before I left my original comment, and I couldn't remember my password, so my eloquently long note was deleted. Well, you'll get the shortened version. :-) Anyhow, I love the pics of your bookcases. I have a couple of them myself. I would love to plop down on your floor and read them for hours, like I do in a bookstore. I used to have cancer books, after I was diagnosed, but now I've narrowed it down to one. Good job! This was a close effort to my original. :-)

  22. Blessed Mama,

    You know what my question is I assume ..... What is the one cancer book you narrowed down to?


  23. I thought you might be curious. Most of the ones I got before were from the widow of a friend of mine who died from the same kind of cancer I had. They focused a lot on shark cartilage and other things like that, so I didn't really want to hang on to them. This one I bought for myself about three years ago - Cancer: A Medical and Spiritual Guide for Patients and Their Families by a couple of docs, Fintel and McDermott. It definitely has a Christian slant and basically answers the question of where is God when we have cancer. It looks at several cancers, including the one I had. Not a nutrional book, but one that I still appreciate.

  24. Blessed Mama,

    Thanks for the suggestion. I have not seen that one. ;-)


  25. Oh my gosh, I somehow missed this post, Ali! I'm sitting here swooning over your books!


  26. LJ,

    If you have questions about any of the books let me know. I am happy to share what I know. :-)


  27. About beans -- do you normally soak them including black beans? If so, do you throw out the soaking water (or the water used to quick boil them)? Thanks!

  28. Laura,

    I try to soak my beans overnight, but I don't always remember. When that happens I use the quick soak method instead.

    I have read many different things about whether you should save or discard the soak water. We have tried both methods and it doesn't seem to make a difference in terms of flatulence. I think it is up to you whether you cook in the soak water or discard it and replace with fresh water for cooking. I use both methods depending on my mood. ;-)



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