“Italian Style” Black Beans & Crispy Baked Potatoes

Today, I have not one, but two recipes for you.  A little to carry you over the upcoming weekend!

My family is notorious for taking everyday dishes and somehow adding an Italian flare to them.  It’s a running joke in our household.  Take the following dish, for example.  Most black bean dishes are commonly associated with toppings like sour cream, cheddar, and chopped green onion.

We, on the other hand, are stubborn and add oregano, bay leaves, and top it with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  Don’t worry, it still tastes equally as delicious!  Somehow, the flavors all seem to work together, along with additions like cilantro, chili powder, and cumin.

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This is one of my favorite go-to meals during the week.  It is full of protein, from the addition of canned black beans, easy to put together and very nutritious.  And it contains ingredients that most of us already have on hand in the pantry.

Normally, my family likes to serve it on top of brown rice pilaf, but lately, I’ve enjoyed putting it on top of  crispy baked potatoes.  It adds nice texture, but feel free to choose whatever base you’d like!  Enjoy!

"Italian Style" Black Beans & Crispy Baked Potato

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Ingredients:

“Italian Style” Black Beans:

    • 2 medium red onions, chopped
    • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
    • 2 14-ounce cans of chopped tomatoes (I prefer Pomi)
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • Hot pepper flakes (to taste)
    • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 2 15-ounce cans organic black beans, drained & rinsed
    • Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (or sharp cheddar cheese)

Crispy Baked Potato:

  • one large russet potato (one per person)

Directions:

Italian Style Black Beans:

    1. Sauté chopped red onions and garlic in large saucepan over medium-low heat until slightly translucent and soft.
    2. Add bay leaves, oregano, chili powder, red hot pepper flakes, and ground cumin and canned chopped tomatoes. Bring to simmer and cook for twenty-thirty minutes on medium heat.
    3. Add black beans, cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Before serving, stir and add in freshly chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
    4. Serve with brown rice or baked potato. Top with grated sharp cheddar cheese, queso fresco, or Parmigiano-Reggiano (my personal favorite). Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Crispy Baked Potato:

  1. Wash large russet potato (one per person) well and dry.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place the potatoes directly on a the wire rack of the oven. Bake for 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours until the skins are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
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spices

garlic

And last, but not least, here’s my favorite way to make baked potatoes.  The outsides get extra crunchy and the insides stay moist and soft.  Top with butter and a big spoonful of “Italian-Style” black beans and you have a delicious, hearty, and filling dinner any night of the week.

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Don’t forget the {parmesan} cheese!  After all…doesn’t a good dusting of Parmigiano-Reggiano make everything taste better.  That’s my philosophy, at least.