Mexican-style Black Beans (Vegan)

Black Beans

I made this super easy and yummy black beans  to go with the Homemade Chipotle-Style Buffet & Tortilla Salad (Lots of Vegetarian Options). We filled baked tortilla bowls with cilantro-lime rice, black or pinto beans, tofu sofritos or taco chicken, corn salsa, tomato salsa, red onions, cheese, sour cream, cheese and cilantro for a delicious meal. These black beans can be eaten as-is, or topped on rice/quinoa too. To see pictures of the buffet table and the finished salad, click here.

Mexican-Style Black Beans

(Serves 12-15)

  • 1 lb dry black beans*** (picked through, rinsed, & soaked overnight)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 large onion (chopped fine)
  • 1 Tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

1) In a large stockpot, add the beans, water and salt and bring to a boil.

2) Simmer, partially covered for about 30-40 minutes till bite tender.

3) In another pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.

2) Add the bay leaf and saute for a few seconds.

3) Add the minced garlic and the onion, and saute till it starts to lightly brown.

4) Stir in the cumin and oregano, and saute another 15-20 seconds till fragrant.

5) Add the onion-herb mix to the pot of beans and stir well. Adjust seasoning and simmer for another 30-45 minutes, adjusting liquid as needed. (Mixture should not be dry nor soupy and runny.)

6) Can be served over rice / quinoa, or eaten by itself as a thick, hearty soup.

***NOTE: Substitute 4 (15 oz) cans of black beans for 1 lb dry. Drain 2 cans, but save the liquid separately. Saute all the ingredients above (except beans) in a stockpot. Then, add the 2 drained cans & 2 undrained cans of black beans and mix well. Adjust seasoning and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Add the reserved liquid if the mixture seems too dry.

Baked Tortilla Bowls

Baked Tortilla Bowls

I made these Baked Tortilla Bowls for my Homemade Chipotle-style Buffet & Tortilla Salad (Lots of Vegetarian Options) dinner party. Topped (filled?) with cilantro-lime rice, black/pinto beans, tofu sofritos/taco chicken, corn with peppers, tomato salsa, red onions, cheese, sour cream, cheese and cilantro, it was a delicious meal. Guests were able to serve themselves and customize to suit their tastes. Once the table was set, it required very little oversight. Plus, it turned out to be a relatively inexpensive menu. Many of the items can be made ahead of time and heated just before serving.

Taco Salad Bowl

Making these tortilla bowls were a breeze with the Tortilla Bowl Pans which you can buy online or at the drug store for around $10/set of 4. Use 8-inch or 10-inch tortillas in the flavor of your choice. I used Original (plain) and Jalapeno tortillas. Make sure the tortillas are at room temperature, and soft and pliable before molding into the pan. If they were refrigirated, wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave for 15-20 seconds till just soft. Then, press gently and shape into the ungreased, non-stick tortilla bowl pans and bake in a preheated oven till crispy.

 If you do not want to buy the pan set ( I strongly urge you to spring for it if you are making these for a large crowd), you can use these two methods linked below:

-Make tortilla bowls with shaped foil, no Pan

-Make tortilla bowls with an upside-down muffin pan.

I have tried baking at 375* for 12-14 minutes, and 400* for 8-10 minutes. Different brands of tortillas seem to have different baking times and temperatures to crisp up nicely. Watch the first few carefully, making sure they do not burn. Then, you can follow the same time for the rest of your batch.

Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for about 2 days. Before serving, the bowls can be warmed up in a 350* oven for a few minutes to recrisp.

For recipes for the salad filling and toppings, click here.

Eggless Mexican Rice Pudding – Arroz Con Leche

This rice pudding is decadent – creamy & sweet – both warm and chilled. It is similar to the Indian sweet Phirni (Firni) – the difference being that Phirni uses saffron and/or cardamon, while Arroz Con Leche uses cinnamon.

I remember my grandmother making her famous Phirni when I was a little girl, simmering it for what seemed like hours. The end result would be worth the wait. This recipe below, adapted from FOOD Network, is a quicker method, and tastes almost as good (I say almost, because, really, what can beat grandma’s cooking?!?!).

I served this as dessert at a Homemade Chipotle-Style Tortilla Salad buffet for family a few months back.

Eggless Mexican Rice Pudding – Arroz Con Leche

(Serves 15)

  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 12 cups water
  • 3 big cinnamon sticks
  • 2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 (14 oz) cans condensed milk
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (toasted)
  • Ground cinnamon for dusting

1) Bring water, rice, and cinnamon sticks to boil, uncovered, in a large heavy saucepan.

2) On medium-high heat, cook the rice for about 15 minutes.

3) Strain the liquid and cinnamon sticks. Return rice to the saucepan.

4) Add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk to the rice.

5) Bring to boil on medium-high heat, and the reduce to low. Cook uncovered for another 20 minutes, stirring often.

6) Check rice for doneness. Stir in the raisins and remove from heat.

7) Before serving, top with slivered and toasted almonds, and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.

CAN BE SERVED WARM or COLD.