Impress guests with homemade salsa at the next soiree

Warm black bean salsa makes a great addition to family parties. This recipe is from Judith Finlayson’s “The Health Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness.” Courtesy photo

FALLBROOK – Gatherings of family and friends are better with food, and few foods are more universally beloved than salsa.

Whether they’re hosting a gathering for the big game or a celebration of Hispanic culture and cuisine, hosts who want to go the extra mile can forgo store-bought salsa for the following homemade recipe for “Warm Black Bean Salsa” courtesy of Judith Finlayson’s “The Health Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness,” published by Robert Rose.

Warm Black Bean Salsa

Makes about 3 cups

  • 2 cups cooked black beans, drained, rinsed and mashed (see tip 1 below)
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (see tip 2 below)
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 roasted peppers such as poblano or sweet, peeled and diced
  • 1 roasted jalapeno, seeded and diced or 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pureed garlic (see tip 3 below)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • Finely chopped scallions (optional)

In slow cooker stoneware, combine beans, tomatoes, scallions, poblano, jalapeno peppers, garlic, lime zest, lime juice and cheese. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 1 and 1/2 hours, until mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in cilantro, sprinkle with scallions, if using, and serve.

Tips

1. Use 14- to 19-ounce can of no-salt-added beans, drained. Or cook dried beans yourself (see recipe below).

2. For convenience, substitute 1 cup drained no-salt-added diced canned tomatoes.

3. To puree garlic, use a sharp-toothed grater.

 

Basic Beans

Makes approximately 2 cups

  • 1 cup dried white beans (see tip below)
  • 3 cups water
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Bay leaves (optional)
  • Bouquet garni (optional)

First, choose either the long soak method or the quick soak method and presoak the beans.

Long soak method: In a bowl, combine beans and water. Soak for at least 6 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Beans are now ready for cooking.

Quick soak method: In a pot, combine beans and water. Boil for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Beans are now ready to cook.

Second, cook the beans in a slow cooker.

In slow cooker stoneware, combine 1 cup presoaked beans and 3 cups fresh cold water. If desired, season with garlic, bay leaves or a bouquet garni made from any favorite herbs tied together in cheesecloth. Cover and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or overnight or on high for 5 to 6 hours, until beans are tender. Drain and rinse. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. The beans are now ready for use.

Tip: For people with difficulty digesting legumes, add 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar or lemon juice to the water when soaking dried beans.

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