Easy Mexican Black Bean Casserole

A recipe from the November 2010 issue of All You (original here). The note with the recipe explains, “This is a tasty vegetarian meal, but you can please meat eaters by cooking a few slices of bacon until crisp and crumbling them into the slow cooker with the beans before warming.”

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dried black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16-oz. jar salsa, plus extra for serving, optional
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
  • Tortilla chips for serving, optional

Directions

  1. Stir together beans, 4 cups water and salsa, if using, in slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on high until liquid is absorbed and beans are soft, 4 to 6 hours.
  3. Season with salt.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over beans, cover and continue to cook until cheese is melted, 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Spoon into bowls, top with additional salsa and serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

Variations from the Original (listed as “Kitchen Tips”)

  • Change the flavor. Tomato salsa works well with black beans, but you can also try a different type. Chipotle salsa lends a smoky taste. Or try a pineapple or mango salsa for a touch of sweetness.
  • Turn up up the head. Add a few dashes of hot sauce if you like a kick, or use a spicy salsa. Sprinkle pepper Jack cheese on top.
  • Use more veggies. Sauté a chopped onion and a diced, seeded jalapeño until tender and stir them into the beans before sprinkling the cheese on top.
  • Make it meaty. This is a warming vegetarian meal, but you can please meat eaters by cooking a few slices of bacon until crisp and crumbling them into the slow cooker with the beans before cooking.
  • Wrap it up. Instead of chips, serve the beans with tortillas, more salsa, rice, lettuce, cheese, and guacamole, and let everyone make their own burritos.

Time Required: 7 hours

Servings: 6

Slow-Cooker Tuscan Beans

A recipe from the September 2011 issue of All You (original here). The note with the recipe explains that “At less than 50¢ per serving, this hearty dish will fill you up without emptying your wallet. Complete this meal by serving the beans the Tuscan way, with crusty bread and a green salad.”

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans, rinsed and picked over
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine beans, garlic, sage, 1 tsp. salt and 8 cups water in slow cooker.
  2. Cover; cook on high until beans are tender, about 3 hours and 15 minutes.
  3. Drain mixture; discard garlic and sage.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon into bowls; drizzle each portion with 1 tsp. olive oil.