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The beneficial black bean: Enchiladas to write home about

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What’s one of the most healthy, fiber-filled, protein-rich, affordable foods available today? That’s right— the bean. Specifically, the black bean, which contains a whopping 286 percent of molybdenum, an element important in such biological processes as nervous system development, waste processing in the kidneys and cell energy production. Black beans are also high in folate (64 percent), fiber (nearly 60 percent) and copper (40 percent).

A one-cup serving of black beans supplies almost 15 grams of fiber, which is more than half of the recommended daily value, and 15 grams of protein. No other protein-fiber combination exists in any other kind of food, and this powerful nutritional punch provides health benefits for the:

  • Digestive tract
  • Blood sugar regulatory system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Reduced risk of certain cancers, especially colon, breast and liver cancer

Also known as turtle beans because of their shiny, black skin, black beans are commercially produced in massive quantities in India and Brazil. Central America, Mexico, Indonesia and the United State also produce beans.

These tasty legumes hold their shape well during most cooking processes and can be a quick way to add beneficial fiber and protein to a meal. Consider sprinkling black beans on a baked potato, salad or nachos. Try black bean soup or add black beans to a pot of chili on chilly days. Make Cuban black beans or a fiesta black bean salsa. Or try the following black bean enchilada recipe for a tasty, nutrition-packed meal.

Black bean enchiladas

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can refried black beans (vegetarian option)
  • 2–4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2–4 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • Large handful fresh, washed cilantro, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheddar/Monterrey Jack
  • 2 small cans red or green enchilada sauce
  1. “Grease” a 9” x 13” glass pan with salsa or cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine first seven ingredients well.
  3. Spread mixture into flour tortillas and roll; place in pan.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and pour enchilada sauce over cheese.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cheese bubbles and begins to brown.

Bon appétit!

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