By Ann Lindemann
Whether you are a vegetarian or simply want to try swapping out a meat-centered meal for a healthier alternative, this recipe is an easy weeknight dinner solution. When it comes to inexpensive plant protein that’s rich in fiber and antioxidants, one needs to look no further than beans. Try wrapping these seasoned black beans in a whole-wheat flour tortilla with a little cheese, yogurt and lots of fresh garnishes. The tasty bean mixture can be refrigerated for up to 2 days and reheated to make subsequent meals.
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 1 cup onion (chopped)
- 2 tbsp Jalapeno pepper, minced
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp Ancho chile powder or regular chile powder
- 15 oz. no-salt-added (or low sodium) black beans (drain & rinse thoroughly)
- 3/4 cup prepared salsa
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 4 large whole-wheat flour tortillas (or gluten free tortillas)
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Pepper Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded romaine lettuce
- 1 large avocado (peeled and coarsely mashed)
- 4 tbsp cilantro leaves (torn)
- 4 tbsp Greek nonfat plain yogurt
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add jalapeno, garlic, cumin and chile powder; cook, stirring for 30 seconds.
- Add beans, water and salsa, and bring to a simmer.
- Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated, but mixture is still a bit saucy; 5 to 10 minutes.
- Mash about 1/4 of the beans.
- Stir whole and mashed beans together and stir in lime juice.
- Meanwhile, heat tortillas either in microwave or on the stovetop in a dry medium skillet. Don’t overcook.
- To serve, spoon a scant 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of the each warm tortilla. Garnish with cheese, lettuce, avocado, cilantro and yogurt. Fold bottom of tortilla over filling, then wrap to the right to enclose filling.
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts Per Serving (including garnishes): Calories: 390. Total Fat: 16 grams. Saturated fat: 3 grams. Cholesterol: 10 milligrams. Sodium: 400 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 45 grams. Protein: 16 grams.
Key Ingredient Benefits
Avocado: This fruit is loaded with nutrients including vitamins E, K, C and B. The fat content of avocados is significant, however it is the healthy type, oleic acid. Oleic acid improves fat metabolism and is the same monounsaturated fatty acid present in olive oil. Dubbed the alligator pear, avocados help to support the cardiovascular system and regulate blood sugar.
Black beans: Beans are an ultra healthy, versatile and affordable food. Black beans, like other beans, are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management. Beans are hearty, helping you feel full so you will tend to eat less.
Chile powder: Chili peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which gives peppers their characteristic pungency, producing mild to intense spice when eaten. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes.
Cilantro: The leaves are variously referred to as coriander leaves, fresh coriander, Chinese parsley, or cilantro (in America, from the Spanish name for the plant). In parts of Europe, this herb has traditionally been referred to as an "anti-diabetic" plant. In parts of India, it has traditionally been used for its anti-inflammatory properties. In the United States, cilantro (coriander) has recently been studied for its cholesterol-lowering effects.
Cumin: It is probably not just for nutty, peppery flavor alone that cumin has made it into the stellar ranks of Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cooking. This ordinary looking seed is anything but ordinary when it comes to health benefits. Cumin is an excellent source of iron, a mineral that plays many vital roles in the body. It also benefits the digestive system and may have anti-carcinogenic properties.
Garlic: Vampire jokes aside, garlic can protect us in many ways. It contains sulfur compounds that may protect cells from cancer, relax blood vessels and improve cardiovascular health. Research suggests garlic may help boost our cellular antioxidant production. There is some evidence supporting numerous health benefits from a diet rich in garlic.
Greek nonfat plain yogurt: This type of yogurt is a thicker and creamier alternative to typical American-style yogurts. The rich taste and texture of this yogurt can substitute for higher-fat dairy products and help maintain balance in your digestive tract and provide essential protein. Compared to its unsweetened American-style counterpart, unsweetened Greek yogurt offers more protein and half the amount of natural sugar.
Lime juice: This fruit contains citrus bioflavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and are active in improving the function of the immune system. Limes also have anti-microbial properties and are a good source of a number of nutrients including, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. The lime’s bioflavonoids may also function as anti- inflammatories and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.