Sunday, August 16, 2015

Black Bean Stew with Marinara and Napa Cabbage, Brown Jasmine Rice with Roasted Corn and Fresh Zucchini (No Added Fat)

I'm delighted that my wife and daughter are back from a vacation of a little over a week. I decided to make a black bean dish, and it came out great!

I had been having problems pressure cooking black beans which, soaked, are only supposed to take 10-15m to cook under pressure. Even at 30m of cooking and overnight soaking, the beans were always a bit hard. I usually would cook a few more minutes, but that didn't make a difference.

A few days ago, I realized the rather obvious issue - I wasn't using enough water. This became clear as I was referencing some websites and books about pressure cooking. I've read that soaked black beans can be cooked in as little as 10-15 minutes. Some recommendations are to use 2/3 of a cup of water per cup of dried beans, 3/4 a cup of water per cup of dried beans, enough water to cover the beans and then another inch, and more. I decided to try 20m with about 1/2" inch water above the level of the beans, and then do an additional low pressure 2m cook with tomato sauce. Here is what I did:

  • 1 cup of black beans
  • Enough water to cover beans plus another 1/2"
  • Medium bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes (about a cup)
  • Cup of marinara sauce
  • Half medium onion cut into 3/8" cubes (about a cup)
  • Salt to taste (try 1/4 t)
  • Dried oregano to taste (try 1/8 t)
  • (Optional) 2t nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage, cut into 1/4"x1" strips
  1. I put the beans and water in the Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes.
  2. I waited a few minutes then slowly let out remaining pressure.
  3. The beans were indeed cooked though they weren't very soft. I drained about a half cup of the liquid - my wife said she would drink it with dinner.
  4. I added the bell pepper and marinara sauce, then cooked on low pressure for 2 more minutes.
  5. I opened the pot as before, after waiting a few minutes.
  6. I added onion, salt, oregano, nutritional yeast, and cabbage, and served.
I also heated some leftover rice that I had made for a client - it was brown Jasmine with roasted corn kernels and raw zucchini. Tasty green peas completed the meal.


The beans were excellent! My daughter finished her large serving, and my wife and I had seconds (I had thirds, too!). I served some jalapeno pieces and garlic salt with my wife and my servings. I am so happy that I now can make very nice black beans.

Ideas for the future

Were I not cooking for my daughter, I'd add a bit of ginger and garlic at the beginning, and perhaps jalapeno in the short second 2m cooking.

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