One of my favorite traditions from Texas is charro beans! They’re so smoky and delicious, plus they’re really easy to make into an awesome healthy side or main. You can put them on tacos, with rice, or I honestly just eat them plain as a soup sometimes. They’re often made with ham or bacon, so vegans rejoice, this is the option for you! This version is vegan, gluten free, sugar free, and oil free! This is how we made it:
1 lb bag dried pinto or black beans
8 cups unsalted vegetable stock (see note below)
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2-3 jalapeños, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp cayenne
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Pepper to taste
Cover dried beans in plenty of water and soak overnight. If you’re running short on time you can also do a quick boil on the beans by combining them with 8 cups of water, boil for 5 minutes, and then cover and soak them for an hour. You can also do something fancy with an Instapot and feel free to send me one because I keep asking for one for Christmas, and my requests have all been denied. I have no idea how an instapot works, so you’ll need to google this. Drain the beans.
In a large pot over high heat, add the vegetable stock, onion, jalapeños, garlic, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne and bring beans to a boil. The reason we are using salt free veggie stock is because salt does affect the toughness of the shell of the bean. It’s awful. I’ve ignored this and ended up with tough beans. Don’t do it! If you have boullion that contains salt, just cook your beans with water and veggies at this point, and add the bouillon in the next step. Once your beans are boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for an hour and a half covered.
Check the tenderness of your beans. If they seem like they are still tough, crank up the heat a bit and check them every 20 minutes or so.
Once your beans are soft, add the tomatoes, lime juice, liquid smoke, salted boullion if you’re using it, salt, and pepper. Check the seasoning, cook for another 5 minutes, and serve them up!
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