This is a traditional beans recipe with the Latin flavors of sofrito and a touch of flavor from Knorr Selects® Vegetable Granulated Bouillon. A sofrito is a sauté of vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic cloves in olive oil. To add a complex flavor to this traditional dish, I’m including a version using sprouted red kidney beans. Prepare regular beans with sofrito or the sprouted version of red kidney beans. If you have never sprout beans, it is fun to make with your family. Soak, drain, let them sprout for 2 days, and then cook.
This blog post is sponsored by Unilever® as part of my participation in the Unilever Agents of Change Program.
This dish is the perfect combo to savor a traditional dish with the family during Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), a time to honor and celebrate our culture.
This September, we’re also celebrating National Family Meals Month™ to raise awareness of the benefits of frequent family meals. Eating meals as a family can have positive health and wellness benefits to individuals and the community. Learn more about some of these benefits below:
Family meals have been associated with
As a dietitian, I encourage eating together nutritious food and having positive conversations about food. For example, whenever my child says, “I don’t like salads or vegetables.”, I respond, “That’s fine, you might like it later”. Don’t let them hear you say, “my child doesn’t like vegetables or broccoli” because he will register this to be true for a long time. Keep it friendly and with time he will go for the vegetables on his own when he sees that everyone is eating them happily.
Family meals are beneficial for health and wellness.
Serve family style meals as much as possible. Give children utensils to serve themselves even if they make a mess. The portions of food for children are different and as they grow, let them serve as much as they need. I think my children were around 3 or 4 years old when they started serving themselves. I have taught this concept to many families and it really eases the stress at mealtime. They love the independence and if your child doesn’t want broccoli, you can always suggest, but don’t push. Of course, this method will have exceptions for some children. That is why it’s helpful to talk to a dietitian.
Family meals help children to have higher grades and improved mental health.
This is the perfect time to turn off all screens and have conversations during mealtimes. Have your family set the table and put their phones away. Life is so busy, and this is the time to connect, help children brainstorm ideas about their homework and talk about their day.
Do you know that 63 percent of Americans decide what to eat less than an hour before eating? (The Harman Group, Eating Occasions Compass 2013).
My kitchen is the gathering place where we cook and create fun recipes. I believe that the kitchen is also where you can start your grocery list and meal planning. Shop your pantry and fridge first and from there build a couple of meals for the week.
Be prepared and if you need to create a meal on the spot, stock up on foods that are fast to prepare. Stock your freezer with frozen meals and your pantry with canned foods. Prepare large batches of rice and cut up fresh vegetables for later. My favorite quick and easy meals are hot sandwiches, grilled cheese with avocado, quesadillas, tostadas or corn tortillas with beans, and rice & beans. For more resources and ideas, go to this link.
This recipe has instructions on how to cook either regular beans or sprouted beans with sofrito. The red kidney beans in the picture above are sprouted beans.
Sprouted beans are nutritious and delicious. They are a great source of plant-based protein and are valued because their nutritional value increases up to three times compared to the regular kidney beans. They are also easier to digest. Sprouted kidney beans are included as one of the Future 50 Foods, a report with a collection of diverse plant-based foods that can boost the nutritional value of meals. But there is a risk of bacterial growth with sprouting beans, so read my recipe disclaimer.
Add Knorr Selects® Vegetable Granulated Bouillon to the sofrito to keep your beans full of flavor. Pair with brown rice and a vegetable like steamed broccoli and you have a meal. Rice & beans is a traditional Latin recipe that I grew up with and have taught my children to love.
Red kidney beans (or sprouted beans) with sofrito (vegetarian)
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans
- 1 cup white onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Roma tomato, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 1/3 cup carrots, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. Knorr Selects® Vegetable Granulated Bouillon
- Rinse beans. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight or at least 12 hours.
- If you are skipping the sprouting process, rinse and drain beans. Discard skins that float to the top and go to step 4.
- To sprout beans: Rinse and drain beans. Discard skins that float to the top. Using a plastic cutting board (not metal or wood board) or a plate, lined with dry paper towels, spread beans, and cover with a moist paper towel for two days. Each day check beans, rinse beans gently at least twice a day with cold water and repeat process with new paper towels. Once the beans have sprouted, rinse well and discard any small beans that didn’t sprout.
- Place beans in a large pot. Add about 6 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours until beans are soft. It will be less time for sprouted beans. Meanwhile, chop all the vegetables for the sofrito.
- Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Sauté all the vegetables until everything is soft (about 10 minutes). Add a cup of water (or liquid from the beans) to the sofrito and stir in Knorr Selects® Vegetable Granulated Bouillon. No need to add more salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once beans are cooked and soft, stir in the sofrito and combine. It is ready to serve with brown rice or tortillas. Enjoy!
- Disclaimer: Please ensure you take caution and follow steps exactly when completing the sprouting process to ensure it is done properly and safely. Raw sprouted foods do have increased micro risk which is not ideal for those with potentially compromised immune system, elderly, children, and pregnant women.
- The sprouting process usually takes 2 to 3 days depending on when they sprout, the temperature of the area and how small the beans are.
- Sprouting will begin after 24 hours and even more on the second day. Each day, rinse, drain and spread beans across the cutting board or plate. Do this about twice a day. Keep beans covered and once they are sprouted, they are ready to cook.
- An alternative to laying the beans flat on a cutting board or plate, select the jar method to sprout any seeds or beans. Clean a glass jar and add rinsed beans, discard any extra water and lay the jar sideways. Cover the top of the jar with cheesecloth so beans can breathe. Each day, rinse and drain. Lay the jar sideways, covered with the cloth and once they are sprouted, they are ready to cook.