How to Cook Canned Black Beans in the Microwave

Cooking canned black beans in the microwave is a quick and tasty way to prepare a healthy meal in no time. The convenience and ease of using the microwave make this cooking method popular among busy cooks. From selecting the right kind of beans to understanding the equipment and following simple steps, this guide will lay out everything you need to know to cook canned black beans in the microwave. With a few tips and tricks, you can add a delicious meal to your menu in ten minutes or less.

Choosing the Right Canned Black Beans

When selecting canned black beans, opt for unsalted beans if you’re looking for a healthier option. Unsalted black beans do contribute sodium to your dish, but by leaving the additional salt out of the equation, you’ll be able to better control your sodium intake. Also, check for “low-sodium” labeled beans, which usually contain between 5-10% of your daily recommended sodium intake.

Also look for organic canned black beans, which often indicate a higher nutritional content than their conventional counterparts. When opting for organic canned black beans, remember to look at the ingredients list: you may still find salt present in organic beans, so make sure to double check or use an unsalted variety.

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When shopping for canned black beans, it’s important to read the label carefully. Look for beans that are free of preservatives and additives, and check the sodium content to ensure you’re getting the healthiest option. Additionally, look for beans that are packed in BPA-free cans, as this will help to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Preparing the Canned Black Beans for Cooking

It is best to prepare the canned black beans before popping them into the microwave. If possible, strain and rinse the canned beans in cold water before cooking them. Doing so will help decrease the sodium content of the black beans and help remove some of the preservatives used in the canning process. Additionally, rinsing and straining will make the black beans more tender and remove any debris or unwanted sediment.

When preparing canned black beans, it is important to remember that they are already cooked and only need to be heated up. Overcooking them can cause them to become mushy and lose their flavor. To avoid this, it is best to heat them for a shorter amount of time and check them frequently to ensure they are not overcooked.

The Equipment Needed to Cook Canned Black Beans in the Microwave

To cook canned black beans in the microwave, you’ll need a microwave-safe dish that is deep enough to fit an entire can of beans. A standard size can of black beans (typically 16 ounces/454g) should fit comfortably into an eight-inch round dish or casserole pan. It is essential that your dish is microwavable—otherwise, you may risk not only ruining your dish but also potentially damaging your microwave.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Cooking Canned Black Beans in the Microwave

  1. Rinse and strain the canned black beans. Leave extra liquid in the bottom of the dish.
  2. Turn the microwave onto high power and heat the dish for three minutes, stirring after each minute.
  3. Stir the black beans, ensuring that all portions are equally cooked. If necessary, continue cooking in one-minute increments until desired done-ness is achieved.
  4. Let the heated beans rest in the dish for two minutes before serving.

Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Canned Black Bean Dish

  • Beans can be spiced up with cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and diced jalapeños.
  • Adding diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, or shredded cheese can make a more complete meal.
  • Beans can also be mashed with a fork for a smooth and creamy consistency.
  • If you find your microwaved black beans too dry or thick after heating them, add a half cup of water or stock to provide moisture.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Canned Black Beans in the Microwave

  • Using too much liquid when heating canned black beans can result in overcooked and mushy beans.
  • Failing to allow adequate time for cooling after cooking—generally two minutes should be plenty of time—may result in dish that is still too hot to eat.
  • Be careful about adding salt after cooking; the beans are often already salted and adding more may make them too salty.
  • Covering the dish with a lid is unnecessary and can lead to moisture retention, leaving an overly moist dish.

Serving Suggestions for Canned Black Beans Cooked in the Microwave

There are numerous tasty and creative ways to serve canned black beans cooked in the microwave. Serve over a bed of steamed rice for a simple and hearty meal, or create a burrito bowl with tortilla chips, tomatoes, onion, avocado, and any other desired toppings. As a side dish, consider adding black beans to tacos or frying them with onions and garlic for a smoky flavor. You can also make delicious sandwiches with microwaved black beans or create your own black bean dip with a few spices added.

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