red beans black rice recipe in a bowl
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It’s estimated that about 400 million people globally depend on beans as a primary source of protein daily. With hundreds of different varieties around the world, it comes as little surprise that beans are an important part of so many cultures and cuisines.

We’ve also learned that beans are a culinary staple for plenty of the world’s longest-living people. According to longevity expert, Dan Buettner, a New York Times bestselling author of titles like The Blue Zones Kitchen and The Blue Zones American Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100, beans are a staple in all five Blue Zone regions, where many residents live well over the age of 100.

“The longevity all-star food is beans. If you’re eating about a cup of beans a day, it’s probably worth an extra four years of life expectancy,” Buettner previously shared with Well+Good.

Most recently, Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, owner of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition and cookbook author of Eating from Our Roots, shared during Well+Good’s 2023 ReNew Year program that one of her go-to ways to eat legumes is her all-star Instant Pot stewed red beans with black rice and avocado recipe, which is packed with protein and longevity-boosting properties. Learn how to make this easy one-pot meal that’s nutritious, warming, and a must-make recipe to add to your meal-prepping routine in the new year.

Health benefits of this red bean and black rice recipe

Feller says that she always has something eat, healthy, and delicious to eat ready to go in the fridge when she makes a big batch version of this stewed red bean and black rice recipe using her Instant Pot.

“Beans and rice are a staple food in so many cultures around the world,” Feller says. What makes these two incredibly versatile ingredients really shine, she adds, is how you choose to prepare them. (And trust me, the options are really endless.) “The preparation techniques vary depending on the home cook, as do the flavors,” she says.

In Feller’s Instant Pot-friendly recipe, she combines ingredients like onion, garlic, ginger, squash, coconut milk, and habanero peppers to make an ultra-flavorful stewed bean dish perfect for preparing in large batches. But, of course, the real star of this recipe is the red beans, which boast impressive longevity-boosting properties. It’s no secret that these small but mighty legumes are packed with tons of protein. But what else makes them so good for you?

For starters, beans are packed with fiber (our gut microbiome’s BFF). Fiber is essential for maintaining healthy gut bacteria; studies show it can also decrease your risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Beans specifically have loads of resistant starches, which is both a type of fiber that passes through the small intestine intact and is fermented in the large intestine, producing short-chain fatty acids that then help feed healthy bacteria. Not to mention, they have a whopping 14 grams of plant-based protein per cup.

So, if you’re looking for a simple and cost-effective way to get enough protein in your diet, this stewed red bean dish will definitely do the trick. And if a whole Instant Pot’s worth of rice and beans is too much to eat within one week, this recipe lends itself well to freezing (and reheating), which is the perfect excuse to make extra to minimize the cooking you’ll have to do later on.

red beans black rice recipe Maya Feller recipe
Photo: Maya Feller

Instant Pot stewed red beans with black rice avocado recipe

Yields 8 servings

2 Tbsp avocado oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, chopped
3 Tbsp of green seasoning
1 tomato, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
1 kabocha squash, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 can of coconut milk
2 cups red beans
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Fresh black pepper
1 habanero pepper
1 lime, cut into eight pieces, for serving
Black rice, for serving
Ripe avocado, for serving

1. Set Instant Pot to sauté.

2. Add oil, onion, garlic, ginger, green seasoning, and tomato, and sauté for three to five minutes.

3. Add thyme, squash, coconut milk, beans, vegetable broth, black pepper to taste, and habanero pepper.

4. Cover and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 40 minutes.

5. Serve with a slice of lime, black rice, and avocado.

How about some rich, fudgy black bean brownies for dessert? Check out the recipe here:

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