What Does Black Beans Have to do With it?


This is Emy and I’d like to welcome you to my new blog, Black Beans and Kale.

As a Cubana who grew up in the U.S., I have a very rich culture and heritage tied to food. I grew up not only loving food, but loving the ritual of sitting down for dinner every night with my family: Mama and Papa (my grandparents who raised me), my brother Po, my sister Lucy and my tios, Pepe and Yoyi. I continue loving the food rituals including our large family get togethers, which start off in the kitchen, move to the living room, and end back in the kitchen.

Continuing the food culture throughout my life, my tios and tias have had catering companies my entire life, my cousin Ana is a Chef and I even married a Chef! So yes – I know and love food…

Today, as a Health Coach, wanting to continue enjoying my favorite Cuban meals while being true to living a healthy and clean life, I find myself looking at the recipes of my favorite childhood meals and changing them up by incorporating healthier ingredients.

I have created Black Beans and Kale to share these “healthier” Cuban recipes with you (and for laughs, little stories of growing up Cuban in the U.S.)  We are beginning our recipe lineup in this blog with what else but Black Beansa high protein, high fiber food.

In full disclosure: those of you that really, really know me, know that I struggle in the kitchen…I didn’t really inherit the cooking skills of the rest of my family members. However, a long time friend and highly skilled chef, Silvia Pernas, who has a kick a__ __ kitchen worked with me testing these wonderful recipes. Enjoy!


Serves 4


2 – 15.5 cans of low sodium black beans*

½ chopped large green bell pepper**

1 small onion***

1 small chopped garlic clove

1/8 of teaspoon of onion powder

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon of cumin

½ teaspoon of oregano

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

1/8 of teaspoon of sea salt

2 tablespoons of avocado oil

*This is a quick alternative to save you time but you can also use dried beans letting them soak overnight. 1 cup of dried black beans yields 2 to 3 cups cooked.

**You can use red and yellow peppers too if you want to add more color and flavor.

***Yellow onions have a stronger flavor than white and the red onions are milder and sweeter. Feel free to experiment with the different tastes.


  1. Heat avocado oil
  2. Add all the ingredients except for the black beans
  3. Simmer for 2 minutes
  4. Add the black beans
  5. Add a ¼ cup of water
  6. Cover and continue simmering for additional 20 -30 minutes to taste
  7. Garnish with cilantro


  1. Black Beans is a high fiber, high protein food. If buying the beans in the cans, buy the ones that are low sodium or sodium free.   Generally canned foods are very high in sodium. Control your sodium intake by leaving the addition of the salt to you not the food industry.
  1. Among the many benefits of bell peppers, they are rich in Vitamin C, they are an anti-inflammatory, they’re rich in anti-oxidants and they lower cholesterol buildup.
  1. Onions and garlic are a nutrient-dense food meaning they are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.
  2. Cumin is rich in iron and Vitamin C so it boosts the immune system and aids in alleviating the common cold. It also helps with the digestive system.
  1. Oregano is an excellent source of vitamin K, magnesium, iron and calcium. It is another high nutrient based herb.
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the ingredients we added to the original recipe. Apple cider vinegar is both antibacterial and decreases the blood sugar level.
  1. We replaced the table salt in the recipe with sea salt because sea salt is less processed. However, both are sodium so should be taken in moderation.
  1. The olive oil that the recipe called for we replaced with avocado oil for a few reasons. Although olive oil is healthy and I recommend it for salads, avocado oil has more monounsaturated fatty acids, has a higher level of antioxidants and has a higher heat tolerance for cooking.


  1. Super informative blog, Emy. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  2. Jessica Ramos

    April 8, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    So excited for you Emy!!

  3. Thank you Emy, Like your approach. Looking forward to read more.!!!

    • Emy

      April 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      I’m so glad Mabel…more definitely coming your way. Let me know how it goes when you begin testing them out.

  4. Coming from someone who at 45 is just now acquiring a like …(not quite love yet!)…for cooking, this is SUPER!!! Love it!!

  5. Cristina Parjus

    April 14, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Already bought my avocado oil!! Can’t wait to try this recipe and many more!

    • Emy

      April 14, 2016 at 10:28 am

      Yeah!! Good girl. Another one coming in a couple of weeks so get the grocery list ready to supply that pantry in that new house of yours…

  6. Emy, this is genius! Wish you all the good things you deserve!!

    • Emy

      April 14, 2016 at 10:26 am

      I’m so glad you like it. I had fun creating it. More to come in a couple of weeks. Including some changes in spanish recipes for your gallego!

  7. Love love love this! Sharing it with my mom so we can make it together. Can’t wait for more! XOXO

  8. Wow, Emy! This is fantastic and very relative. Maintaining our beloved cultural rituals while properly nourishing our bodies is a challenge. Thanks for sharing! My entire family will enjoy this recipe.

    • Emy

      April 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Thanks Em! My purpose for the blog is to educate others so that they can also take any of their favorite recipes and teach them to make some small changes to recipes so they can create big health changes in their lives.

  9. Emy, I love it! The page is beautiful and I know I’m going to enjoy reading your stories. I’m going to try the recipe….I’m not a very good cook but it’s simple enough….I think LOL!

    • Emy

      April 14, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      Hey Ani, I’m so glad you liked it. Don’t worry the recipes will be super easy. As my blog discloses, I didn’t inherit the cooking skills the rest of my family did. Everything I post is something that even I can put out!

  10. Danielle Burke Llarena

    April 14, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Absolutely love this!! Can’t wait to try out some new recipes AND read more!! Love your writing approach too!

  11. Congratulations on your fantastic blog! I love it and am so happy you are doing what you love. I’m sure you and Silvia had a blast in the kitchen and the recipe sounds delish. Cheers to you my friend.

    • Emy

      April 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      thank you for all your good wishes Viv. I am having so much fun! We’re scheduled for another testing session this coming week. I have a picture of her (she doesn’t know) but am holding it for another blog 🙂

  12. Trying to eat like a healthy athlete and a good cuban at the same time has been a little bit of a struggle, I’m not gonna lie… I was just thinking this past week about it, I can’t wait for more recipes this is going to be/already is super awesome!

  13. I am so glad I was sitting when I read you had cooked! Lol
    Loved BB&K, congratulations.
    Phenomenal idea for the cubanas who want to eat healthy and really don’t want to let another aspect of our culture die out….our food traditions.
    I will let you know how this turns out for me.
    Love you and post a photo of you cooking please!!

    • Emy

      April 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      ha ha…thanks Ana. I couldn’t in all honesty not put a disclosure about my cooking on the blog. 🙂 It’s hard for many of my clients to give up their Cuban food so I thought I would give some ideas on how to alter the recipes a bit. I will eventually post a picture of me cooking but I thought I would start of easy… ay, ay, ay…

  14. Alba Cleveland

    April 16, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Emiliana! This is so great! You have no idea how meeting you and your insightful advice from our one on one sessions so enhanced my life! And i chuckled when I read the last paragraph – to you credit, I will say this – you may not be the Musician of the kitchen BUT you are the Conductor!
    And as adopted Cuban (being brought up in Hialeah) I am so happy to get great Cuban food recipes that indeed not only sound tasty And healthy as well.

    • Emy

      April 18, 2016 at 9:30 am

      Thank you Alba! I know…I enjoyed our one to one sessions too. As for the Conductor…well that’s a very interesting way of putting it. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  15. Rosanna de Guzman

    April 28, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    What a great resource!!
    Definitely making these black beans and will report back.

    Thank you for making healthy eating a lot easier and yummy now.

    My best!

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