I know it’s January and we’re all looking to start off on the right foot, but I’m beginning to feel like detoxifying smoothies and cleansing tonics are bombarding me every time I go online or open a magazine. I’ll admit to having a green smoothie myself many a morning, but this year, I’m also craving something that I don’t need a straw for.
I wanted a dish that was off-the-charts healthy, hearty, and delicious, with protein, fiber, and loads of veggies to keep me full well past the lunch bell’s ring. So when I caught the always charming Jamie Oliver making baked eggs in popped beans on the small screen during a long-haul flight home from Australia, I made a point – despite not knowing if I should have been awake or asleep – to catalogue it in my mental “must try” list.
The ensuing days found me trying to get myself – and two kids – through a painfully long case of jet lag. I was in desperate need of a breakfast that would turn me into a champion – a protein powerhouse to get me through the day. Luckily, I recalled Jamie’s combination of eggs and beans.
I was curious to see if the beans would actually pop in the pan, as he claimed they would. I found that they half split, half pop open, and that this gives them a velvety smooth texture. With Jamie’s recipe as inspiration, I’ve developed my own egg-and-bean dish.
Instead of using cannellini beans like the original recipe does, I’ve swapped in black beans for a flavor more in line with the Mexican taste I was going for. By adding a generous handful of baby greens, I also knocked a serving of vegetables off my daily to-do list. And while Jamie uses tomatoes and basil, I used brighter flavors – fresh cilantro and lime – plus cumin. Ripe avocados and tangy salsa verde seemed, then, the perfect finishing touch.
All told, this meal comes together in no more then 15 minutes. Warm, delicious, and healthy, this protein powerhouse is the perfect wintertime breakfast of champions. Lay down your straws and frosty smoothies, people, and give it a try!
Hot Poppin’ Black Beans and Eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup bell peppers, chopped (red, yellow, or green)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh baby spinach, baby kale, or arugula
2 fresh eggs
1 avocado, cut into cubes
juice of 1 fresh lime
salsa verde (I like Trader Joe’s Hatch Valley variety)
salt and pepper to taste
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the next four ingredients plus half of the fresh cilantro and a pinch of salt to the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, when the beans should begin to pop or split open. Add the greens and half the lime juice and cook until the greens begin to wilt, about another minute. Lower heat to medium-low and carefully crack the eggs into the skillet and among the bean mixture. Cook eggs to your desired doneness.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the avocado with the remaining fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
When eggs are done, remove the skillet from heat. Garnish with the avocado mixture, and remaining cilantro and serve with salsa verde on the side. Enjoy immediately.
Cook’s note: This dish is also great with a little added heat. Spice it up with hot sauce or jalapeño peppers and top with a dollop of plain greek yogurt.