Vegan Ranch Style Beans
Please join me in celebration by checking out the wonderful food bloggers of the 2021 Juneteenth Virtual Cookout (listed below). Forty plus Black creators contributed to a collaborative feast in tribute to the resiliency of our ancestors. Juneteenth is the remembrance of the day in 1865 when the last known enslaved people were emancipated in and around Galveston, Texas. You may participate in the festivities by using the hashtag #JuneteenthCookout2021 on Instagram.
2020 was not entirely unpalatable. I discovered my great-grandfather Simon Edwards fought in the Civil War with the 8th United States Colored Heavy Artillery. He became “sick” almost immediately after the war ended, then hospitalized May 10, 1865 at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the site where the first enslaved Africans landed in these colonies. Harriet Tubman served as a chief nurse at the time, however she resigned in protest of the deplorable treatment given to the Black men who had fought to defend the Union and gain freedom. My great-grandfather and other Black soldiers were then shipped to Texas to demand Napolean’s withdraw from Mexico. These troops, referred to as the Buffalo Soldiers, ensured the vision of manifest destiny for White settlers by fighting Native Americans; Blacks were included in the Homestead Act of 1862 yet they did not benefit. I do not know if my great-grandfather ever saw Galveston. With overarching respect nonetheless, I pay tribute to the sacrifices he and so many unsung heroes made. May we as a nation take an opportunity to learn more about their lives and true legacy.
Pinto beans are the basis of my Vegan Ranch Style Beans recipe, are what refried beans consist of, and constitute a significant component in Native American, Southwestern, Northern Mexican and African American cooking. The Buffalo Soldiers relied upon these legumes to sustain themselves; my foreparents and I grew up eating them as well.
Beans were considered a poor persons’ food. Conservationists now recognize cutting back on our carnivorous, European-style of eating will help save the planet. Africans ate beans on the continent but pintos originated in South or Central American, where folks like Ojibwe environmental leader Winona LaDuke have known the benefit far longer. Dr. Martin Luther King too had ambitions for our collective future. In November of 1967, he developed a plan to “demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, and education for poor adults and children designed to improve their self-image and self-esteem.” The Poor People’s Campaign sought to bring together Native American, Mexican American, Puerto Rican and poor White communities with African Americans to make a case for economic equality. King planned a Poor People’s March on Washington in May of 1968. Dr King tragically would never see his vision come to fruition because he was assassinated on April 4th, 1968.
As we face a Republican effort to prevent BIPOC from voting, Dr. Kings’ goals for the poor and the general African American experience should be on everyone’s conscience. While the majority of welfare recipients are White, our goals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are universal. Whip up a Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Casserole or Bean & Cheese Chimichangas if you are vegan adjacent, Cilantro Quinoa and Classic Southern Sauteed Cabbage if not, and let’s work towards a better tomorrow.
Vegan Ranch Style Beans
- 1 Paring Knife
- Cutting Board
- 1 Large Wooden Spoon
- 1 Large Pot
- 3 cups Organic Pinto Beans
- ½ cup Organic Olive Oil
- 3 Organic Garlic Cloves, chopped
- 2 Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon Cubes
- 2 tbsp Frontier Co-op Mexican Seasoning
- 2 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp Redmond's Real Salt
- 2 tsp Organic Cumin Seeds, dried
- 2 tsp Organic Rosemary
- 1 tsp Organic Cilantro, dried
- 4 dashes Colgin Mesquite Liquid Smoke
- Rinse beans in a colander, place in a large pot and cover with approximately 5 to 6 cups of cold water. Note: Because the beans will absorb some of the water, but not as much as red beans, make sure there are two inches of water above the beans and allow to soak overnight.
- In the morning, crush the Cumin Seeds with a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder specifically designated for spices.
- Add 2 additional cups of water and all the ingredients to the large pot.
- Bring everything to a boil on high heat and then turn it down to low. (You can also use a pressure cooker, crock pot or instant pot but need to follow the directions for the specific device.)
- Cook approximately 3½ hours or until beans are tender to the bite and the liquid has significantly reduced and thickened.
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