Budget friendly protein that's great for filling bellies - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

The best protein for your budget

If you're looking to stretch your dollar at mealtime, using black beans as your source of protein is a healthy, budget-friendly option.

Weight Watcher's leader Lorie Weires is a pro at helping people stick to plan and she knows in this economy that buying foods within a family's budget can be key.

"Black beans are high in fiber, high in protein, very low cost.  For less than a dollar you can get a can and you can make all kinds of things."

Here are some recipes courtesy of Weight Watchers:

Spicy Black Bean Soup
4PointsPlus Value

Prep time:  20 min
Cook time:  30 min
Serves: 8

The key to thickening this soup without flour? Pureeing some of the beans before cooking it. You'll love the stick-to-your-ribs texture that results.

  • 1 spray(s) cooking spray    
  • 1 medium uncooked onion(s), finely chopped    
  • 4 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced    
  • 45 oz canned black beans, undrained, divided (three 15 oz cans)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste   
  • 1 tsp ground cumin    
  • 14 1/2 oz fat-free chicken broth, or vegetable broth    
  • 10 oz canned tomatoes with green chilis    
  • 11 oz canned yellow corn, drained    


- Coat bottom of a large stockpot with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.
- Place one can of beans in blender; add sautéed onion mixture, red pepper flakes and cumin. - - Cover and blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture back into stockpot.
- Place second can of beans and broth in blender and puree until smooth; add to stockpot.
- Stir third can of beans (do not puree first), tomatoes and green chilies, and corn into stockpot. - Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Yields about 1 1/2 cups of soup per serving.

Cuban Black Beans And Rice
6PointsPlus Value

Prep time:  10 min
Cook time:  25 min
Serves: 6

This meatless main meal is ultra-satisfying. If you can't find banana or cubanelle peppers, use red or green bell peppers instead.


  • 2 1/2 cup(s) water, divided    
  • 1 cup(s) uncooked white rice, long grain-variety    
  • 2 tsp olive oil    
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) (sliced) uncooked red onion(s), chopped, divided    
  • 1 medium banana pepper(s), cubanelle or other sweet pepper, diced (about 1 cup)    
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic    
  • 1 tsp ground cumin    
  • 1 tsp dried oregano    
  • 31 oz canned black beans, two 15.5 oz cans (undrained)    
  • 1 tsp table salt, or to taste    
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar    
  • 2/3 cup(s) cilantro, fresh, chopped, divided    
  • 1 medium fresh lime(s), cut into 6 wedges    


- In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil; add rice and cook as package directs.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of onion and all of the pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and oregano; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in beans and their liquid, remaining 1/2 cup of water and salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for flavors to blend, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar and 1/3 cup of cilantro.
- To serve, spoon beans over rice; sprinkle with 1/4 cup of remaining onion and 1/3 cup of remaining cilantro; squeeze fresh lime juice over top. Yields about 3/4 cup of beans and 1/2 cup of rice per serving.

Black Bean Brownies
4PointsPlus Value

Prep time:  7 min
Cook time:  33 min
Serves: 24

Black beans add fiber and moisture to this lightened up treat. They're rich and delicious, full of chocolaty goodness. This is a favorite of Weight Watchers spokesperson Jennifer Hudson.


  • 2 spray(s) cooking spray, flour-variety recommended    
  • 1/2 cup(s) canned black beans, rinsed and drained    
  • 1/4 cup(s) black coffee, strong    
  • 1/2 cup(s) unsalted butter    
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate    
  • 4 large egg(s)    
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) sugar    
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract    
  • 1/8 tsp table salt    
  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour    


- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9- X 13-inch pan with cooking spray; line with aluminum foil and coat foil with cooking spray.
- In a blender or mini food processor, process beans with coffee until smooth; set aside.
- In a double boiler over very low heat, melt butter and chocolate.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low speed, add melted chocolate to eggs; incorporate well. Add black bean mixture, vanilla and salt; mix well. Add flour; combine thoroughly on low speed.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester inserted in center of brownies comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. After 10 minutes, remove brownies from pan by pulling up on foil and placing brownies on cooling rack to cool more. Cut into 24 pieces and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

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