There’s no doubt that McDonald’s and similar fast-food chains can give you a “value”—for $3 you could get yourself a double cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake, which is hard to beat when it comes to fast food. (Although, if you’re in Chinatown, you could get a delicious Vietnamese sandwich with real veggies and lean meat or tofu for $3…) I’ve been somewhat of a thrift-detective since I accepted a new part-time job that allows me more time for grad school, but less money for my food budget. As promised, I’m going to be delivering some new recipes that are super-budget friendly and give a whole lot more value than the aforementioned fast foods.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve already been a huge fan of the black bean. Sometimes I find myself rattling off black bean recipes like Forrest Gump’s Bubba in his shrimp soliloquy…Black bean burgers. Black bean Soup. Cuban Black bean and yam stew…And today, I have yet another black bean recipe for you—the delicious Jamaican black bean and coconut cornbread bake. There’s a reason I’m so excited about the legume noir. Fiber, protein, antioxidants, polyphenols, folate, magnesium, iron…the benefits of the black bean go on and on. And the cost? I bought a 10 pound bag of black beans for $10 from MarketBasket about six months ago (which also influenced my plethora of black bean recipes). Dried beans double in size after they are soaked and boiled, so this means I’m getting about a cup of black beans for 25 cents. Not too shabby. I found this recipe on Vegetarian Times website, and adapted a little. I substituted one sweet potato, which I cubed, peeled, and roasted in oven, instead of the frozen corn that the recipe called for. I served it up alongside a serving of sautéed collard greens ($1.79 at MarketBasket for a huge bunch that ended up being about 6 servings.) After doing the math, I calculated this recipe to cost about $1.39 per serving (this doesn’t include the spices, which are just too difficult to factor in).

$1.39! For a heart-healthy, vitamin-packed serving of home-cooked goodness. That’s a real value meal.


Black bean and coconut cornbread bake