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Traditional South American Recipes for Beans

Regional South American Recipes that Feature Beans


Beans are abundant in South America, and an important part of the cuisine. Every country seems to have its own preferred variety of bean, and a traditional recipe to go with it. Beans are nutritious and economical, and the leftovers are delicious the next day, wrapped in a tortilla for lunch. Enjoy this list of typical South American recipes that feature the humble frijol, and remember that canned beans make quick work of those long-simmering, traditional recipes.

1. Brazilian Feijoada

Marian Blazes
Feijoada is essentially Brazil's national dish. It takes more than a day to prepare, and it's best enjoyed at a weekend gathering of family and friends. Black beans are the star of feijoada, and they are combined with various smoked meats and many special accompaniments.

2. Tacu Tacu

Marian Blazes
Tacu Tacu is a classic Peruvian dish in which leftover beans and rice are formed into patties and fried, and then served with more delicious fried things (like fried steak and fried plantains), and then the whole thing is topped off with a fried egg, just for good measure.

3. Pabellon Criollo

Marian Blazes
Pabellón Criollo is a main course rice and beans dish from Venezuela. The beef, rice, and beans are cooked separately and arranged on a platter to resemble the stripes of a tri-colored flag (the word pabellón means flag).

4. Colombian Red Beans and Rice

Marian Blazes
This is a quick version, using canned beans, of traditional Colombian slow-cooked beans. These beans are so delicious, even in their shortcut form, that they make a great main course. Serve them over rice, and use the leftovers for burritos or nachos.

5. Colombian Coconut Lentils and Rice - Arroz con Lentejas y Coco

Marian Blazes
This Colombian side dish of lentils and rice is unique for it's delicious coconut flavor. The rice is cooked in coconut milk, which adds a sweet touch that compliments the nutty taste of the lentils.

6. Plato Paceño - La Paz Lunch Plate of Fried Cheese, Beans & Potatoes

Marian Blazes
This dish is named for the Bolivian capital, La Paz. It is a high carbohydrate, economical vegetable plate that will keep you going all day. In Bolivia this dish is made with super large lima beans called habas, which grow beautifully in the andes and are cooked fresh from the pod (and sometimes served still in the pod). Frozen lima beans are an easy substitute.

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