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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Bite-sized stories: Leona's quick 'n easy beans

We have featured ambitious bakers and seasoned chefs, but even these people, like most of us, sometimes need a quick and nutritious no-fuss meal. We can’t all be pro-chefs for three meals a day, seven days a week, four weeks a month, all the months in a semester. Luckily, Leona Tu is a pro when it comes to packing in healthy calories in just a few minutes, for now and for leftovers. Right now, her new go-to is beans. 

Leona was always the typical avocado toast-er first thing in the morning before hitting the reading room. Efficient and practical, she almost has her breakfast down to a science. Whole wheat bread gets popped into the toaster oven as she boils one or two eggs, all while still getting ready for the day. But now, as a second semester senior, her migration pattern is all out of whack; she’s still in her natural habitat, with her head buried in her books in Tisch Library, but now she’s spending more time in the kitchen too, taking a few minutes to cook beans. She’s even added more seasonings to her avocado toast, including everything bagel seasoning and sriracha

Thankfully, it’s easy enough to repurpose all the same spices — cayenne, oregano, garlic powder, salt, peppercorn — used to accompany fresh avocado to season legumes. The recipe Leona uses to cook her beans originated from seniorJaclyn Tsiang, who started the whole bean trend just by bringing beans to a potluck brunch a year ago. The beans start simply, with olive oil in a non-stick pan. As the pan heats up, Leona grabs her can of beans and pops open the pull-top; some people swear by Goya beans (Alice) but the most bang for your buck comes from using dried beans (Maddie) that can be bought in bulk. Since Leona likes her beans more whole than mushy, she drains most of the water out of the can and pours them all into the now sizzling skillet. Stirring constantly to both prevent the beans from sticking to the pan and evenly heat them all, all the spices go in, simply to personal taste. After a couple minutes, the beans are soft,cooked through and ready to be enjoyed! Leona usually serves them alongside spinach, chicken breast and microwave-steamed vegetables. 

Maybe you’ve guessed it by now, but Leona specifically cooks with black beans. However, just because she hasn’t ~bean~ adventurous with other legumes yet doesn’t mean you can’t! The ambiguity of our star, the bean, is a testament to the fact that a pinto or cannellini bean could easily take its place. Choice of bean aside, you could also throw in some additional onion, or even bell pepper. As her first foray into cooking, beans have quickly become a staple in Leona’s diet, which hopefully encourages others to start cooking more dishes out of their norm!