If you're an omnivore, tossing a ham bone or hock into the beans is a great way to add flavor (see Kathryn's recipe for Cuban Black Bean Soup). But vegetarian beans can be a little trickier. Before we came across Kemp's Black Beans, we tried countless combinations of spices, sauces and other ingredients, but our beans always fell a bit short. Enter the holy trinity of vegetarian black beans: sherry, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. It may sound a little odd, but trust us – this recipe delivers the most flavor-packed vegetarian black beans we've ever tasted. In fact, it's now the only one we use. Until the very end, the recipe is pretty standard: dried beans, onions, a little oil, salt and water. Once the beans are soft and tender, you add the sherry, soy sauce and balsamic and cook for a few more minutes. The result is a deeply flavored pot of beans – a little sweet, tangy and salty with lots of umami. Kemp also has some great recommendations for toppings to dress up the beans and turn them into a complete meal – roasted sweet potato cubes, pumpkin seeds, avocado, lime wedges, chopped onion, tomatillo salsa and cilantro. Now that's our kind of burrito bowl! We paired this batch of beans with brown rice, toasted pumpkin seeds and roasted pumpkin cubes. We used a Red Kuri pumpkin, an heirloom variety with a sweet flavor.
Recipe: Yam and Black Bean Burritos (Images: Joanna Miller)