Loving the BITE: Black Beans & Rice w/ Mango


If you’re a Loving the Bite reader, you may be asking yourself, where’s the bean been?  Or, maybe not.  Nevertheless, black beans shine as this week’s highlighted ingredient.  For daily nutrition, not many foods top beans.  They are full of healthy nutrients and contain very few components, if any, that aren’t healthy.  And, while beans may not stand out to you as a specific food needed by cyclists, they simply promote health.  And, of course, healthy bodies ride better.

Recipe of the week:  Black Beans & Rice w/ Mango (Vegetarian)


  • 1 Cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 4 Cups Black Beans (2 15 oz cans rinsed and drained)
  • 1 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano, crushed
  • 1 – 2 Cups fresh mango, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1.5 Cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions: (prep: 10 minutes, cook: 20 minutes)

  1. Chop red pepper & onion.  Mince garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil on med heat; Add onion, pepper, and garlic.  Cook and Stir 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add beans, water, oregano, & crushed red pepper; bring to boiling.  Reduce heat, cover & simmer 10 minutes.  Salt to taste.
  4. Optionally, add in a cooked meat source such as chicken, and avocado slices.
  5. To serve, spoon bean mixture over quinoa or brown rice in individual serving bowls.  Top with mango.

Yield:  6-8 servings

Why black beans?

It’s simple.  Beans are some of the healthiest foods in the world.  And black beans, specifically, offer some of the highest amounts of nutrients.  They provide fiber, protein, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and flavanoids without any of the unhealthy components that come along with many protein sources. Here are the details:

First, black beans provide special support for digestive tract health, and particularly our colon. The indigestible fraction (IF) in black beans is larger than the IF in lentils, chickpeas, or other beans. Research has shown the IF of black beans to be the perfect mix of substances for allowing bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid. Cells lining the inside of the colon can use this butyric acid to fuel their many activities and keep the lower digestive tract functioning properly. By delivering a greater amount of IF to the colon, black beans are able to help support this lower part of our digestive tract.  Your digestive tract is the gateway of health – from foods to nutrients to your blood stream.  Don’t neglect it.

Next, there’s protein – and, as an athlete, you need it.  Every ½ cup of black beans provides approximately 8 grams of protein.  When combined with a high-protein grain-seed like quinoa, you’ve got a meals’ worth of vegetarian protein on your plate.  And, although this type of protein is not my first choice for “recovery” after training, it’s a perfect slow-acting protein for daily nutrition. What’s more, black beans offer a great carbohydrate-protein balance.

Thirdly, they are full of health-promoting phytonutrients, and they even contain more than was previous thought.  Recent research has recognized black beans as a strong contender in phytonutrient benefits – the outer coat is an outstanding source of three anthocyanin flavonoids: delphinidin, petunidin, and malvidin. These three anthocyanins are primarily responsible for the rich black color that we see on the bean surface. Kaempferol, quercetin, ferulic, sinapic, chlorogenic acid, and numerous triterpenoids are additional flavonoids provided by black beans. All of these flavonoids have well-demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection is especially important for our cardiovascular system. When our blood vessels are exposed to chronic and excessive risk of oxidative stress (damage by overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) or inflammation, they are at heightened risk for disease development.

In fact, black beans come in first place among beans in terms of antioxidant activity.  Then, they contain about 10 times the amount of overall antioxidants in an equivalent serving size of oranges and similar to the amount found in an equivalent serving size of grapes, apples and cranberries.  Athletes need high amounts of antioxidants.

What’s all this mean?  Decreased diabetes risk, decreased cardiovascular disease risk, reduced oxidative stress, reduced cancer risk (especially colon cancer), better digestion, and improved overall health.  Not bad.

If you’re intimidated by the soaking and cooking of beans, don’t be, it’s easy.  My favorite way to cook dried beans in the in the slow cooker.  First, place 1 pound beans in a bowl.  Fill with water (enough water to be double or triple the height of the beans in the bowl) and soak overnight.  Soaking beans increases the availability of the nutrients by reducing the amount of phytates and tannins – it also decreases some of the gas-producing substances.

Then, drain the beans and place them in a slow cooker.  Add about 10 cups of fresh water.  Cook on low 8-10 hours, or until tender.

If you’ve been waiting for a bean recipe, you’re wait is officially over.  If you’re not a bean-lover, it’s still a good idea to try to incorporate more into your diet whenever possible.  Black beans are versatile and add flavor and nutrition to Mexican Food dishes, Black Bean burgers, and more.  They can be the protein portion or the carbohydrate portion of your meal, or both.  Eat them in place of grains for a more satisfying and health-promoting side dish.

Although you may want your meal to amount to more than a hill of beans, you’re in for a treat with black beans, quinoa and mango.  Fuel your body with healthy foods day to day, and you’ll become a better cyclist.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.


Enjoy Your Ride


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5 Responses to “ Loving the BITE: Black Beans & Rice w/ Mango ”

  1. chlorella on July 6, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Yet there are in addition side effects involved with many of the colon cleansing pills and products. There is a concoction of  Cascara Sagrada, turkey rhubarb, bentonite clay, slippery elm, aloes, flax seeds, Senna, wormseed, black seeds, olive leaf extract, thyme oil powder, garlic extract, certified organic clove and peppermint marketed as Bowtrol. Bowtrol consists of a program of capsules taken over a month. A number of people have experienced bloating and cramps after using it. Bowtrol and related colon cleansing products have the possibility to upset your body’s liquid balance leading to dehydration.

  2. PedalmanTO on May 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

     Look forward to trying this next week. I can set it all up in the morning and by the time I get home from work it’s just putting it all together. Love it!

    • Kelli on May 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      Yep, this one’s super easy prep.  And, lots of different fruit work well with it if you don’t have mangos – peaches and pineapples are both awesome toppers…

  3. Amanda Gale Kotyk on May 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you for this recipe and all the info, Kelli!!  I’m so excited to try this!!  I’ve been looking for good vegetarian recipes for my 14 month old, as he seems to prefer beans over meat (he loves black beans….most of the time).  I just want to make sure he’s getting a balanced diet, and that the big kids love what I cook as well.  This recipe looks as if it could be a hit for everyone….and with ingredients that I always have at home! 
    Thanks again!

    • Kelli on May 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      You’re very welcome Amanda! I like it b/c I can eat it vegetarian and add some cooked chicken for my husband who wants meat.  Quinoa is considered a complete protein seed, so you’ll get enough either way.  Enjoy! 


    January 2023
    M T W T F S S


Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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