When I think of Brazil, I immediately think of the amazing meals I’ve eaten there.
And when I think of Brazilian food, visions of feijoada dance through my head.
For good reason: in Brazil, “feijoada brasileira” is considered by many to be the
This delectable meal has its roots as a typical dish cooked in many former Portuguese
colonies such as Brazil, Macau, Angola, Mozambique and Goa (India).
However, the recipe varies slightly from country to country.
The name comes from feijão, Portuguese for “beans”.
The basic ingredients of traditional feijoada are beans with fresh pork or beef–but we
are veganizing this staple, so no meat will be included in this recipe.
(“Feijão com arroz” is their rice and black beans without the addition of the meat.)
In Brazil, feijoado is typically prepared over a low fire in a thick clay pot.
The taste is strong, moderately salty but not spicy.
Brazilians take their feijoada seriously and so do we.
When we’re there, you’ll often find us prowling the streets, searching for the best feijoada
spots to try.
Smiling cooks and waiters beckon us inside to taste their culinary delights.
Traditionally, feijoada is meant to serve a large group of family and friends, and preparation
often begins a day or two before it is time to gather.
Usually, Brazilian-style rice, vegetables such as collard greens (“couve a mineira”) or assorted
root vegetables, hot pepper sauce and farofa (toasted manioc meal) grace the table and round
out the feast.
In Bahia, vegetables such as cabbage, kale, potatoes, carrots, okra, pumpkin, chayote and
and banana are sometimes added to the feijoada at the end of cooking.
Fresh orange wedges are usually served with this hearty meal to assist digestion.
I adapted the traditional feijoada for my vegan palate so no meat has been included in
this recipe, however, vegan sausages, tempeh or baked tofu could be added to the meal as a
I prefer to serve baked, marinated portabella mushrooms with my feijoada bean stew.
Brazilian Feijoada, Vegan Style
1 1/2 pounds black turtle beans
1/3 cup chopped parsley
3 cloves garlic, mashed
2 onions, finely chopped
1 rib kelp – broken into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
A pinch of black pepper
A sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Soak the black beans overnight in cold water.
Place the beans in a large, heavy pot.
Cover with filtered water.
Simmer beans for at least 2 hours, or until beans are cooked but firm.
Add the kelp and bay leaf to the beans and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add hot water as needed to maintain an inch of water over the beans.
Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until soft and golden.
Add the parsley, and season with the cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
Add 3/4 cup of the beans mixture to the pan.
Next, mash the beans with the onions.
Add this mixture back to the beans in the pot.
Add red pepper flakes.
Simmer 30 minutes.
Turn off heat and allow beans to sit for an hour.
Pour the feijoada beans into a serving bowl.
Round out the meal with separate bowls of Brazilian-style rice, collard greens, steamed root
vegetables, farofa, pepper sauce and orange slices.
Of course, no Brazilian meal is complete without a dish of farofa on the table.
Add a platter of baked, marinated portabella mushrooms to round out your vegan feast,
if you like.
Now dig in.
Eat to your heart’s content.
Are you a fan of black beans?
What are your favorite ways to prepare them?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.
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