Venezuelan Black Bean Arepas con Queso (20g protein)
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Our vegetarian arepas recipe is inspired by traditional Venezuelan arepas recipes. Arepas are small cornmeal flatbreads fried gently and topped with all sorts of yummy goodies.
While these are usually meaty, ours are totally meat free – topped with a delicious black bean mix, homemade guac and feta.
Arepas make a great lunch or dinner. They don’t take long to make, and they’re kind of like tacos in that they’re fun to put together, a great meal to make with friends.
Healthy Vegetarian Arepas con queso recipe
Of course, this is a healthy arepas recipe! Simple, healthy food is what we do best, and this is no exception.
We have made sure each serving of vegetarian arepas has a good amount of protein and fibre, not much fat or sugar, and a healthy serving of fresh veggies.
The protein comes to about 20g per serving, and is mostly supplied by the black beans. Beans are a great source of plant based protein, containing around 15g per cup, as well as other nutrients such as iron, phosphorus, folate and magnesium.
They are also super fibrous, and supply part of the 18g fibre per serving that this meal provides. Fibre is important to help regulate your digestion, and to keep you feeling full after eating. 18g fibre makes this a super filling meal that will keep you going for hours!
By using low fat feta and only a teaspoon of oil, we manage to keep fat levels fairly low, at 15g each, of which only 3g is saturated (check out these low fat vegetarian recipes for more low fat options!). The majority of that fat will come from the avocados in the guacamole.
The fat in avocados is a healthy kind of fat, and avos are generally full of goodness – so don’t be afraid of those 15g! The idea that low/no fat makes for healthy food is pretty outdated, because your body needs a certain amount of fats to function.
That’s why we keep saturated fat low, but don’t avoid unsaturated fats entirely! And where better to get your daily fat intake from than creamy dreamy avocados?
You could also try eating these black bean arepas as part of a weight loss meal plan. They are filling, healthy and at 486 kcal per serving, a light, but decent sized, meal!
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How to make arepas
Easy peasy! The dough is just cornmeal, broth and onion powder, mixed together and left to rest for a while.
The black beans are fried up with onions, thyme and cumin, and the guac is just avo, lemon and parsley mashed together. If you fancy, you could make these into stuffed arepas and use the bean mix as your arepas filling.
Either shape the dough into patties around a small scoop of filling, or make thicker arepas, slice them in half and fill them like you would a sandwich.
We prepared them by shaping the dough into patties and frying until golden, then topping with beans, guac, crumbled feta and cilantro. Couldn’t be easier!
Arepas for everyone
Did you know cornmeal is gluten-free? So this recipe is already gluten-free, as the flatbreads are cornmeal based!
And for vegan arepas, just skip the feta or replace it with nutritional yeast or your fave vegan cheese alternative.
Once you’ve tried Venezuelan-inspired vegetarian arepas, why not travel up the American continent and try something Mexican-inspired, like these huevos rancheros, or these vegetarian tacos.
- ⅔ cup cornmeal
- Salt to taste
- ⅓ cup vegetable broth
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp oil
- ½ small white onion
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup black beans (cooked or canned)
- ½ tsp cumin, ground
- ½ tsp thyme, dried
- ½ small avocado (or ⅓ large avocado)
- 1 big handful parsley, fresh (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 oz low fat feta cheese (queso fresco or cotija, crumbled)
- cilantro/coriander, fresh (for serving)
- In a medium bowl add the cornmeal, salt, ¼ cup of hot vegetable broth, onion powder and mix. You should get a soft pliable hydrated dough, if it’s too dry add a little extra broth. Mix until fully incorporated and allow to rest for 10 minutes.⅔ cup cornmeal, ⅓ cup vegetable broth, ½ tsp onion powder, Salt to taste
- Divide the dough in two and form two round patties (the arepas) that are about 1 cm (0.4 inch) thick.
- In a large non-stick pan over high heat add 1 tsp of oil and the arepas. Cook over high heat until they are golden on both sides, then turn the heat to low and allow to continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes per side.1 tsp olive oil
- Dice the onion and add to a nonstick pan with a small drizzle of oil. Cook at medium low heat until the onion becomes translucent.½ small white onion, 1 tsp oil
- Add the beans, cumin, thyme and salt. Mix and cook for 3 minutes. Add black pepper per taste.1 cup black beans, ½ tsp cumin, ground, ½ tsp thyme, dried
- Meanwhile, in a bowl add the avocado, parsley, ¼ tsp of salt, lemon juice and ¼ cup of water. Mash until smooth, if necessary add a little extra water.½ small avocado, 1 big handful parsley, fresh, 1 tsp lemon juice
- Fill or top the arepas with black beans, green sauce, crumbled feta and cilantro leaves.2 oz low fat feta cheese, cilantro/coriander, fresh