Rich And Hearty Meat-free Mexican Pie

Hadley Nunes moved to Kailua with her family in 1997 when she was 17, started her first year of college at Hawaii Pacific University that fall, and eventually graduated from San Francisco Art Institute and Smith College. She went on to be a performance artist with Moving Theater, a dance and theater company in New York , and completed her MFA at New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture.

After nearly a decade in New York, Hadley returned to Oahu with a desire to find new ways of connecting local artists with an international audience, and at Lana Lane Studios, a creative industry hub in Kakaako, she was able to do just that.

Hadley is working on her painting and a new exhibition project, PRESENT, that is slated for September in the neighborhood. PRESENT is a monthlong residency project that will raise funds for arts education in the state through five commissioned works during the project’s duration. She also has an exhibition on view through March at Hawaiian Airlines called Still Life: Arrangements & Layers Through Time.

Here Hadley shares one of her favorite recipes with MidWeek readers.

The history of the black bean, a variety of the kidney bean, dates back about 7,000 years as a staple source of protein in the diets of Central and South Americans. The bean has a rich and hearty flavor.

Black beans are low in fat and sodium (rinse any liquid from canned), have no cholesterol, and are an excellent source of fiber, folate and protein. They also contain calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B and magnesium. When combined with whole grains such as brown rice, they make a complete protein.


Chop and sauté:

* 1 large sweet onion
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/3 cup olive oil (may use less, or use cooking spray for lower fat)


* 2 cups yellow cornmeal
* 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
* 1 15-ounce can organic black beans

Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

In a large bowl, mix:

* 2 eggs
* 1 cup milk
* 2 cups frozen or fresh corn


* 1 can sliced California black olives
* 1 teaspoon salt (may omit or use less for low-sodium diets)
* 2 tablespoons chili powder

Combine everything and pour into a casserole dish.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees until firm and the top is nicely browned. Serve plain or with sour cream, salsa, chopped green onions, fresh cilantro, avocado and grated Cheddar.

Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.