Summer of the bean

Last week I declared to my husband that this will be the summer of the bean. I will be inspired by beans. I will eat beans whenever possible, either by cooking them myself or ordering them at restaurants. Richard agreed but couldn't help following it up with a Bean-O joke. So go ahead and crack your jokes, I can handle it.

But the fact is that beans are good for us. Or I read it somewhere anyway. Beans are a great source of protein and since my husband mainly only eats fish and soy proteins, I’m looking for something else that I can sink my teeth into on a regular basis when I eat dinner with him. Something nice and earthy with a crunch or a mush. Something that can go in salads, soups, stews, casseroles, or as a standalone dish. Something that can sit for hours in my crock pot. What’s better than a bean?

To prepare for this, I beaned up late last week and bought every bean I could find at Safeway, except not the red kidney beans because I read that they are toxic unless prepared properly. (Check out the FDA's Bad Bug Report, page 254 for valid consumer information.)

Needless to say, I left the red kidney beans on the shelf but I bought cans of pinto, cannellini, garbanzo, green, white, black, and veggie baked beans; bags of dried chickpeas, great northern beans, black eyed peas; and then some special Ramona Farms white tepary beans and garbanzos.

My first bean dish was slow-cooked black eyed peas and chicken gizzards. Yup, you read that right. It was incredibly delicious. (Here’s where I got the inspiration) Richard, as a pescatarian and all, could not eat the gizzards so I had yummy leftovers for nearly a week. It was also a delicious treat for Sadie since I didn’t put onions or anything dog toxic in it.

Share your bean recipe in the comments section below. If I try it out I’ll blog about it later this summer.

Have a beaniful day!


  1. Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

    From the book Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss—with adaptations
    Serves 6-8 Prep Time 10 minutes Total Time 4 hours or less
    Introduction Forget your “same old, same old” lentil soup and take a deep breath. Can you smell the cumin, the coriander, the whiff of cinnamon? Open your eyes and take in the burnt-orange glow of turmeric burnished with tomatoes and sweet paprika. Unlike dried beans, red lentils don’t need to be soaked before they’re cooked.

    2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (see Note)
    1 large onion (diced) (see Note)
    1 small carrot (minced) (see Note)
    1/3 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley stems and leaves (chopped)
    1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro stems and leaves (chopped)
    2 cloves garlic, minced or 1 tsp dried minced garlic
    1 tsp. ground ginger
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    1 tsp. ground turmeric
    1 tsp. sweet paprika
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1½ tsp. kosher salt or sea salt
    1 tsp. ground black pepper
    7 cups vegetable broth (see Note)
    1 can (about 20 ounces) crushed tomatoes (see Note)
    2 cups dried red lentils, picked over, washed, and rinsed
    ~Pinch of red-pepper flakes
    ~Juice of 1 lemon (see Note)

    1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and cook for another minute. Add the broth and tomatoes and heat to boiling.
    2. Pour the mixture into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in the lentils, cover the cooker, and cook for 4 to 5 hours on high, or 8 to 10 hours on low, until the lentils are tender. The lentils will break down. You can also puree ½ of the mixture or use a stick-blender on it for a smoother soup.
    3. Stir in the pepper flakes, lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro, cover, and cook on high for 10 minutes. Serve hot with pita bread or naan.
    If you don’t have a slow cooker, simply finish cooking the dish in the Dutch oven you start out using; the soup will be done much quicker, in about an hour or so.
    One onion is plenty for this recipe. Instead of the olive oil, onion, and carrot, I like to use a 12 oz bag of Kroger’s/Fry’s frozen Mirapoix-Style Blend (onion, celery, carrot). If you don’t have 7 cups vegetable broth, use 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth and 3 cups water (you can also use chicken stock, if you prefer). I like to use a quart of organic low-sodium vegetable broth, a 16 oz can of young coconut WATER, and a cup of plain water. Since canned tomatoes come in standard sizes of 14 1/2 and 28 ounces, not 20 ounces, use a 14 1/2-ounce can.

  2. Black bean soup recipe made with dried black beans and salsa

    1 pound black beans, rinse and sort beans. Soak overnight in 6-8 cups of cold water. Drain water
    and rinse.

    Saute 1 tbsp minced garlic, 3/4 cup chopped onions, and 4 ribs of celery (chopped) in 3 tbsp olive oil.

    Add 6 cups of hot water and 1 can of fat-free chicken broth (or vegetable broth) to drained and rinsed beans and vegetables. Add 1 bay leaf. (I also add 1 envelope of Sazon Goya–a seasoning.) Simmer gently with lid tilted until desired tenderness is reached (about 2 hours).

    Puree about 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup and then mix it back into the pot. (You may also mash the beans with a potato masher while beans are in the pot–I prefer this way.) If desired, add 2 cups diced cooked ham. At this point I add 2 cups diced, cooked carrots and a 16 oz. jar of mild salsa.

    Reheat and simmer for ½ hour, stirring occasionally.

    Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, plain yogurt, shredded cheese, or chopped green onions.
    Good with corn bread, tortilla chips, etc.

  3. My Red Pepper Hummus
    1 can no-salt garbanzo bean (chick peas) drain half of liquid
    2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp dry minced garlic)
    ½ teaspoons sea salt
    ¼ c lemon juice
    1/4 cup tahini, stirred well
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tsp sesame seeds
    1 roasted red pepper, diced

    Puree all except red pepper in blender. Stir well; add red pepper and mix through.
    Maybe be refrigerated or frozen. If freezing, allow to thaw in refrigerator and stir well.
    ** can also use ¼ c diced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil instead of red pepper


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