Category Archives: Beans and Other Legumes

Grilled Fava Beans

For the most part I’m a lazy cook, which is why I don’t get along too well with fava beans.

If you have it in you to shuck the beans from the pod, simmer them briefly and then peel each and every single bean, more power to you.  You are now ready to make some elegant little appetizer that will be gone in two bites, like this fava bean and arugula crostini or that fava and ricotta bruschetta.  (That second recipe recommends having a friend do the work for you, which is at least a step in the right direction.)

If you don’t have it in you to do all that work, this recipe is for you.  It neatly foists the labor of excavating the tender beans straight onto your guests, providing a lively to start to your dinner party as your guests roll up their sleeves and forge a camaraderie based on their mutual amazement at your laziness.  Provide a tiny bowl of good salt for dipping the beans, napkins, and a bowl for discarded pods and bean skins.Grilled Fava Beans Continue reading

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Pesto Pasta with Beans and Greens

The lifestyle indulgences I go in for might seem quirky, I admit.  In some ways I’m frugal: our cars are old, I usually upgrade my wardrobe only when actual holes in my clothing require it, and we’ll probably never update our very-1980’s kitchen.  But other times, I splurge indiscriminately: finding myself in a new grocery bulk section last week, I bought a bag of every unfamiliar dried bean there.

Yellow beans!  Pink beans!  Speckled beans!  Tiny beans!  And more, many more.  I have only one source to blame for this new obsession: Rancho Gordo.   A local shop carries their beans, which have opened my eyes to the wide world beyond black and white beans, familiar pintos and chickpeas.  I have fallen down the dried-bean rabbit hole and I like it here.Pasta with Beans and GreensThat charmer pictured above is Rancho Gordo’s Ojo de Cabra, a meaty beauty of a bean so succulent that I kept plucking them from the bubbling pot despite the peril to my fingertips.  Like all beans, they’re even better the next day, and that’s when I suggest that you make this pasta.

This dish is fine and dandy with drained canned white beans (maybe add a little chopped fresh rosemary in that case), but it is even better as a showcase for an excellent bean if you cook it yourself and use a few scoops of the bean broth to finish cooking your pasta.

Do you have a favorite bean, or an unusual recommendation that I should seek out?  Please tell me! Continue reading

Black Bean Enfrijoladas

Today I’m here to offer you another version of my favorite black bean chilaquiles.  The original recipe gives you a riot of textures and bright flavors: the salty crunch of tortilla chips, lime, feta, chunky salsa, cilantro, a drizzle of crema, maybe even a few crisp radishes, all supported by a spicy puree of black beans, smoky chipotles, and garlic.  A bowl of those chilaquiles is one of my favorite foods.

But some days call for something a little simpler, a little healthier, and a heck of a lot less work.  On those days, lately, I’ve been making this version of the recipe instead.  The backbone of the dish, the spicy black bean puree, is unchanged from the earlier recipe.  But once the beans are ready, I don’t fuss with the little bowls of assorted toppings or with baking or frying the tortillas into chips.  Instead, I just dunk warm corn tortillas into the beans and then fold them into quarters right on our plates, topping them with a scoop of salsa, avocado, a handful of toasted pine nuts, and a dusting of cilantro.  With a salad alongside, dinner is served.Black Bean Enfrijoladas Continue reading

Spiced Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions (Mejadra)

I recognize that early January is a time of year traditionally reserved for repentance and asceticism, but I’ve never been much good at either of those.  After many years of making my never-changing Annual New Year’s Resolution (yeah, I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours), this year I didn’t make one at all.

So while better women are perfecting their green smoothie technique or annoying the regulars at the gym, I’ve been getting over my fear of deep frying.Lentils and Rice with Fried OnionsAnd I’m so glad I did.  This dish is spectacular for a few reasons.  The flavors are deep and rich and sweet, beautifully spiced but not at all spicy.  You probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboard, but I bet it won’t cost you $2 if you have to restock anything for this recipe.  And the leftovers just get better and better as the days go by. Continue reading

Cabbage Soup with Sauerkraut, White Beans, and Tiny Rye Croutons

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present the next contender in my happy lineup of drab-looking-but-crazy-tasty soupsCabbage Soup with Sauerkraut and White BeansOh, what’s that you say?  The soup doesn’t look half bad with those perky green bits on there?  Well, those are little kale specks that I sprinkled on for the photo because I had no dill or parsley in my fridge.  For you, friends, a splash of color, since I have a feeling that all-brown soups, even if deserving, are not adequately appreciated by the food-blog-reading public.  (Oh, I crack myself up.  It’s hard to take my perceived obligations as a food blogger seriously sometimes.  Most times.  I mean, I can’t even get into Pinterest.)  And those little green specks just scream, “this soup is deserving!”…don’t they?  (Do they?)

In any case, the point is, I loved this soup.  I think you will too.  Continue reading

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Roasted Broccoli, and White Beans

Have you entered this week’s cookbook giveaway yet?  You have until Monday night to enter!

I have a soft spot for those unreasonably large Greek “gigantes” beans.  They’re lima beans, maybe?  They’re fat and meaty and they make their presence known.  Here they nestle into a soft bed of pasta and roasted vegetables.  Small white beans could be fun too, though, especially if you use a shell pasta shape and let them get lost in the pasta swirls.  Either way, the beans and pasta are elevated one step beyond peasant food by the sweet, flavorful roasted vegetables.  Serve with a bracing, crisp, lemony salad for a nice flavor and texture contrast.

Continue reading