Borlotti bean mole with winter squash and kale

January 7, 2016 at 5:03 pm (101 cookbooks, B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, One pot wonders, Uncategorized, Winter recipes)

I made this 101cookbooks recipe right before I left for Israel last month, when I wanted to use up some steamed kale and some roasted squash.  I only had one serving, but I quite enjoyed it. I thought the dish was extremely hearty and flavorful, and made a great one-pot dinner. Beans and greens and chocolate. How can you go wrong?  I’ll definitely be trying it again. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two C^4 Ottolenghi recipes with chickpeas, chard, caraway, and cilantro

September 12, 2015 at 10:04 am (B plus, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Ottolenghi)

I got Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook from Derek’s father a few weeks ago, and Derek looked through it and chose a recipe for a swiss chard, chickpea and tamarind stew. The stew is seasoned with caraway seeds, cilantro, and yogurt among other things. But then when I went to make it I looked it up in the index and found a different recipe— also a chickpea and chard sauté, which is seasoned with caraway seeds, cilantro, and yogurt, among other things. We stuck with the tamarind stew, but then made the sauté a few days later.

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Giant black bean salad with honey jalapeño lime dressing

May 3, 2015 at 10:22 pm (101 cookbooks, B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Quick weeknight recipe, Salads)

Derek’s parents brought us four pounds of giant black beans from Rancho Puerto. They’re big and meaty and delicious plain, but I thought they might also make a nice salad. We went looking for a recipe and found this recipe for a giant black bean salad with a honey jalapeño lime dressing on 101cookbooks. We’ve tried various salads from the 101cookbooks website before, and usually haven’t found them that inspiring, but everyone really liked this one. The dressing is a nice balance of sweet and spicy and tart, and it goes great with all the other ingredients (black beans, arugula, feta, and toasted almonds), each of which adds an essential taste and texture.

The only criticism I have of the recipe is that the amounts seem off. We had more than 2 to 3 “large handfuls” of arugula, but it wasn’t nearly enough greens for that amount of beans. And it seemed like there was more almonds and dressing than we needed for 3 cups of beans, although perhaps if we had had more greens, we would have used up all the dressing.

I don’t know how this recipe would be with regular small black beans, but I’d like to try it, as I can’t get my hands on giant black beans very often.

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Yam and Peanut Stew with Kale

November 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, Fall recipes, Middle East / N. Africa, One pot wonders, Root vegetables, soup, Uncategorized, unrated, Website / blog, Winter recipes)

My sister loves this recipe for a yam and peanut stew with kale, and has recommended it to me several times. She mentioned it again last week and coincidentally I had (almost) all the ingredients on hand (everything but the roasted and salted peanuts and the scallions). Hanaleah said that I could leave off both, since they’re just garnishes. So I decided to make it for dinner.

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Bean, barley, cabbage stew with bear garlic pesto

April 12, 2014 at 10:21 pm (101 cookbooks, Beans, Beans and greens, Derek's faves, Grains, Miso, One pot wonders, soup, unrated, Vegetable dishes)

I found some small red beans in the Turkish store near my house last week. I snapped them up, excited to add something a bit different to my usual rotation (black beans, cranberry beans, kidney beans, white beans, lentils, various kinds of dals, chickpeas, and split mung beans). I cooked up a big pot of red beans, then had to figure out how to make a full dinner out of them. I searched all my cookbooks for recipes for red beans (with the convenient eatyourbooks.com website) and found this 101cookbooks recipe for a farro and bean stew. Amazingly, I had (almost) all the ingredients.

The recipe looked pretty plain. It’s just veggies and beans and grains without any spices or herbs, not even garlic—the only seasoning is salt. So I decided to use the Bärlauch I had in the fridge to make a Bärlauch pesto. I tried to look up what Bärlauch is called in the states, and found a number of translations. Wikipedia says “Allium ursinum – known as ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic – is a wild relative of chives native to Europe and Asia.” It’s a broad, bright green leaf that tastes strongly of garlic, and (as I discovered this week) lasts quite a long time in the fridge! I had it in a plastic bag in the fridge all week and it didn’t seem at all the worse for the waiting. Read the rest of this entry »

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Escarole and beans in tomato sauce

October 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm (B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Fall recipes, Italian, Meyer & Romano, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

Derek and I used to love the escarole and beans appetizer at Girasole in Pittsburgh.  It consisted of braised escarole and white beans in a rich tomato sauce.  It was hearty, warming, and satisfying.  I hadn’t thought about it for years, until this week I saw a green that looked a lot like escarole at the farmer’s market.  I asked the farmer what it was and he called it “Endivien”–the German word for endive.  I asked him if you could cook with it and he said Germans only ever eat it raw in salads.  But it looked similar enough that I decided to try making escarole and beans with it.  There are tons of recipes online for escarole and white bean soup, and a few for escarole and bean dishes, but none seem to call for tomato sauce.  So I decided not to try to follow a recipe.  Nonetheless, my beans and greens came out quite well.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Red lentil soup with lemon and spinach

December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm (101 cookbooks, Beans, Beans and greens, B_, Dark leafy greens, Deborah Madison, Fall recipes, Indian, soup, Spring recipes, Winter recipes)

I already have two go-to red lentil soup recipes (Turkish and curried), but somehow I wasn’t in the mood for either of them, and I decided to try a new recipe instead.  This recipe is from 101cookbooks, and based on a recipe from Deborah Madison.  I followed the recipe closely except that instead of a bunch of spinach I used a bag of mixed greens (baby spinach, arugula, and baby chard).  I didn’t chop the leaves, which was probably a mistake as they ended up a bit stringy.  I didn’t serve the soup with brown rice, and we didn’t miss it.  We did try it with yogurt, and it seemed good both with and without the yogurt.

I don’t know why the recipe calls for yellow mustard seeds instead of the black ones that most Indian recipes call for.  And they’re not popped in hot oil.  I’ve actually never cooked with whole yellow mustard seeds before.  I had to go out and buy some!

I ended up using the juice of two lemons, which made the soup quite lemony.  The first day it was perhaps a bit too much lemon, but as leftovers it was fine — the lemon seemed to mellow down.

This soup is more Indian tasting than my other two red lentil soup recipes.  Derek said it tasted similar to other dals I’ve made in the past, but I thought all the lemon juice made it taste a bit unusual.  This recipe has a lot of turmeric and salt!  I used kosher salt but still I found the soup a tad too salty for my taste.  Derek was happy though.  He ate the soup for breakfast several days in a row.

I’ll definitely throw this recipe into my red lentil soup rotation.

Rating: B
Derek: B+

Update Feb 2013:  I recently tried a red lentil and coconut milk soup from Deborah Madison.   The recipe is actually titled “fragrant red lentils with basmati rice and romanesco.” In addition to the coconut milk, the lentils are seasoned with ginger, turmeric, jalapeños  onions, cayenne, bay leaf, and black mustard seeds.  The recipe also calls for romanesco, but I couldn’t find any so I used cauliflower  The cauliflower florets are sautéed with the same basic seasonings as the lentils, then everything is combined and garnished with cilantro and yogurt.  The recipe was fine, but it was more work than other red lentil recipes I’ve made, without being particularly exciting.  I won’t make it again.

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Green goddess lasagna with white bean sauce

February 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_, Dark leafy greens, Necessarily nonvegan, Pasta, Starches, Website / blog)

I cooked up a bit pot of white beans for the (not so successful) white bean salad.  I froze what I didn’t need for the salad, and then defrosted them this weekend.  For some reason I felt like eating lasagna, so I dug up this recipe for a vegetarian white lasagna with bean sauce.  It’s pretty similar to a traditional lasagna except it doesn’t have any tomato sauce and the white sauce is made from blended white beans, milk, and nutritional yeast. Read the rest of this entry »

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Warm white bean salad with sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella

February 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Necessarily nonvegan, Peter Berley, Salads, unrated, Winter recipes)

Derek chose this recipe from the winter section of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  I had a white bean and smoked cheese dish years ago at a friend’s place in Chicago.  It was excellent.  I was hoping that this dish would bring some of the same flavors together.  The technique is pretty simple.  You saute up carrots, celery, onions, garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, then add a little water and let the vegetables steam briefly.  Then the white beans, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and red wine vinegar are stirred in.  Finally you toss the whole thing with arugula and chopped parsley. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lemon mint lentil potato ragout

December 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm (AMA, B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Root vegetables, Starches)

The lentils and potato in this stew create a hearty base, while the lemon, mint, and feta add brightness and lots of flavor.  A bit of spinach adds more lovely green color, and more nutrients.  Based on a recipe in the AMA cookbook. Read the rest of this entry »

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Farro and yellow soybean risotto with spinach

March 24, 2010 at 12:33 am (B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Dark leafy greens, Grains, Italian, Peter Berley, Soybeans & edamame, Spring recipes, Starches)

It’s that time of year again.  As Passover approaches I try my best to do a Spring pantry cleaning, using up all the grains and beans that I purchased in the previous year but never got around to using.  I bought a large bag of dry yellow soybeans at the Asian store when I first moved to Saarbruecken, and I suspect that the two cups still in my cupboard are from that original batch.  I could have just cooked them up and eaten them with nutritional yeast and soy sauce, as I normally do, but I was in the mood for something different.  I looked around on the web, but found very few recipes, and almost nothing of interest.  The Farm Cookbook has a couple recipes for soybeans that I remember from my childhood, but the only one that I considered trying was the recipe for barbecued soybeans (kind of like baked beans).  Then I found this recipe in the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, by Peter Berley, for a risotto with black soybeans and spring white wheat.  I subbed in my yellow soybeans for the black ones, and used farro for the wheatberries.  The recipe also calls for fresh sage, but I used what I had on hand — fresh oregano.

The recipe says to cook the soybeans and wheat berries separately from the rice.  Perhaps because my soybeans were quite old, by the time the soybeans were soft, the farro was extremely well-cooked — with the innards exploding through the husks.  I didn’t have any vegetable broth, so I used bouillon cubes.  The recipe says to use 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, but I put in more oregano, and then after the dish was cooked, I put in about another Tbsp of fresh oregano.  (I think almost all fresh herbs taste best added at the very end.)  The recipe calls for 4 Tbsp olive oil, but I think I used 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1-2? Tbsp butter.  Berley says to stir in 1 Tbsp olive oil at the very end, but I tasted the risotto and it tasted so good I didn’t bother to add the extra olive oil.  I think I may have also reduced the salt.

Berley says to cook the risotto in a 2-3 quart saucepan, and I used my 3-quart wide casserole pan.  When it came to adding the spinach, however, it was extremely difficult to get it incorporated into the risotto.  Even just adding small handfuls at a time, it kept popping out and getting all over the place.  If I make this again, I’ll make it in either my big dutch oven or maybe in a 5-quart pan.

I really liked the combination of the arborio rice and the exploded farro kernels.  Berley calls the combination of arborio rice with whole grains and beans “new wave risotto”.  I actually think I might prefer it to the old wave.  There weren’t a lot of soybeans, and you couldn’t really taste them per se, but they added a nice textural contrast and a little…heft.  I’m usually not a big fan of spinach, but I actually really liked the spinach in this dish.  Derek always likes spinach, and as expected he thought it was good.  The first time I served it, he said it was tasty but he was a bit concerned about the quantity of risotto remaining.  Berley says it makes 4-6 servings, but I would say six very large servings.  Derek’s anxiety, however, was unfounded.  We easily polished off all six servings.  I actually wouldn’t have minded having it one more time!

Rating: B+
Derek: B+

Update:

I liked this recipe a lot, and I still had soybeans and farro left, so I decided to try another recipe from the Modern Vegetarian Kitchen:  Spelt, black soybeans, and vegetable casserole.  The casserole calls for carrots, mushrooms, celery, canned tomatoes and cabbage.  The combination didn’t sound particularly appetizing, but I liked the risotto so I figured it was worth a shot.  I cooked my (yellow) soybeans until soft, then added the farro and cooked until it was al dente.  Meanwhile I sauteed all the veggies until they started to caramelize.  (I used all the olive oil and salt called for.) Next Berley says to add the tomatoes and some of the cooking liquid from the grain/bean pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  It seemed like a bad idea.  At this point the cabbage was nice and crisp and caramelized, but I didn’t think the cabbage would be so appetizing after simmering it for 30 minutes.  I did it anyway.  In the end, I didn’t care for the dish that much.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it exactly, but neither Derek nor I were particularly interested in eating it.  It just was blah. We had one or two servings each, then I gave away the remaining quart of casserole/stew to a hungry grad student.

Rating: C

Update December 2010:

I made this recipe again, doubling it this time.   I was out of farro so used kamut instead.  Also I forgot to chop up the spinach, and the long, stringy pieces of spinach were pretty unappetizing.  The dish was also underseasoned this time.  Without enough salt and pepper it’s not nearly as tasty.  Derek wouldn’t even eat the leftovers–I had to finish them off myself.  I’ll have to try again with farro, chopped spinach, and enough seasoning.

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Whole wheat linguine with chard, tomatoes, and chickpeas

November 1, 2009 at 11:53 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, Cook's Illustrated, Dark leafy greens, Italian, My brain, Pasta, Starches, unrated)

This recipe is based on the cook’s illustrated beans and greens recipe.  I used to make it with collards or kale, but since I can’t get those greens here I made it with swiss chard and added tomatoes, which blend nicely with the acidity of the chard.  Normally I add kalamata olives but I didn’t have any so I added a few spoonsfuls of capers instead.  I didn’t have any white beans so subbed in chickpeas.

Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cloves garlic, 5 cloves sliced thin lengthwise, 3 cloves minced (1 Tbs.)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 medium red onion, diced small (about 1 cup)
1/2-2/3 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
20 ounces chard, stems halved lengthwise and sliced thinly and leaves sliced into ribbons
3/4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped (or 3 Tbs. capers)
10-12 ounces whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and sliced garlic in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring and turning frequently, until light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  2. Add onion and chard stems to pan; cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add half of chard to pan; using tongs, toss occasionally, until starting to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chard, broth, tomatoes, and salt; cover (pan will be very full); increase heat to high and bring to strong simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, tossing once, until chard is completely wilted. Stir in beans and olives or capers.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in dutch oven or 5-6 quart pan over high heat. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is just shy of al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the greens mixture to pasta, set over medium-high heat, and toss to combine. Cook until pasta absorbs most of liquid, about 2 minutes. Season with black pepper to taste.  Serve immediately, passing garlic chips and parmesan separately.

Note: By draining the pasta before its al dente, and finishing cooking in the brothy sauce, the pasta absorbs the flavors of the sauce and release its residual starch, which helps to thicken the sauce slightly.

Derek really loved this dish, even without the olives.  I thought it was reasonably flavorful, but I’m never as excited about beans and greens as he is.

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Ethiopian inspired vegetable stew

January 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_minus, Dark leafy greens, Vegetable dishes, Website / blog)

Derek really liked the last red lentil dish I made from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen, and I love Ethiopian food, so I thought I’d try SusanV’s Ethiopian inspired red lentil soup.

The recipe calls for a non-stick pan, but I used my stainless steel 3 quart saucepan, and added a tsp. of olive oil to saute the onion.  My choice of pan was a mistake however, as this recipe makes about 4 quarts of stew!  I wish SusanV had mentioned this when specifying a pan.  Once the lentils were done cooking and I had to add in all the vegetables I had to move the stew into my 6 quart casserole pan. I used frozen green beans and frozen spinach and canned tomatoes, but even so making the stew took longer than I had expected.  I didn’t want to mix up a large batch of berbere, so I thought I’d just add each spice directly to the pot.  SusanV says to add 1/8 tsp. of each spice, but that would only add up to about 1/2 Tablespoon of berbere, whereas the recipe calls for 2 to 3 Tablespoons.  I’m not sure why her numbers are off, but I added about 1/2 tsp. of each spice.  I added less than a quarter teaspoon of cloves and allspice, as these spices are much stronger than the others.  I was surprised that the recipe calls for them in the same quantities as the other spices.

The final dish is more like a thick, creamy vegetable stew than a red lentil soup.  The stew tastes very healthy and is pretty filling, and the flavor is fine, but the dish is a tad boring.  I served the dish with dosas and raita, and Derek said it was okay as a dosa filling, but not tasty enough to serve for company.  It’s possible that if I had made the berbere mix and put in the full amount of all the spices the flavor would have been better, but I doubt it.  It was actually pretty strongly seasoned, just not a terribly interesting seasoning.

Rating: B-

Derek: B-

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Pasta with spinach, white beans, and red peppers

November 10, 2006 at 7:50 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, F, Pasta, Quick weeknight recipe, Starches, Website / blog)

I was looking for a recipe with spinach and red peppers, both of which I have oodles of, and I found this recipe online. It looked suspiciously like one of those “easy but tasteless” recipes, but I figured I had enough produce to spare I could take the chance.

  • 4 ounces whole wheat pasta, measured dry
  • 1 cup raw spinach
  • 1 cup red bell peppers diced
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. parmesan cheese grated
  • 2/3 cup cooked white beans

Directions:
1. boil water & pasta
2. in pan toss all other ingredients with a little pasta water
3. spice with hot peppers flakes, cumin, oregano, or saffron

The dish looked very pretty–it had that pale red color of typical cream-based red sauces, or maybe a pimento-based sauce. But the mouthfeel was bad: the sauce tasted powdery for some reason? I used canned beans, and rinsed them well, but they were very mealy tasting. Blech. Also, I didn’t think it had nearly enough spinach. I added more oregano and pepper flakes to spice it up and now it’s certainly not bland, but still somewhat unappetizing to me. I took the second half for lunch today and I ate most of it but I really didn’t enjoy it.

Rating: D

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Chickpea and Spinach Curry

October 12, 2006 at 4:30 pm (B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Indian, Other, Quick weeknight recipe)

After Derek returned from Australia he suggested I check out “Bill’s” cookbooks. Apparently he ate at Bill’s restaurants a number of times in Sydney, and really enjoyed the food. This recipe is from Bill’s Open Kitchen by Bill Granger.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 or 2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup water
2 14 oz cans chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
500 g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
100 g (3 1/2 ounces) baby spinach leaves

Serve with: plain yogurt

Heat a large deep frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, chili and salt. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add the chickpeas, 1/4 cup water, cumin, turmeric and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until the water evaporates. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes to soften. Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning. Stir through the spinach and top with yogurt.

My Notes
Derek really loved this dish, and I thought it wasn’t bad. This curry is very fast and easy to make if you use canned chickpeas and pre-washed spinach.

I made this last night, using only 1 Tbs. olive oil, and regular mature spinach from my CSA. I didn’t have fresh tomatoes so used one 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, juice and all. I was also out of ginger. Despite my deficiencies, the curry was pretty good–and it even with less oil it was certainly rich enough in my opinion. I though it could use slightly more spinach, since it seemed to be mostly chickpeas. Also, I think the yogurt (or something creamy and bland) is essential to balance the flavors.

After making it a few more times, I recommend the following modifications. Use 1 Tbs. olive oil, 8 ounces of spinach, 2 green chilies with seeds, more garlic, and a full Tbs. or more of ginger. Also, depending on how salty your chickpeas are, you may want to cut the salt down to 1/2 tsp or 3/4 tsp. This makes about 4 main course servings.

This recipe makes about 4.5 cups and I found that 1.33 cups with 2/3 cup of nonfat yogurt makes a filling dinner. Together with the yogurt, using 1 Tbs of oil, it has 412 calories (18% fat, 21% protein, 61% carbs), and also 47% of calcium, 33% of iron, 43% of vit A, 67% of vitamin C, and 15.4g of fiber.

Rose: B
Derek: A-

Update March 2010:

I made this using 125 grams of baby spinach, 1 can of chickpeas, and 1 can of diced tomatoes.  Derek thought it needed more chickpeas.  He didn’t like it as much as he used to.  He lowered his rating to a B+.  I thought it was pretty similar to the previous versions, but I liked it with fewer chickpeas.  My main beef with this recipe is that it just doesn’t taste like a curry to me.  It’s pretty fresh and healthy tasting, and very easy to make.  But I just don’t love it.

Update August 2010:

I made this using 200 grams baby spinach, a large can of chickpeas (about 450 grams of cooked beans), 2 very large cloves of garlic, just a small nub of ginger minced (not grated), 1 medium red onion, 3/4 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. cumin,  3/4 tsp. cumin, 3 very hot Thai red chilies, 1 Tbs. olive oil, and about 300? grams of cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market.  At the end I stirred about 1 cup of nonfat yogurt directly into the skillet with the chickpeas and spinach.  The curry came out very spicy but quite tasty.  I just should have waited to stir in the yogurt, because the curry was too hot and my yogurt separated.  This time Derek rated it A- again, and I quite liked it quite a bit as well.  I think it’s much better with cherry tomatoes.  They really add a nice texture:  B+.

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White bean and beet green soup (B)

August 24, 2006 at 4:05 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_, Dark leafy greens, My brain, Quick weeknight recipe, soup)

Lately I’ve been too tired to cook much for dinner, and have just been throwing some white beans and veggies in a pot and calling it “soup.” But today my improvised soup came out better than normal.

a spray of canola oil
1 small dark green, mild chile pepper (don’t recall what type it was)
beet greens from one small bunch of beets (maybe 1/3 cup chopped greens?)
1/2 cup white beans + some of the bean cooking liquid
a little water

I let that cook for a bit until the pepper and greens were soft then added:
1/2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1/2 Tbs. parmesan cheese
some soysauce to taste

The beet greens went very well with the pepper and beans. I think it was better than the kale and white bean combo I had last night. The yeast and parmesan gave the soup a full body and flavor.

I tried making something similiar to this again today, but with kale. I forgot about it and let it boil on high for probably a good 10 minutes. The kale got that unappetizing color and flavor that is a common result of boiling it. The soup was edible but not great. When will I learn?

Update Oct 2007: I sauteed 1 mild 6-inch green chile in 1 tsp. olive oil, then threw in about 1.5 cups raw beet greens. I added 1 cup large white beans and 1/2 cup bean juice, plus 2 cups vegetable broth. When everything was cooked I added 1 Tbs. newt and 1/2 ounce parm. The beans were salted so it didn’t need soy sauce. The soup was unfortunately, pretty gross (for lack of a better word). The broth was almost like a thin nutritional yeast gravy–wrong texture for sure, and not even very tasty. Why, oh why, can’t I make beans and greens soup consistently?

Rating: B

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Simple Lentil Soup

June 5, 2006 at 7:08 am (Beans, Beans and greens, B_minus, Dark leafy greens, From a friend, Quick weeknight recipe, soup)

My friend Sara gave me this recipe for a very simple lentil soup.

Bring to a boil:
2 cups french lentils (I used whole red lentils)
1 head garlic, chopped
water

Add:
4-5 cups grated carrots
curry powder to taste (I used 2 tsp. homemade curry powder)
salt to taste (I used 1 tsp. salt)

Simmer until tender.

Sara adds: When I’m reheating for meals, I’ll add some kind of green like chard or spinach.

My notes: My 2 cups lentils made about 8 big bowls of soup, about 9-10 cups of lentils and broth. It cooked surprisngly quickly. I tasted it last night when I was starving and it’s simple tasting but it really hit the spot. This morning I quickly sauteed a small bunch of collards on high heat with a bit of water, then added the soup. It’s pretty plain, but tastes good. I know Derek would say it’s bland but it’s pretty fast and easy to make and very healthy (especially with the greens) so I might keep this recipe around and make it again just for myself. I could probably add chipotle powder to his and he’d like it 🙂

Rating: B-

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Hearty greens and beans with pasta

May 18, 2006 at 4:30 pm (A minus, Beans, Beans and greens, Cook's Illustrated, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Derek's faves, Pasta, Starches) ()

A big bowl of pasta, hearty greens, and beans can really hit the spot on those days when you’re just hungry. Plus, beans and greens are two of the most nutritious foods you can eat.  And beans, pasta, and greens make a great one dish meal.  Yet there are numerous pitfalls that a chef trying to make this dish for the first time can fall into. Especially a vegetarian chef! Over the years, I’ve made variants that are quite bland, versions that are bitter, and even dishes in which the greens are either undercooked and crunchy or an overcooked putrid green color.  Below are my notes on how to make an excellent vegetarian version of pasta, beans and greens. Read the rest of this entry »

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Quinoa Lentil Soup

April 28, 2006 at 3:16 pm (Beans, Beans and greens, B_minus, Dark leafy greens, Grains, Other, soup)

A friend recommended this lentil soup recipe. It’s from the Fiber for Life cookbook by Bryanna Clark Grogan.

2 tbs olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (optional)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups light vegetable broth
1.5 cups dried brown lentils
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each: dried basil and thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
1-2 vegetarian bullion cubes (optional)
1 cup chopped cooked greens
toasted sesame oil and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

In large soup pot heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until they begin to soften. Add: carrots, celery, garlic, and saute a few more minutes. Add: broth, lentils, tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce, and simmer covered for 1.5 hours. Taste for salt and pepper, add buillon cubes for flavor if necessary. Add the quinoa and greens and cook 15 more minutes. Garnish wil sesame oil and soy Parmesan, if you like.

The book says 8 servings, but my friend said it made 12 one cup servings:

My notes:

I really liked the combination of quinoa and lentils, but didn’t really care for it as soup. Plus I found the recipe bland; I had to add chili powder, garlic, and cumin to perk it up. I did, however, mistakenly buy whole red lentils instead of brown, if that might have made a difference. (Did you know that whole red lentils are actually brown on the outside, and if they’re not split open it’s hard to tell the difference?) Anyhow, I’m going to try creating a different recipe with lentils and quinoa, but will probably stick to my mom’s lentil soup instead of this one.

Rating: B-

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Locro (South American Soup)

April 28, 2006 at 1:24 pm (B plus, Beans, Beans and greens, Cruciferous rich, Dark leafy greens, Fall recipes, Mexican & S. American, Rebecca Wood, soup, Winter recipes) ()

This is a recipe from the cookbook The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood. She describes Locro as a substantial South American soup-stew, traditionally eaten by “plucking small rounds of corn from the soup with the fingers.” She says Locro is a meal in one that always contains a grain and sometimes meat or fish. The combination of ingredients may seem a bit strange, but she claims that beans similar to anasazi beans as well as many varieties of seaweed are sold at Indian markets in Bolivia. The ingredient list is long but the soup is so complex-tasting and satisfying that it’s worth the effort. Wood says to make this soup only in corn season, and it is better with fresh corn, but I’ve also used frozen corn and enjoyed it nonetheless.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup anasazi beans
  • 1/3 cup whole or pearl barley
  • 1 stick (3 inches) kombu
  • 8 cups veg. or chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs. sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. anise seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small leek, sliced
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced very thickly [original recipe called for 2 shiitakes, chopped]
  • 1/2 cup peeled, diced celery root
  • 1 ear fresh corn, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 new mexican chili, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped collards or kale
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Soak the beans.
  2. Put the barley in a saucepan over med-high heat and cook for about 5 minutes, or until grains begin to pop and turn a shade darker. Combine the barley, soaked beans, kombu and stock in a soup pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour.
  3. Warm the oil in a large saute pan over med. heat. Add the anise seeds and cook for 1 minutes, or until they become aromatic. Add the garlic, leek, mushrooms, celery root, and corn. Lightly saute each one before adding the next. Saute until vegetables just begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Scrape the vegetables until the soup, add the chili, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the beans are soft. Remove and discard the kombu or chop it into bite-size pieces and return it to the pot. Add the collards and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook ten minutes more.
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve hot, garnished with cilantro.

My notes:

I used roman beans since I couldn’t find anasazi, and frozen corn rather than fresh. My favorite part of the soup were the mushrooms (I never would have thought to put shiitake’s in a south americna soup) and the celery root. The celery root got so incredibly sweet and delicious, next time I’ll increase the amount.

I made this a second time, with a few substitutions and changes. I used a whole Tbs. of anise seeds, which still wasn’t too much. The soup had a great anise flavor, but could possibly have used even a bit more. I love anise, and have almost no savory recipes that call for it (hint, hint, anyone have one to share?) I also added more shiitakes, used rutabaga instead of celery root, pinto beans instead of anasazi–and more of them, shallots instead of leek, and vegetable broth instead of water. The soup tasted very similiar. All the substitutions worked fine, except I didn’t think that pinto beans are the right bean for this soup. If I can’t find anasazi maybe next time I’ll try small red beans. Or navy beans maybe?

Note, this soup doesn’t freeze terribly well, mostly because of the barley which ends up with a mushy texture. I’m not saying you can’t freeze it, but the texture is definitely degraded.

Update May 2010:  I made this again using anasazi beans.  They’re definitely the right bean for the soup. I doubled the number of shiitake mushrooms, but still they didn’t have much textural presence in the final soup.  Next time I’ll chop them into much bigger pieces.  I didn’t have collards or kale, so I threw in some fresh spinach at the very end.  It was okay but not really the right flavor for the soup.  Plus (since I hadn’t cut it up) it was a bit stringy.  By the time the beans were cooked through the soup was quite thick and not very brothy.  I had to add more water and still it wasn’t as brothy as I would have liked it.

Also, I made a stupid mistake.  I cut up the white part of the leek for the soup.  To add flavor to my vegetable broth, I decided to throw in the rest of the pale to medium green part of the leek in with the beans to cook.  I didn’t chop it up, just scored it, washed it and threw it in whole.  I figured I’d fish it out when the beans were cooked but before adding the veggies.  I hadn’t pre-soaked my beans, and by the time the beans were cooked the leek had totally disintegrated into nasty, stringy bits of goo.  Gross.

Update Oct 1 2017: I made this for dinner last night using 1.5 cups pre-cooked aduki beans. Even though I didn’t have any roasted chilies or greens or cilantro, and I didn’t leave the pieces of kombu in the soup, it came out really tasty! I used 4 shiitakes and Derek said I should have used even more.

Amazingly, Alma, who is normally quite anti-soup, also liked the soup, although she made me pick out all the leeks out (too stringy), and she had me cut the shiitakes up into toddler bite-sized pieces.

We ate this along with the potato chard terrine, and I liked the combination a lot. We ate the soup for dinner and then lunch the next day, and it was enough for two adults and a toddler + one bowl of soup was leftover. I’d prefer to get three meals out of it though, so next time I’d make more. Make 1.5 times the recipe.

Serving Size: 1 serving (out of 6 total)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 168
Total Fat 2.9g
Saturated Fat 0.4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 259mg
Carbohydrate 31.3g
Dietary Fiber 6.8g
Sugars 2.6g
Protein 6.8g
Vitamin A 25%
Vitamin C 55%
Calcium 8%
Iron 15%

Rating: B+

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