May 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm (Beans, breakfast, B_minus (2.5 stars), Ron Pickarski, Soy and seitan, Soybeans & edamame)

I know, I know.  The name “soysage” sounds just awful.  Blame Ron Pickarski.  Soysage is the name he gives this recipe in his cookbook Friendly Foods.  He says that soysage is a vegetarian sausage substitute that makes excellent breakfast patties, meatballs, or a filling for other dishes in which you might use sausage.  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 (3.5 stars, like a lot), 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+


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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Soybeans. Not edamame. Soybeans. And the vegan triumvirate.

February 1, 2007 at 5:56 pm (Beans, Dark leafy greens, Grains, My brain, Soybeans & edamame, unrated)

Yes, yes, I know edamame are all the rage, and I like them, I do. But how come no one ever eats good old mature soybeans that have been dried and cooked like any other bean? Personally, I love soybeans. They’re definitely one of my favorite beans. And my very favorite way to eat them is with the great vegan triumvirate. The what?

The Vegan Triumvirate:

  • Nutritional yeast. Your first sniff might induce high school gym locker nostalgia. By the third taste, you’ll be hooked. Hard to describe, but has that umame flavor.
  • Soy sauce. Tofu, tempeh, soybeans–they just aren’t the same without soy sauce. Pour the stuff on–sodium be damned!
  • Olive oil. The fat of the gods for vegans, and everyone else too.

There is no better way to eat soybeans then a big soupy bowl tossed with the vegan triumvirate. Other favorite triumvirate settings:

  • whole wheat pasta. I call this one “dessert.” IMHO, it’s better than any other possible pasta dish you could ever conceive.
  • brown rice. Makes us fight over the brown rice leftovers.
  • un-tumericified scrambled tofu. See my recipe in this blog.
  • nofu. See my recipe in this blog.
  • on bean sprouts.  I know, this one sounds really weird, but it’s good!  The sprouts are crunchy and refreshing, with a mild enough flavor for the triumvurate to shine through.  Actually, I left the oil out on this one, and it was tasty.

I also put the triumvirate on greens, and broccoli. It’s good, but not as perfect a match. Recently I tried it on frozen green beans that I dug out of Derek’s freezer. Despite the severe freezer burn (who knows how long they had been in there) they were actually pretty good. The triumvirate saves all.

Update August 7, 2011:

Nutritional Yeast Goes Mainstream

This just in from Cook’s Illustrated

Despite its clinical—sounding name, nutritional yeast was a big hit for seasoning popcorn, with tasters describing its effect as “tangy,” “nutty,” “cheesy,” and “addictive.” The key is its high level of glutamic acid, the main chemical compound responsible for boosting the umami taste in food.

Now if they would just go beyond popcorn and try nutritional yeast with soy sauce and olive oil!

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Pasta with Beets, Soybeans, and Lemon

April 9, 2006 at 6:45 am (Beans, C (2 stars, okay, edible), Pasta, Soybeans & edamame, Starches, Website / blog)

I found this recipe online when I was looking for something to do with edamame and beets. The author said it had “Odd combination but great flavor.”

  • 1 package of fresh pasta, ideally, but one package of regular if you don’t have access to fresh. I use spinach flavor.
  • 3 beets, red prefered
  • 1 onion
  • garlic, as many cloves as you like
  • 2 lemons, use both the liquid and thin peel of one half lemon
  • 1 cup grated parmigano cheese from the deli section, Kraft won’t do here.
  • 1/4 of lite whipping cream or nonfat milk, depending on how creamy you want the end result to be.
  • 1T red chili flakes, I like there to be heat
  • 1T black pepper
  • 1t olive oil plus 1T
  • 1.5 cups frozen soybeans
  • basil for garnish
  1. Clean the beets and chop of top and end, where it begins to get thin. Don’t worry about peeling yet. In a foil bag (just take a large piece of foil and make into an envelope of sorts) put beets, as many garlic cloves as using (still in skins), 1t of olive oil and squirt of lemon. Place in oven for roughly an hour.
  2. When getting near the end of the hour put water on to boil. In a saute pan use remainder of oil (1T) and sautee up chopped onion till it begins to brown slightly. Add in chili pepper flakes and black pepper. Add grated lemon peel. Take cooled beets and pop out of skins and cut up into bite size pieces. Toss into sautee pan along with soybeans and lemon juice. Mush the baked garlic into the sauce.
  3. Cook pasta according to directions.
  4. Mix in 1/4 of lite whipping cream. The sauce will turn pink. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  5. When pasta is done, drain and toss into the sauce, adding lemon juice as needed, along with cheese and basil. I will sometimes also add in other veggies (asparagus is good!) and a little more cheese on top with some pepper.

My notes:

I didn’t follow the recipe to the T, but I used the basic ideas. The sauce (using 2% milk) was very lemon-y and tasty before I added the beets and edamame and pasta. I’m definitely going to try making a lemon sauce like this in the future. But then once I added all the ingredients I found it a little boring, like it needed more fat and salt! I guess I should have used the cream! I couldn’t really taste the edamame, but the texture was interesting. I thought adding beets to pasta was an interesting idea, and I’ll definitely be trying it again. It added a very subtle sweetness to the whole dish. One warning: I only used half the red chile flakes and it was still very spicy.

Update: this was pretty tasty cold. Spicy, a little sweet, a teeny bit lemon-y. I didn’t want to stop eating it. Needs some work but perhaps it should be served cold instead of warm.

Rating: B-

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