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Archive for the ‘Beans’ Category

We are so lucky to have a great year-round market here in Charlotte that features local farmers, specialty food and craft vendors. I try to make it to the Atherton Mill Market a couple of times a month during the winter to pick up fresh eggs, local cheeses and whatever winter produce looks good.

My produce purchases have featured a lot of greens, sweet potatoes and various winter squash. I love all of these foods but I’m guilty of sticking to the same preparation methods due to ease and lack of time. I actually had some downtime last night to spend in the kitchen so I started researching recipes that used the ingredients I had on hand and found an amazing sounding vegetarian curry on Smitten Kitchen.

Deb’s recipe was for Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes with Swiss Chard. I used her recipe as a guide but made quite a few changes based on what I had on hand in the kitchen. I used collards instead of swiss chard but I think any winter green would work well in this dish. I also omitted some ingredients that I didn’t have and substituted others. The resulting dish was still incredible and I couldn’t get over how well all of the flavors came together. I am a big fan of curry and I loved this vegetarian combo that was protein-packed thanks to the lentils.

I served the curry over brown rice and topped it with plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of almonds. The Greek yogurt was a nice touch to cool it down a bit (I was a little heavy handed with the cayenne pepper – I love spice!). I can only imagine that the leftovers will be even better after the flavors have a chance to develop even more with time.

Curried Lentils and Sweet Potatoes with Greens
(Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, original source The New York Times)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated – I love fresh ginger but didn’t have any)
3/4 teaspoons garam masala
3/4 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 to 3 cups vegetable broth as needed
1 sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup dried lentils (I used green)
1 bay leaf
1/2 pound greens such as swiss chard, collards, kale, etc., center ribs removed and leaves thinly sliced (I used about 7 big leaves)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Zest of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon lime juice
Plain Greek yogurt and sliced almonds for topping, if desired

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, gramam masala, curry powder and cayenne and sauté, stirring constantly, for about one minute. Will be very fragrant.

Stir in 2 cups of broth, sweet potatoes, lentils and bay leaf. Increase to high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and partially cover (leave the lid ajar). Simmer for 25 minutes. (If lentils soak up all the broth, add up to 1 more cup of stock, slowly, as needed.) Stir in greens and salt and continue cooking until lentils and greens are tender. Start checking after about 25 minutes. It can take up to 45 depending on your greens and lentils.

Just before serving, stir in lime zest and juice. Serve over desired base – rice, quinoa, etc. or on its own. Top with garnishes of your choice.

Yield: 2-3 main course servings

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Over the last few years I have gotten into the habit of making a pot of vegetarian chili for myself when I’m making traditional chili for Brandon. It’s not that I don’t enjoy beef-based chili but I try to be mindful of my meat intake and chili is a meal where I don’t miss it at all. I also find it extremely easy to make two separate batches because the base exactly the same, I just added the butternut squash in place of ground beef in my veggie variation.

I think I have finally perfected my chili recipe. This is my go-to and it always turns out delicious. I’m not much of a leftover fan but I’ve had this for dinner three times this week and I’m still craving more. It also freezes well for an easy dinner later down the road. This veggie chili is healthy and very satisfying. I like to top mine with cheese, plain Greek yogurt and sliced avocado along with a warm slice of cornbread or cheesy beer bread on the side!

Vegetarian Butternut Squash and Bean Chili
(A Bakin’ and Eggs Original)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2-3 tablespoons chili powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste)
2 cups uncooked butternut squash, peeled and cubed (1-inch cubes)
1 (28-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can filled 3/4 with water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onions, peppers and jalapeño until mixture become soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Add spices and continue to sauté for another minute. Add squash, tomatoes, beans and water and bring to a simmer. I usually simmer covered on low heat for 60-90 minutes and then uncovered on low heat for 30-60, depending on how much time I have and how thick I want my chili. The longer you simmer it uncovered, the thicker it will get. Add the cocoa powder in 10-15 minutes before serving and stir well.

Yield: 8 servings

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I love everything about summer dinners. Eating outdoors, using herbs from the garden, farmer’s market veggies and grilling. I enjoy entertaining during the summer. Everything is simple but fresh and very relaxed. We had friends over for dinner last weekend and I was able to spend the evening chatting rather than rushing around in the kitchen. The appetizer and side dish were made a head of time and the main and vegetable were done on the grill. It doesn’t get better than that!

While looking for side dishes that could be prepared ahead of time, I came across this Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad. First, I have a serious fondness for anything that involves Mediterranean flavors and liked that that base of the salad was lentils and couscous. The inclusion of tomatoes, feta, arugula and fresh herbs really made this stand out. Second, I have an appreciation for recipes from Gourmet and usually find them to be winners.

I let the salad sit overnight to really let the flavors develop. It was a hit with our guests and the perfect side for a summer cookout. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next few days!

Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet magazine)

Ingredients:

1 cup French green or brown lentils
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous (I used whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry and chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

Directions:

Place lentils in a small saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Stir in one tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous and salt. Remove from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic paste, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir lentils and dressing into couscous. Chill salad, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 24.

Just before serving, stir in remaining ingredients, top with basil and season with salt and pepper. At this time I also added another drizzle of olive oil and a splash of vinegar but that’s totally optional.

Yield: 8 servings

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One of my favorite mostly vegetarian blogs is Branny Boils Over. When I saw her blog and rave about chana masala, I knew it was something that I must try. For some reason the stars just didn’t align on this one and it took me months to finally get around to cooking it. I ended up making the chana masala on a really random night – Brandon was out of town and I had a terrible cold. But for some reason Indian food sounded like something that would warm my soul and make me feel better.

This is the perfect vegetarian dish – tons of flavor and protein and very satisfying. I served the chana masala over brown rice with naan on the side for scooping. I fed Brandon leftovers when he got back in town and even he was impressed. This dish has been added to the ever expanding list of vegetarian favorites in our house. I’ve really been cutting back on my meat consumption over the last couple years (I probably only eat meat/seafood 2-3 times per week and never for breakfast or lunch) and meals like this make it so easy to forget the meat.

One Year Ago: Fruit Skewers with Vanilla Cream Cheese Dip

Chana Masala
(Recipe adapted from Branny Boils Over and Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (juices included)
2/3 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas or 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lemon (juiced)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and ginger and saute for another 2-3 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, paprika and garam masala. Cook onion mixture with spices for a 1-2 minutes and then add the tomatoes. Add the water and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Serve over rice or with naan (or both!).

Yield: 4-6 servings

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