Posts tagged ‘Beans’

Creamy BBQ Pasta

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The weather has turned cold around here, and autumn is upon us in all of its chilly, rainy glory. So it’s comfort food for us, the kind that warms you up and makes you happy to be watching the rain fall outside.

This pasta is creamy, tasty comfort food at its best and (thanks to the yogurt, which cuts down on the cheese and eliminates the need for cream) it’s also not terribly unhealthy. The BBQ sauce and peppers provide a little taste of summer to a dish that we will be eating all winter long.

Creamy BBQ Pasta
Makes 2 Large Servings

1 cup dry whole wheat pasta, a short variety like penne or macaroni
3 cups water
½ teaspoon oil
1 cup bell pepper chopped (about 1 medium pepper)
½ cup cooked pinto beans (canned beans work fine)
½ cup corn kernels
1 clove garlic
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tablespoon prepared BBQ Sauce (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and stir a few times to prevent sticking. Boil about 8 minutes or until pasta is the consistency you like. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the peppers and saute on medium heat until they are softened and the edges are just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta, peppers, corn, beans, garlic, yogurt, cilantro, and BBQ sauce. Mix well.
  4. Stir in the cheese, and serve immediately.

February 27, 2010 at 12:37 pm 3 comments

Wintertime BBQ Tacos

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Back to school! That means simple, hearty recipes that will keep us going all day long, and tacos are among our favourites. This recipe may look a bit complicated, but don’t be fooled! It’s actually really simple to put together and it makes lots, so you can enjoy it for a few days after the initial work. Each of the elements in these tacos are also delicious on their own. The coleslaw makes an excellent side dish that travels well to picnics and potlucks, and the bbq peppers and tofu are great as a main dish served over rice or couscous. They are extra delicious in these tacos, though, where the tang of the coleslaw stands out against the subtle sweetness of the BBQ sauce, and the yogurt provides a creaminess that makes it all come together.

Wintertime BBQ Tacos
10 small corn or flour tortillas
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup prepared salsa
1 recipe bbq peppers and tofu (below)
1 recipe cilantro-lime coleslaw (below)

  1. Prepare the BBQ Peppers and Tofu. While they are cooking, prepare the coleslaw.
  2. Fill each tortilla with some of the peppers, tofu, coleslaw, yogurt, and salsa. Fold and enjoy!

BBQ Peppers and Tofu
1 lb. tofu, cubed (about 2 cups)
2 bell peppers, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup BBQ sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Slice the peppers and onion and cube the tofu.
  3. In the baking dish, toss the veggies and tofu with the BBQ sauce.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw
4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced (or 1 bag of shredded cabbage)
1½ cups cooked or canned black beans
1½ cups cooked or canned corn
½ cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
¼ cup olive oil
1½ cups cilantro leaves (1 bunch of cilantro)
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
¼ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a blender (or using a hand blender), combine the lime juice, oil, cilantro, honey, cumin, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, corn, and beans together with the dressing.

BBQ Peppers and Tofu recipe borrowed from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas.

January 11, 2010 at 10:51 pm 1 comment

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

IMG_8341We had friends over for dinner last night, and we decided to mark the closing of summer with all of our favourite summer foods. Baked beans were there, along with corn on the cob, and rosemary roasted potatoes shared the oven (and our plates) with fabulously simple roasted asparagus – but this pasta salad was the star of the show.

I love it because it has the creaminess of a mayonnaise-based pasta salad, without either the flavour or the texture of the mayo taking over the dish. The whole wheat pasta, along with generous portions of beans and veggies, add texture and flavour that is sometimes lacking in pasta salads.

I should be up front with you, though: this recipe is not mine. It comes to you (only very slightly modified) from La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer (who also co-wrote How it All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan, the books that taught me how to cook and how to be vegan. I still use a lot of those lessons, even as I’ve added some dairy and the occasional egg back into my diet). All three cookbooks are favourites of mine; worth checking out both for their basic recipes and for their more elaborate dishes (like this one). My only complaint is the portion estimation. Every recipe in La Dolce Vegan claims to make “2 large or 4 small servings.” While the recipes vary, I find that most make 6 – 8 servings, but maybe that’s just me.

Fiesta Macaroni Bean Salad

3 cups uncooked whole wheat pasta (macaroni or fusilli work well)
6 cups water
½ teaspoon olive oil
1 large carrot, grated or diced (about ½ cup)
1 small bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups kidney beans or pinto beans (or 1 – 19oz. can, drained)
1 cup corn kernels
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup mayonnaise (I really like vegan Vegenaise)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon sriracha or other hot sauce, or to taste
½ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. In a large pot, bring the 6 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, 6 – 8 minutes. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil to avoid sticking. Set aside to cool.
  2. When the pasta is completely cool, toss it together with all other ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Serve immediately, or chill in the fridge for a few hours first. Keeps well for a few days in the fridge.

September 12, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

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Heading out on one last picnic before the weather turns cold? Or maybe you need something to munch on at work or school? Wherever you enjoy it, this easy spread makes a nice, healthy treat that works equally well as a sandwich spread or a dip.

The texture of the spread is similar to hummus, thanks to the white beans that provide its base, but the flavour is something else. The artichokes lend a creaminess that balance the rich flavour of the sundried tomatoes, while the garlic steps in with its own unique kick.

I especially liked this as a dip for veggies and pitas, and in veggie sandwiches (with cucumber, tomato, and spinach). I hope that you will enjoy it, too!

Artichoke Heart and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Makes 1½ cups

1 cup white beans (such as cannellini beans or navy beans)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup artichoke hearts
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy. (I like my Cuisinart immersion blender for things like this. It is a bit of an investment, but I got it as a gift a few years ago and I use it almost every day for blending dips, spreads, smoothies, and soups).
  2. Serve with veggies or crackers, or as a spread in sandwiches.

Adapted from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

September 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

Tacos: Rice, Beans, and Greens

Tacos

These tacos represent a coming together of some of our favorite side dish recipes. The flavours in each (garlic in the spinach, cumin in the rice, rich dark beer in the beans) come together for a satisfying, complex mouthful of taco goodness.

That being said, this recipe can look a little intimidating given all of its various elements. Each of the recipes are quite easy, and I’ve included instructions for timing everything so that it takes the least effort and all comes together at the same time. If you are short on time or energy, though, you can use store-bought prepared beans (I especially like Trader Joe’s canned “Cuban Black Beans” but any brand of baked beans should work if you can’t get those). You’ll need about 2 cans.

This recipe can be easily doubled and is great for a fun, laid-back dinner party. Have your guests make their own tacos from the ingredients you’ve prepared. The different elements keep well in the fridge for about a week. Just keep them in separate containers and put tacos together whenever you want them.

Tacos: Rice, Beans, and Greens

10 small flour tortilla shells or taco shells
1 recipe cumin garlic rice (below)
1 recipe beer-stewed beans (below)
1 recipe garlic greens (below)
1 cup salsa, store-bought or homemade
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
1 cup cheddar or monterey jack cheese, shredded (optional)
1 avocado, sliced (optional)
hot sauce to taste (optional)

  1. Put the rice on first, because it takes the longest and doesn’t need supervision.
  2. Next, work on the beans. They are better the longer they simmer. When they are done (if you aren’t), just turn the heat off and put a lid on the pot.
  3. Do the spinach last, because it doesn’t take long and it shouldn’t be over-cooked.
  4. Gather the rest of the ingredients, and put together your tacos as you eat. Enjoy!

Cumin-Garlic Rice
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2¼ cup water (or follow instructions on your rice cooker)
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced

  1. Put all ingredients in rice cooker and cook according to manufacturer directions for 1 cup of brown rice. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can find instructions for cooking brown rice in a pot here.

Beer-Stewed Beans
(Adapted from Vegetarian 5 Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas)

4 cups pinto beans or black beans or kidney beans (cooked or canned)
1 cup tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup beer (preferably a dark beer)
½ cup vegetable broth
½ cup cilantro, minced

  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Garlic Greens
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
10 oz. fresh spinach or other greens (collards, kale, chard, bok choy, etc.)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar or red wine vinegar or white wine

  1. In a large pot or wok, heat oil and add garlic, sauteeing until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add spinach and vinegar or wine, and cook until spinach is bright green, and has reduced to about a quarter of its original size (about 5 minutes).

August 29, 2009 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

Healthier Falafel

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Sorry I’ve been away so long. It’s been a crazy few months around here, but I’m back now and I have a delicious falafel recipe ready and waiting for you.

So, I’ve been making falafel at home for years – or rather attempting it. Until now, the texture had never been quite right and I couldn’t figure out how to make a satisfyingly crispy falafel without deep frying. Those days are over. Today, I managed baked falafel that was perfectly crispy, soft on the inside and bursting with flavor, and I knew that I had to share my newly discovered tricks with you.

The first trick is to use a food processor, not a blender. Blenders tend to require a lot of liquid in order to blend the falafel, and this can lead to falafel that lacks texture and falls apart when you try to shape it. A food processor, on the other hand, chops the dry ingredients finely with very little liquid, leaving you with nicely textured falafel that is easy to work with.

The second trick is heat. The falafel is baked at a moderate heat for 10 minutes, to make sure it’s cooked through. Then, the heat is turned up to make the outsides crispy and brown. Just make sure you watch the oven closely while you’re cooking or you may end up with charred falafel instead.

We like to eat falafel stuffed into a pita with some combination of lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber and maybe even hummus or tahini, just like the falafel that’s served by street vendors everywhere. It’s also great as a side dish, with a grain salad (like this or this) and a green vegetable, as pictured below. However you serve it, it’s a delicious meal rich in protein and fibre, and it makes great leftovers. Enjoy!

Healthier Falafel
Makes 24 small falafels

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (or a 19oz. can of chickpeas, drained)
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. water
1½ tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup flour (for a gluten free version, use chickpea flour)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas, onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and parsley until the chickpeas are finely chopped, the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  3. Add the water, lemon juice and oil and pulse a few more seconds, until well mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and mix with flour, adding 1 Tbsp. at a time until the mixture sticks together.
  5. Form mixture into small balls, wetting your hands periodically to keep it from sticking to you. Press the balls  into patties and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes, and then turn the oven up to 450F. Bake 10 more minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

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May 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm 1 comment

Curry Tofu Sandwiches with Cilantro Bean Spread

img_64961A friend emailed me awhile ago asking for recipes that she could take to work. I’ve been on the lookout for such recipes myself and the result has generally been hearty salads (like this or this or this) and sandwiches. To make your searching easier, I’ve added “Lunchbox” as a tag on this site. This category includes hearty, one-dish meals that are easily transportable, (usually) don’t need to be reheated, and make enough to last at least most of the week.

For me, the perfect sandwich is one that tastes great, won’t get soggy, and packs a lot of make ahead ingredients that I can slap together in a hurry before heading out the door. This sandwich meets all criteria. Placing the tomatoes between the tofu and cheese will prevent them from making your bread soggy (and thickly spread beans and chutney help, too, even if you omit the cheese). Plus, the bean spread and tofu can be made ahead of time so that you have quick lunches all week.

This recipe pulls together a few recipes from elsewhere, including a bean spread modified from an old edition of Vegetarian Times. I also used the Curried Tofu recipe from Veganomicon but you can use any premade baked tofu if you prefer (Pete’s “Thai Tango” would be especially good), or just chase 16 slices of extra firm tofu around a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil, a couple cloves of garlic and a few tablespoons of curry powder. I’d love to hear about your variations.

Curry Tofu Sandwiches with Cilantro Bean Spread
Makes 8 Sandwiches

1 recipe cilantro bean spread, below (3 Tbsp. per sandwich)
2 – 8oz. packages baked tofu, cut into 16 slices (2 slices per sandwich)
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced (½ tomato per sandwich)
1 cup mango chutney (2 Tbsp. per sandwich)
8 slices sharp cheddar cheese, optional
16 slices good quality, whole grain bread

  1. Spread one slice of bread with bean spread and one slice with chutney.
  2. Layer cheese (if using), tomatoes, and tofu on the beany side and then close the bread with the chutney side. (The bean spread offers the best sogginess protection if you are omitting the cheese).
  3. Enjoy!

img_64891Cilantro Bean Dip
Makes 1¾ cups

1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 scallions (green onions), white, light green and dark green parts, chopped (about ½ cup)
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup white cannellini beans or other white beans
1½ Tbsp. lime juice
½ tsp. cumin

  1. In a small pan, heat 1 tsp. of olive oil and saute garlic and jalapeno until garlic is translucent. Add scallions and saute until bright green and browning on the edges, being careful not to burn them.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

P.S. This recipe produces a thick consistency best suited to a spread. If you want a dip instead, add 1 cup of plain yogurt (soy if you prefer) and eat it with crackers, chips and/or veggies.

December 15, 2008 at 5:35 pm Leave a comment

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