Category Archives: legumes


Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

 

A recent question about eating lentils brought up one of my favorite ways to eat them; in my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.  Shepherd’s pie is such a great dish because it is so versatile; a “crust”, a vegetable filling and a mashed potato topping.  It makes a delicious meal served with say, a hearty salad and a tasty millet muffin. Because only half of my family are vegetarians, I usually make two pies, one with a ground turkey crust and one with a lentil crust.  So there are plenty of tasty leftovers to keep everyone happy for a couple of days.

Lentils, (Lens Esculenta), also known in Indian cuisine as dal, are a legume (as are all dried beans and peas) and are very quick and easy to prepare.  Unlike other types of legumes, lentils do not require a long soaking time before you can cook with them.  They come in different varieties, green, brown, black, yellow, orange, and red, although most of us are familiar with the green one which is easily available.  Lentils are powerhouses of nutrition being very high in fiber, folate, tryptophan and manganese  – good for healthy bones, fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, and helping stabilize blood sugar among other things.  They are also good sources of protein, iron and phosphorus, all of which the body needs for bone health.

When cooking with lentils they need to be sorted and rinsed before cooking.  The usual ratio is three cups of water to one cup of lentils.  Bring the water to a boil, add the lentils, cook on medium for approximately 30 minutes (if you like mushy lentils you can cook them longer). Remove the lentils from the heat and let sit 10 minutes, so they settle and firm up a bit before using in a recipe.  If you are using them in a salad, let the lentils cool completely before adding them to your other ingredients and dressing.

 
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Prepare your lentils as mentioned above, but add 1/2 C. chopped onion to the water
After the cooked lentils and onion have rested mash them together with:
     1 T. nutritional yeast
     1 T. dried, minced veggie seasoning
In a lightly greased pie pan, put in the mixture and shape it into a bottom crust
Fill the crust with your choice of lightly steamed or thawed veggies (about 2 C.)
Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. coconut aminos or gmo-free tamari sauce 
Top with mashed potatoes
Sprinkle with paprika
 
Bake 20 minutes, serve and enjoy

My Peanut Allergy Kid

Peanut Allergy

Food allergies and sensitivities are increasing dramatically in our society. I’m not aware of any family that does not have a child who goes to school with another child who has a, sometimes life threatening, food sensitivity. Peanut and tree nut allergies appear to be among the worst and the incidence is growing. In her book The Peanut Allergy Epidemic: What’s Causing It and How To Stop It author Heather Fraser looks at the growing challenge of this issue and why it seems to be so strongly tied to our Western culture.
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Three Bean Salad

This is a guest post by my Aunt Haya who recently shared a very sweet story about food, connections and memories.  I love food stories.  I like hearing where food came from, how it’s changed, and the associations we make with our food; those moments that join us together.  I agree with my Aunt that in this over stimulated fast paced world it’s nice to have these kinds of connections to make us stop a moment and reflect on the various ways that our food comes into our lives. I also love how so many recipes, when shared, keep the name of the person who gifted them to us.

This evening my congregation will be hosting a group of 32 members of a congregation in Maryland who are on a 10 day tour of Israel with their Rabbi. After many guided tours to historical sites they are looking forward to sitting and talking with folks who live here. I have been asked to contribute my three bean salad to the meal.   I am always glad to make and share it.  While assembling the ingredients I stopped to think about it’s entry into our lives.  


Nowadays, three bean salad is well known all over the US and multiple variations are on the web. But while living in Houston (in the late 1960s), my husband and I made sure that each of us would have some private time each week, with each of our children.  On one such outing I went with our son Daniel to attend an outdoor performance of an abridged version of some Gilbert and Sullivan operetta out on a lawn of The University of Houston. I think that it was the Pirates of Penzance, but am not sure. 


I did not recognize anyone sitting near us in the audience but Daniel soon picked up a conversation with a boy near his age. I introduced myself to his mother and learned that they were in Houston for the summer while her husband, a school teacher, took summer classes at U of H, in order to eventually qualify to become a school principal in their home town somewhere I think in Arkansas or Alabama. He was often busy attending those summer program classes or working in the university library on his homework, so she and their son were exploring Houston on their own. 


I invited them to join our family picnic the next week in Herman Park on the 4th of July–speeches, fire works and all. They were glad to accept and she brought three bean salad that she’d made. We’d never tasted one before. We all enjoyed it so I asked for her recipe.   She wrote out on a piece of paper which I copied on to a file card after I returned home. I added her name Eula Ross.  We got together only once or twice more during that summer, but three bean salad became a staple in our family’s favorite summer recipes; particularly as a contribution to buffets and picnics.


Here in Israel the recipe has changed somewhat. I add diced fresh rosemary needles (that I pick fresh from the shrubs) to the chopped parsley in the original recipe and often use chickpeas for the third bean. 


Today I found that I needed to purchase more chickpeas so used red beans as I have no red onion and wanted to add color other than the chopped sweet red pepper to the salad.  I use less sugar in the dressing that Eula Ross recommended and the minimum quantity of oil.  But each time I prepare this dish, whether or not I check the details on the old file card or fly free with improvisations, I think a special thanks to Eula Ross where ever she is now. 


I am sharing this story with you because in this day and age of instant communication, information from people whom one never meets, an entire rainbow of recipes for any dish for which one could possible conceive of hankering, this older, slower, deeper time of meeting a stranger who became an acquaintance and shared her recipe and it’s evolution to fit my current location and dietary preferences, pleases me a great deal.

Eula Ross’ Three Bean Salad

2 cups each green string beans, yellow string beans, red beans or pinto beans,
2 stalks of celery cut into cubed shape pieces
1/2 red union diced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Whisk the five dressing ingredients together and pour over the vegetables.
Mix together cover and chill in fridge.
Keeps for 10 days
Aunt Haya’s changes: 

1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary to the parsley
I used frozen cut yellow and green beans which I steam over boiling water just until they thaw, so that they are still a bit crisp
I sometimes substitute chick peas for the red or pinto beans – I soak which ever of the three that I use over night, then cook them myself, drain them before adding to the salad. (I find commercial canned beans of all three types, over cooked (too soft) and too salty)
I use only 1 teaspoon of salt
About 1/3 cup of oil
reduce the amount of sugar
I like to use apple cider vinegar

Pc Curried Rice And Beans

pressure cooker curried chickpeas and rice

I have a confession to make.  I’ve always been a little afraid of pressure cookers.  When I was growing up my mother didn’t use one.  By the time I was exposed to them as a young adult the concept seemed a little scary.

Fast forward many years….my friend Emily at The Kindred Kitchen recently had me over for dinner.  She made an amazing dinner in her pressure cooker.  She was so confident, so calm, and it was all so delicious!  I was hooked and got my own.

When I talked to my mother about it she told me that her mother, my Grandma Katzy, had used a pressure cooker when she was growing up.  I asked my mother why she never used one.  She replied by sharing a story about my Nana, my father’s mother, involving a pressure cooker.  Apparently in the middle of cooking dinner with the pressure cooker something went wrong and the lid blew off.  There was so much force involved that the lid embedded itself in the ceiling of Nana’s apartment.  One can only imagine the horror and disbelief … and what the kitchen must have looked like.  Mom wasn’t exactly sure how Nana managed to get the lid out of the ceiling.  That was the end of pressure cooking as far as Nana was concerned.

Needless to say it was enough to convince my mother that she did not want to use a pressure cooker.  Ever.  Not having grown up around one neither did I.  Until now.  I’ve been experimenting with it and have discovered that I absolutely love it; it is rapidly becoming one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  Meats and vegetables are delicious, colorful, flavorful, and oh so tender.  The real prize-winning use however is for rice and beans, of all different flavor profiles.  It is so quick, so easy, and it comes out just right.  I absolutely love my pressure cooker and owe Emily a debt of gratitude for helping me to change my mind.  This recipe is based on one that she shared with me.

PC Curried Rice and Beans

1 cup chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
1 cup brown rice
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 cups vegetable broth
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In the morning set the chickpeas to soak in a pot of hot water

In the evening assemble your meal:

Drain and rinse the chickpeas
Heat the olive oil in the pressure cooker
Saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes until soft
Add the curry powder and stir for a moment
Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated
Add the broth, chickpeas, salt and pepper

Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure
Reduce the heat but still maintain high pressure
Cook for 9 minutes and remove from heat
Let pressure drop naturally for another 5 minutes
Quick release and then remove the lid

Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve

Note:  This was very tasty but needed a little something more. I think next time I will add some diced tomatoes and perhaps a little more spice.  I’ll keep you posted.

Black Bean Casserole

black beans | photo: Paul Goyette

Unfortunately this got eaten before a picture was taken so no casserole picture.  [note to self:  learn to take more photographs of food]

Over on my Facebook Fan Page I posted a Meatless Monday menu of black bean casserole, roasted asparagus, spring onions, cauliflower and cauliflower greens.  It was a delicious dinner.  I received a request for the recipe and decided to post it over here at the blog.

I love oven roasting veggies, it’s such a simple way to put them together and really makes fabulous leftovers.  And black beans are a great flexitarian choice; they’re tasty, easy to prepare, and go well with so many different types of dishes.

Adding beans to your diet, if you don’t already eat them, is such a healthy thing to do because not only are you getting protein, you’re getting lots of fiber.  One cup of black beans provides 15 g. of fiber and 15 g. of protein.  A pretty good deal in my book.  Even better you’re also getting a lot of B vitamins, primarily thiamin and folate, plus iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.

This black bean casserole is one of my favorites because with the addition of the corn tortillas it makes a complete protein.  The original recipe that I developed calls for a generous sprinkling of shredded cheese on top however due to my new dietary restrictions I am avoiding cheese.  I’ve discovered that the rice cheeses and other “fake” cheeses are just too unpleasant for my palate, both in taste and texture so I’ve been feeding what I bought to the dogs (who are thrilled) and just leave out the cheese altogether.  But if you’re a cheese fan and can eat it, use about 3/4 C.

Being where we are in the growing season at the moment with tomatoes so very expensive (and my garden burned to a crisp due to drought) I’ve turned to my favorite Pomi Chopped Tomatoes which come in a box rather than a can so there is no BPA.  When tomatoes are in season and not hideously expensive I definitely prefer them and use about four in this recipe.

Black Bean Casserole

2 T. olive oil
1 large red onion chopped small
2 cloves garlic minced (more if you like lots of garlic)
2 ribs celery chopped small
1/2 of a 26 oz box of chopped tomatoes
2 cups cooked black beans
1 t. cumin
6 medium size corn tortillas cut or ripped in half
2 T. minced cilantro
1 T. lime juice
2 spring onions chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste
hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F
Lightly grease a medium round pie dish
In a pan heat olive oil, saute onion until wilted
Add celery and garlic and saute until celery is wilted
Add black beans, tomatoes, and cumin, cook until heated through
Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste

In pie pan layer 4 corn tortilla halves with 1/3 black bean mixture
(the top layer is where the cheese goes if you’re using it)
Repeat layers ending with bean mixture
Cover and bake 30 minutes
Remove from oven, sprinkle with spring onions, cilantro and lime juice

Note:  when tomatoes are in season and I use fresh I often top this with some chopped tomato

 

Peas In Bloom

Pea blossom | photo: Brynn

Outside in the garden today I noticed that my peas are blooming.  I love their pretty white little flowers and, of course, love the delicious peas soon to be eaten.

Peas have a lot going for them.  While they are definitely in the starchy vegetable category they are also very high in a lot of wonderful nutrients that help our bodies in many different ways.  High in phytonutrients they are a good choice as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory vegetable.  And although they are sweet, peas are actually considered to be a low glycemic index food (anything below 55 GI is considered low, peas come in around 48) probably due in part to their level of fiber and protein.

Peas are also high in vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C.

They go into a wide variety of dishes and can be eaten raw when young or in any variety of cooked methods when they are more mature.

One family favorite way to eat them is in a dish I call Peas-y Peas and Celery.  When I was a kid I used to love it when my mom would make a dish of new potatoes and peas.  It tasted like spring to me, fresh, bright and delicious.

Of course peas also great thrown into a huge Chef’s Salad or used as an appetizer or sandwich spread in Mark Bittman’s Pea Dip.  There are just so many different ways to enjoy them.

However you enjoy them in very short order there are going to be lots of delicious, fresh, new peas at farmer’s markets and groceries near you; perhaps even in your own garden.  Enjoy them, savor them, let me know what your favorite recipes are.

Eat White Food

I frequently spend a lot of time asking people to eat the colors of the rainbow.  There are so many tasty colorful foods that I am at a loss to understand how the Standard American Diet came to be mostly beige.  On my Facebook Fan Page I often push colorful foods.  For the most part this means fruits and vegetables that are higher in nutrients, tasty and easy to incorporate into the diet in their whole food form.

Today however I’m here to advocate for white foods; at least some of them.  I’ll still be one of the first to tell you that white rice, white pasta, white bread, white potatoes and that ilk are primarily simple carbs and not a great choice.  But there are some other white foods that are fabulous and should definitely be part of your nutritionally dense, healthy eating plan.

Cauliflower ] photo: Liftarn

Cauliflower – A cruciferous vegetable that is loaded with vitamin C, cauliflower also provides vitamin K, and some folate.  It’s also got a type of phytonutrient called glucosinolates which are a good choice for detoxification activity within our bodies.  Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties make cauliflower high on the list for cancer prevention and heart health while it’s high levels of fiber make it a great choice for supporting healthy digestion.  You can eat it raw, steamed, baked, roasted, and cooked.  Don’t forget about the greens, these are also edible and make a great addition to a stir fry or curried greens.

Parsnip | photo: A.Cahalan

Parsnips – A root vegetable that is loaded with fiber, parsnips also provide vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.  They have a wonderful mineral content that includes calcium (yes folks, 1 C. of parsnips gives you 5% of your RDV for calcium), magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.  I’ve read that before people knew that potatoes were edible, parsnips were one of the prized root vegetable for their mild, delicious flavor.  They can be eaten raw, cooked, mashed, steamed, and make a wonderful addition to a root vegetable medley or a carrot, sweet potato, parsnip latke.

Garlic | photo: geocachernemesis

Garlic – Another wonderful root vegetable garlic is a fabulous antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, cancer fighting, immune system boosting food that needs to be a part of your diet.  If chopped and let to sit for a few minutes oxidization boosts the powerful antioxidant allicins.  Many people, myself included, when feeling a little under the weather, will chop a clove or two of garlic and swallow it down raw (do not do this on an empty stomach as it may cause digestive upset).  Delicious, healthy, easy to use in a vast array of dishes, it’s one white vegetable that belongs in your pantry.  As tasty as it is, it’s no wonder that there’s a recipe for chicken with 40 cloves of garlic.

White Onion | photo: multadroit

Onions – there are all different types of onions so it seems a bit odd to single out the white ones since I tend to use them all.  The white ones include sweets, cipollinis, shallots, pearl onions and more.  Try them all, they’re delicious and so good for you. High in chromium, which is great for your blood sugar, onions also have a high level of sulfur compounds which makes them a great choice as a heart healthy, immune boost, cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory vegetable.  They also provide copper which is important for bone health.

Mushrooms | photo: Chris 73

Mushrooms – everyone is going crazy for shitake, oyster, portobello, maitake and other mushrooms these days.  But that doesn’t mean that you should discount those tasty white mushrooms.  They pack a nutritious punch with lots of fiber, vitamin B12 (especially important for vegetarians and vegans), potassium, copper, and selenium.  1/2 cup of mushrooms provides a whole lot of flavor yet only 7 calories. Another easy, versatile vegetable they can be used in many different ways in a wide variety of cuisines.

White Beans | photo: Rasbak

White Beans – This color covers a number of different kinds of beans, navy, great northern, cannellini, pea beans, and more.  A great source of protein, white beans also offer a great source of iron and fiber.  They are good for stabilizing blood sugar, good for your heart, your digestion and can be eaten so many different ways.  They pair well with an almost endless combination of vegetables, herbs, and spices.  One of my favorite ways to eat them is cold (after cooking) in a salad drizzled with a pesto dressing.

Celeriac | photo: AlbertCahalan

Celeriac – Sometimes referred to as celery root this tastes like a cross between celery and parsley.  It’s great in combination with other root vegetables, goes great into a slaw, cooks up well in a casserole, and is another great choice to add to your diet.  Low in calories but high in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese it’s considered a detoxifying vegetable.  It may also help with blood pressure health and support bone health.

So eat a rainbow of food, whole foods that is, but don’t forget white is all the colors of the rainbow and needs to be part of your plate too.

Superfoods Trending Down

According to a news article I read recently superfoods are trending down.  Not all superfoods, just the ones that have been the media darlings, acai, goji berries and the like.  I actually like this trend because as I wrote previously (back in 2008 I might add) we don’t need to import superfoods.  We would do better to utilize those that are readily available.  It’s more sustainable, eco-friendly, and also easier on your wallet.
 
So what are these superfoods that we should be more aware of (and eat more often)?
 
Berries- with lots of fiber and antioxidants they’re great and easy to add to the diet in cereal, yogurt, salads, plain, anytime.
 
Eggs – high in protein (1 egg provides 6 g) with lutein and zeaxanthin (good for your eyes) they’re versatile and satisfying.
 
Nuts – raw, unsalted are the best.  Providing monosaturated fats they are a great heart-healthy choice.  Add them to foods such as cereals or baked good or take some along for a healthy nutrition boosting snack.
 
Broccoli – yes, it is a super food.  With an amazing nutritional punch it provides not only fiber and a wide range of vitamins, but it also has sulforaphane which is a potent cancer fighting detoxifier.
 
Beans – with a hefty dose of fiber and iron beans are just an all around good for you food.  Soups, stews, and dips are a great way to add them to your meals.
 
Beta-carotenes – okay so this isn’t a food but rather a group of foods.  Found in orange foods (think sweet potatoes, winter squashes, carrots, etc) and dark leafy greens (the chlorophyll hides the color) like kale, spinach, collards and more betacarotene is a powerful antioxidant that support immune system health, reproductive health, and it’s very good for your eyes.
 
So while imported superfoods may be trending down I’m rooting for an overall upward trend in the concept of super foods.
 

Shitake Pinto Bean Burgers

photo:  Alexandra Luna



My friend Alexandra shared this fabulous recipe with me and is letting me share it with all of you.  


I love bean burgers but confess that sometimes I get tired of the same recipe over and over again.  I also usually make lentil or black bean burgers.  This recipe sparked my interest because it was a different kind of bean and the addition of shitake mushrooms.


Mushrooms can be a very wonderful food to add to your diet.  Asian cultures promote the use of mushrooms for the medicinal values, they do have healthy properties, and they are very tasty. Shitake mushrooms in particular have something called lentian in them, a substance that helps to boost the immune system, and studies indicate that it has anti-cancer properties.  Shitake mushrooms are also a good source of iron, vitamin C, and fiber as well as providing some protein.


Here’s Alexandra’s recipe, let us know what you paired it with.


Shitake Pinto Bean Burgers

3 1/2 cups or 1 can of pinto beans
1 cup rough chop shitake mushrooms
1 small red onion diced
1/2 cup green onions diced
3-4 cloves of crushed garlic
1/2 tsp each of cumin and corriander
Sprinkle of chipotle chili powder


Saute garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes
Add mushrooms, green onions, cumin and corriander
Cook for 2-3 minutes
While veggies are cooking, mash beans
Add veggies, chipotle chili powder, salt & pepper to beans, mix well
Shape into patties
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
Spread a bit of coconut oil on paper (helps with browning)
Place patties on cookie sheet and bake in 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, flipping after 15 minutes


These are great topped with avocado and a side of greens.



Enjoy!

How To Make Bean Sprouts

I love bean sprouts.  They’re delicious and a great source of nutrition.  Just the act of sprouting beans increases their nutrition.  It also makes their nutrients more bio-available because the first step, soaking, removes phytic acids which interfere with nutrient absorption.

A while back my friend Jen asked me how to make them.  She had been interested in doing it but was afraid it was too difficult.  She wanted pictures to show her how it was done.  I promised that the next time I made bean sprouts I would take pictures and share the process.

This is a batch of lentil, adzuki, mung bean sprouts.  You can use any beans you like depending on what you have handy in your pantry.  I almost always have mung beans and lentils so I use those a lot.  The other beans vary.  I usually make a bean sprout mix with anywhere from three to five different kinds of beans.

Start by putting a small handful of each of the different beans into a colander and picking them over.  Dry beans frequently have small rocks, little clumps of dirt or other debris in the package, it’s important to sort through them before you use them.

After picking them over, rinse the beans well.
Then…

Put them into a bowl and cover them with water.
Put them in the oven overnight

(Be sure to put a note on the oven so you don’t accidentally turn it on to pre-heat
when your beans are in there.  Trust me on this one.)
The next morning take your beans out of the oven and drain them.
Rinse them well and put them back in the oven.

The next day rinse and drain your beans and put them back in the oven.
Keep doing this.
On day two or three you will notice that your beans have little white sprout tails.

On day three or four you will notice that lots of beans have sprouted and they are ready to eat.

How long they take to sprout depends on how warm or cold it is in your house.  Warmer weather
causes them to sprout faster so in my house it’s usually three days.
Once you have your sprouts ready to eat it’s best to store them in the fridge.
What can you do with them?  I put mine into salads, stir fry, curry, smoothies (just a tiny bit for a protein boost), I also eat them raw as a snack.  They’re absolutely fabulous.
I hope you’ll give it a try.
Be well.