Tag Archives: beans

recipe: roasted chickpeas

26 Jan

Okay, stay with me here: these are really good. Seriously. I saw recipes for these all over the place, but I don’t actually like chickpeas. (I like hummus and falafel, but just chickpeas themselves? Nah.)

When you roast them, though, they get crunchy and delicious. It’s quick, it’s easy; it’s high-protein; it’s easy to take along for portable snacks or lunches.

This is more of a method than a recipe. Use whatever spices you like. I’ll list a few of my favorite spice variations at the end.

Ingredients:
* canned chickpeas (you could also cook your own dried ones; I just don’t usually plan ahead that far)
* a drizzle of olive oil
* spices of choice (see below)

Rinse the chickpeas well in a colander, until bubbles are gone (you’ll see some bubbles when you start rinsing). I don’t bother to remove the chickpea skins, though I have read that you should; they get crispy and delicious, too, in this setting.

Toss chickpeas with olive oil in a baking dish. I like to use a glass one.

Add your spices and stir. Bake in 450-degree oven until the chickpeas are brown and toasty. Make sure you really let them brown; they are not nearly as good if they’re not crunchy!

Spice Suggestions:
* garlic: add two or three cloves minced or crushed garlic and some ground pepper.
* lemon-pepper: sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning.
* Chesapeake: sprinkle with Old Bay or other Chesapeake-style crab seasoning.
* Indian: sprinkle with curry powder, cumin, and/or garam masala.
* Mexican: sprinkle with cumin and chili powder (for a smokier kick, use chipotle powder).

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recipe: Dal (Indian lentils)

22 Jan

Lentils are a great food: high in protein and fiber. They’re also easier to cook than most dry beans. Unfortunately, in my opinion they don’t taste like much. This recipe gives them the interest they usually lack! Over rice–especially a brown rice or basmati rice–this is a very nutritious meal. I tend to make this in the crockpot, but you could also easily do these on the stove.

Dal

Makes: about four servings. I usually make the whole package of lentils but that is a LOT of dal. This is for half that amount.

Ingredients:

8 oz (1/2 package, usually) of lentils, any color

4 cups water

1 stalk celery, minced

1 carrot, minced

1 onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 chicken bullion cube (can use vegetable if you prefer)

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

optional: 1 can light coconut milk

Instructions:

Pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones or anything weird in them. (All beans say to do this, although I’ve never found anything weird in them.) Rinse lentils. Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours–remember, of course, that slow cookers vary!–or until lentils are tender. Serve over rice. Garnish with cilantro if you’re feeling fancy. This is not only nutritious but also very, very cheap. Bonus!

recipe: black bean soup

20 Jan

This is easy, easy, easy, and so good! It’s also high in fiber and protein, chock-full of vegetables, and nice on a cold day. As with many [all?] of my recipes, proportions are loose and flexible…just put in all the beans you want, for example.

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

* one onion

* one or two links of andouille or other spicy sausage

* peppers, if desired–I like to throw in a jalapeno or serrano, but you could also use a sweet pepper if that’s more your style.

* black beans: either about five cups, or two cans. You can cook your own using this method!

* canned tomatoes: either a large can [28 oz], or two small cans, or, best of all, a quart of home-canned ones. Mmm.

* vegetable or chicken broth, if needed–you may need this to make your soup liquid enough for your taste. I find that I don’t need it if I use home-canned tomatoes, but that I usually need about a cup if I am using store-bought ones.

Instructions:

* Dice the onion and slice the sausage. Saute [you shouldn’t need oil, as the sausage should be enough] until the sausage is a bit crisp on the outside.

* Add in the other ingredients. Heat and then simmer for a few minutes.

That is it! Serve, if desired, with some sour cream or grated cheddar or chopped cilantro. It’s great with cornbread, or with a green salad. You can also throw in other vegetables, if you like: corn is good, but you can also put in chopped carrots, or peas, or other non-traditional vegetables.

recipe: tortilla soup

2 Dec

This is a great soup, and low carb. The tortilla strips on top don’t add too much carbohydrate; half of a corn tortilla averages around 5 grams of carbohydrate. You can leave out the tortilla strips, though, if you prefer. This is quick, easy, and extremely delicious in cold weather! Proportions are flexible; throw in whatever you have. It’s great with all of the toppings, some of them, or even none of them if you’re in a minimalist kind of mood.

Tortilla Soup

* leftover chicken (or turkey): amount is flexible but it’s great with at least a cup, diced
* 1 onion
* 1 large can or two small cans diced tomatoes
* 1 can of beans–your choice of black, pinto, or red
* 6-8 cups chicken stock or broth

toppings/garnishes: sour cream or plain yogurt; chopped fresh cilantro; shredded cheese; tortilla strips (see below); slices of avocado.

Cook the onion and the chicken in a saucepan with a little nonstick spray until onion is starting to brown. Add the broth, tomatoes, and beans. (This is also delicious with about half a cup to a cup of frozen corn thrown in at this stage!) Cook until piping hot. Serve topped with the garnishes–the avocado and cilantro in particular are reeeeeally good.

To make tortilla strips: cut corn tortillas into thin strips with a knife (about 1 tortilla for each 2 people). Toss with nonstick cooking spray and a little salt and bake at 375 degrees until browning and crispy. Yum.

staple: beans in the Crock Pot

9 Nov

I always used to buy canned beans, because I had never had any luck cooking dry beans. They’re cheaper, and salt-free…but they never turned out, so I gave up.

Finally, though, I figured out the best way to cook them: the Crock Pot! I do a whole 16-oz bag at a time, and then I use what I need (usually half) and freeze the rest, ready to be pulled out and used as conveniently as canned beans.

Here’s what I do. This works for any long-cooking bean: black, pinto, white, red. Lentils, though, are a different post altogether.

* Pick over the beans to remove any gravel or anything else that’s gotten into them. Frankly, I almost never find anything; the only time I’ve encountered gravel is in lentils, which don’t need special soaking or cooking.

* Pour them into a pot and soak for several hours in cold water. Don’t use hot water; they’ll turn sour and smell like the end of the world (ask me how I know).

* Drain and rinse the beans.

* Put into Crock Pot. Add water to cover them, plus at least an inch or two. Depending on what you’re planning to do with these beans, you could also use stock. I often throw in a chopped onion, but that’s because I put onions in everything.

* Cook until tender. That’s it! The timing can vary depending on how hard-core your Crock Pot is. I usually put it on “high” and it only takes about 2-3 hours, but my Crock Pot means business. My old crock took at least 6 hours to cook them; however, there’s a reason I have a new one. Just check them every hour after the first 2 hours, and write down how long it takes so that you can plan for next time.