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    beans & legumes

August 29, 2017

Better Veggie Burgers

Not your everyday black bean patties!

Here is a major short cut recipe:

Easy Black Bean Cakes

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ cup panko or other breadcrumbs

½ cup salsa


½ cup corn

½ cup chopped peppers

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tablespoon chopped red onion or shallot

Combine beans, breadcrumbs, and salsa in a bowl.  Smash together with hands or the back of a spoon.  Shape into 6 or more cakes or patties.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet.  Cook black bean cakes over medium heat for 2- 3 minutes on each side.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serving ideas:

Make a pita pocket with black bean cakes, shredded lettuce and cheese.
Serve on their own with a side of rice or pasta and a green vegetable such as string beans or snow peas.
Dip in guacamole, veg-wee dip, or salsa of your choice.  Serve some chips on the side.



March 11, 2017

Lentil Quinoa Salad

Lentil Quinoa Salad with Tahini Dressing

¾ cups French lentils

1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander

2 cups water or vegetable broth

¼ cup olive oil

3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste (from about 2 lemons)

2 tablespoons tahini

1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 bunch radishes, scrubbed and quartered

1 small zucchini, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped chives

 Rinse the lentils and place in a medium saucepan.  Cover with an inch or two of water and add a big pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and keep at a low boil for 20-22 minutes until cooked through.  Drain and rinse, and set aside.  

 Meanwhile, combine the rinsed quinoa and the water or broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, insert a clean towel or paper towel under the lid, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, which gives it time to fluff up without any condensation falling back in to the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and several twists of freshly ground pepper. Taste, and add up to 1 more tablespoon of lemon juice and/or more pepper, if desired.  

Place the quinoa in a large bowl. Add the lentils, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, zucchini and chives.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or let it cool and refrigerate for later. This salad is a great make-it-ahead dish for work week lunches or a fun picnic.  

February 8, 2017

Warm Lentil Winter Salad

It’s easy to forget a root vegetable can be packed with flavor.  The bags of organic carrots at the supermarket don’t offer much big taste.  But if you can get your hands on the real thing that grew in the ground near your home, well, that’s a totally different experience.  There’s a new  farmer from Hillsborough at my local farmers market, and the carrots she is selling are out of this world  – juicy, crunchy, and so sweet.  Now I’m hoping I can keep getting these carrots until the spring vegetables arrive in a couple months.
This warm lentil salad with carrots and parsnips concentrates the flavor of the vegetables whether you have access to fresh local ones or need to rely on grocery store produce.  There’s a pretty substantial spice rub on the roasted vegetables, but the lemon at the end is the most prominent seasoning.  It’s a hearty vegetarian main course, and it would also work well as a side for fish, chicken, or pork.

Warm Lentil and Root Vegetable Salad with Coconut Tzatziki                 
adapted from Food & Wine serves 4-6
1  cup French lentils
sea salt
1 lbs. carrots, cut on a bias into 2-inch pieces
1 lbs.  parsnips, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons)
¾ cup chopped mint, plus torn leaves for garnish
¾ cup chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish

1 cup coconut milk or cashew yogurt (non-dairy brands such as So Delicious or Forager)
¼ cup finely diced seeded cucumber
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a large saucepan, cover the lentils with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Drain, sprinkle with salt, and set aside in a large shallow bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a large sheet pan toss the carrots and parsnips together with the cumin, coriander, and ancho chile powder.  Drizzle with ¼ cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 25 minutes, until vegetables are beginning to brown.

Add the roasted vegetables to the lentils and toss with lemon juice and ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Fold in the mint and cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper.

To make the tzatziki, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and serve alongside the warm salad.

January 29, 2016

Lentil Cashew Stuffed Peppers


Lentil-Cashew-Stuffed Peppers
serves 4

1 tablespoon curry powder
1 cup raw cashew milk (recipe below)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup curly kale leaves, roughly chopped
¾ cup diced tomatoes
1/3 cup unsulphured raisins
½ cup cashews, roughly chopped
2 cups cooked French lentils or brown lentils
sea salt, to taste
4 red, yellow, and/or orange peppers, cut in half lengthwise, cored, and seeded

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk the curry powder into the cashew milk.  Set aside.  In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add the kale, tomato, and raisins, and sauteé for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the kale leaves begin to wilt.  Reduce the heat to low and add the chopped cashews and curry cashew milk  to the skillet.  Stir until the kale and raisins are evenly coated and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, combine with the cooked lentils, and season with salt to taste.  Stuff the pepper halves with the lentil-cashew mixture, arrange in an oiled baking dish, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and the lentil mixture is heated through.

Homemade Raw Nut Milk: Almond Milk, Walnut Milk, or Cashew Milk
(makes 4 servings)
1 cup raw almonds, walnuts, or cashews, soaked overnight in refrigerator
3-4 cups water
Seeds from ½ vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
3 Medjool dates (optional)

Combine the nuts with just enough water to cover.  Soak overnight in the refrigerator.  Drain the soaking water and discard.
Combine the nuts, water, vanilla, and dates (if using) in a blender.  Using 3 cups of water makes a creamy milk, and 4 cups of water makes a thin milk.  Blend on high speed until smooth.

Strain the nut milk through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps or nut skins. Refrigerate in an airtight jar for up to 3 days.  Tastes best after being chilled for several hours.  If separated, shake vigorously or give a quick pulse in the blender.


July 30, 2015

Farmers Market Shrimp Salad


This dish captures the taste of summer and a spirit of ease, but it’s also a bit more dressed up than my stand-by summer tomato sandwich.  I can pick up nearly all the ingredients at my local farmers market throughout the late summer.  Although I’ve made it at home more often than not, it makes a light summer dinner or lunch that always reminds me of life at the beach.  If you can buy your shrimp fresh off the boat and stop at a farm’s roadside stand for the corn, butter beans, and tomatoes, this will taste like the very essence of a summer afternoon.

Farmers Market Shrimp Salad
4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
½  small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound large shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined
sea salt or kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups cooked fresh or frozen baby lima beans
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 ears)
1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon basil leaves, julienned

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Add the onion and cook until it is soft and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute, stirring.  Add the shrimp, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until the shrimp has just turned pink.  Transfer the shrimp to a plate and set aside.  It’s okay if there is still some onion in the pan.  Add the cooked lima beans and corn to the hot pan, sprinkle with salt and sauteé for about 3 minutes, then add the tomato halves and sauteé for 2 minutes longer.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Off the heat, fold in chopped chives.  Finish each plate with ribbons of julienned basil.  Serve warm or chilled.

January 26, 2015

Chopped Salad and Green Goddess Dressing 


Looking ahead to Super Bowl Sunday, I always love chilis, dips, and chips to keep the party going!  This Mexican chopped salad with a delicious – and wholesome- Green Goddess dressing is the perfect fresh dish to serve alongside the warm chipotle black bean dip and hearty chili that we love at game time.  This year I think I’ll also try some buffalo cauliflower for a twist on traditional bar food.

Mexican Chopped Salad with Green Goddess Dressing 
adapted from It’s All Good
to serve 4:

2 ears of fresh corn (or 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels)
2 hearts of romaine, finely shredded (about 5 cups)
Mexican Green Goddess Dressing
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
4 scallions, white and light green parts only, very thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, diced
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

If using fresh corn, roast or steam it and slice the kernels off the cob.  If using frozen corn, thaw at room temperature or rinse in freshly boiled water to thaw quickly.
**To make this ahead, prepare the ingredients and toss with dressing when ready to serve.

Place the romaine in a large platter and dress it with 1/2 of the dressing so it has just a light coating.  Evenly scatter the black beans, tomatoes, scallions, avocado, cilantro, and corn over the dressed greens.  Serve with additional dressing on the side.

Mexican Green Goddess Dressing
to make 1 1/4 cups:

2/3 cup Vegenaise (or sheep’s or goat’s milk yogurt)*
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 green jalapeño, roughly chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon raw honey
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until completely smooth.  Keeps well, covered, for up to a week in the fridge.

*Note – if Vegenaise, sheep’s or goat’s milk yogurt are not available, you can substitute plain Greek yogurt


October 3, 2014



There’s a local restaurant here that serves black bean cakes I love year round, and these lentil veggie burgers are another great version of the same idea.  They take more effort than black bean cakes, but if you plan ahead to prep the ingredients, it’s a simple assembly with an hour of inactive time before you finish cooking the patties.

Lentil Veggie Burgers (makes 6 large patties or 12 sliders)
Make ahead:
Cook 1/2 cup of dried French lentils according to package directions (about 20 minutes).  Cook 1/3 cup pearled barley according to directions (about 40 minutes).
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, small-diced or grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
cooked lentils (see above)
cooked barley (see above)
1/2 cup whole wheat panko or breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Saute the onion and carrot for about 10 minutes, until soft and beginning to brown.
Meanwhile, set aside 1/3 cup of the cooked lentils.  In a medium size bowl, smash the remaining lentils with a fork or potato masher.  Add the whole lentils to the smashed lentils.
When the onions are beginning to brown, add the garlic and sunflower seeds and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook for 1 minute longer.
Add the cooked onion mixture to the lentils, stirring just to combine.  Add the barley, panko, parsley, and eggs and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.
Divide the mixture, making patties of the size you prefer – cherry tomato size for toothpick hors’douevres, small handfuls for sliders or cakes, or large handfuls for burgers.  You can refrigerate these overnight in an airtight container, or proceed to cook them in the skillet.  Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet and cook the patties on each side until lightly browned (2-4 minutes, depending on size).

Serve with avocado, tomato, tangy chipotle dressing, or salsa of your choice.  These are also good in a pita or between thin slices of bread.  A friend likes to sandwich lettuce, avocado, and tomato between two thin patties and savor these burger style without the bun!

October 2, 2014

Mexican Meal Muffins


Mexican food is always a winner at my house, and these muffins pack a lot of Mexican flavor with the simple addition of some seasoning to the dry ingredients.  Maybe the best part is that all of the ingredients are probably waiting in your freezer, fridge, and pantry… and if they aren’t, this is a muffin that can take numerous substitutions to use what you have on hand.

Mexican Meal Muffins
makes 12 standard-size muffins
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon grated garlic
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup freshly grated cheese, such as cheddar or Pepper Jack
1/4 cup corn kernels (frozen work fine)
1/4 cup small-diced red or orange bell pepper
1/2 cup black beans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin tin.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cumin.  Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, tomato paste, chives, garlic, honey, cheese, corn, bell pepper, and beans.  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, just until combined.
Divide the muffin batter into the prepared tin.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Playing Around:
Create your own variations on this recipe by changing the ingredients to suit your preference or what you have on hand.  Try diced pimiento peppers instead of fresh bell pepper, or consider green peas, pinto beans or small-diced meat instead of black beans.