Even though we both love meat, we have our share of meatless meals. Since we workout so much though, and since John’s diabetic, we have to make sure those meatless meals have a significant amount of protein in them. One of the ways we do this is with liberal use of dried beans. We get our dried beans from either Alvarez Farms, Alm Hill Gardens, or Stoney Plains. Alvarez, in particular, has a wide variety of beans nearly every week. We love picking up chickpeas and making our Spicy Roasted Chickpeas and we regularly cook up some black beans with some pancetta and rosemary.
When thinking about what we could make for our cooking demo at Queen Anne Farmers Market, we wanted something with beans for several reasons. First, I think beans often get overlooked. They aren’t glamorous and on’t have a tremendous amount of flavor on their own. Not to mention there’s the time they require. You’ve got to soak them overnight and only then can you cook them. Second, we wanted to make a dish that was vegetarian. You never know when you’re cooking for a crowd how many people will be vegetarian or vegan.
Not only was this a fantastic recipe, but it was incredibly versatile. We had it for dinner, John cooked up some with some eggs and hot sauce in a scramble for lunch the next day, and the third day, we actually turned the dish into an enchilada casserole for dinner!
Before we get to the recipe, here’s a little tip. If you forget to soak your beans overnight, all is not lost. Here’s a tip we learned from Lisa Nakamura, of Allium. Place the dried beans in a pot with enough water to cover plus about an inch. Bring the water to a boil, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain the beans and return them to the pot with fresh water. Now, cook as usual.
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a salad with leftovers
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2-3 spring onions, cut into wedges
- 1 bulb fennel, cored and chopped
- 7-8 carrots, chopped
- Olive oil (3-4 Tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 8 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
- 3 cups cooked white or pinto beans
- 6 cups greens (spinach, arugula, or salad mix)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- In a baking dish large enough to hold all of the vegetables and the beans, combine the garlic, onions, fennel, and carrots. Toss with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots are starting to get tender.
- Add the tomatoes and beans and stir well.
- Return to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes have released some of their juices and the skins have softened.
- To serve, place a good handful of greens on a plate and top with the roasted vegetable and bean mixture. Top with a couple sprinkles of Secret Stash Salt Bloody Mary salt.
Notes: They key to this recipe? The tomatoes. They soften and release their juices making a delicious “dressing” for the salad. Don’t skimp on the pepper when seasoning. I think you could add any sort of veggies to this dish as well. Peppers, eggplant, or summer squash would work well.
The beauty of this recipe though is really the flexibility. On day 2, John threw a cup of the mix in a skillet with some lard and fried it until the vegetables were hot, then mixed in an egg and some Zane and Zack’s hot sauce for lunch. Just last night, he browned some ground beef and then mixed in the rest of the leftovers, a can of enchilada sauce, and cooked the whole mix for 20 minutes. Then he layered some of the mixture, tortillas, and cheese in a casserole dish and we baked it for another 15 minutes. The resulting enchilada casserole was fantastic. Since we combined the leftovers with a variety of new flavors, we didn’t end up getting bored.
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