Greens and beans

This is a classic Italian dish, and I believe is “classic” because it is so very delicious. The ingredients are interchangeable as long as there is plenty o’ garlic, greens and those thar beans!

Here is a pleasant summer variation, close to standard:

Broccolini

new or older onion, sliced in half-moons or quarters

garlic cloves, rough minced

chicken or vegetable stock

parmesan cheese

cannelini beans

Directions:

Cut up onion and garlic. Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Rinse broccolini and add to sauté pan with S&P. Turn up heat and add stock. IMG_6042

Turn in stock, cover and cook on medium for about 5 minutes until just under crisp tender. Add beans to warm through about 3 minutes. IMG_6043

Serve with drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil, and grated parmesan.

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Garbanzo quinoa vinaigrette

This is an easy and healthy-ish salad perfect for summer gatherings. With no dairy it can go outdoors without danger. And it’s super-easy to assemble, and flexible too. It’s just a simple vinaigrette including both lemon juice and white wine vinegar, heightened with hot pepper — fresh or dried flakes — and mustard and honey to balance. It’s beans with red onion and some carrots and red peppers or whatever is fresh in early summer.

2 large cans of garbanzos (chick peas), drained and rinsed

red onion, 1/2, sliced then quartered, and macerated in white wine vinegar for 15 minutes to mellow

Vinaigrette: lemon juice (~ 2 T), garlic scapes or garlic, mustard, honey, red pepper flakes or fresh hot hot pepper, minced, S&P, olive oil.

Mix together:

Garbanzos

Onions

Red or other color peppers — not green, diced

carrots — #2-3, cut into dice about size of beans or smaller

minced parsley

cooked quinoa, cucumber, garlic scapes, cumin, and/or garlic, optional

Variation: substitute lime juice for lemon juice; substitute black beans for garbanzos, and add cilantro and scallions.  Use cumin.

 

Impromptu summer lunch salad

Hungry mid-day and don’t want to fuss much? Take what you have that is farm fresh and toss together a casual salad.  Here’s what went into today’s salad chez moi: chopped kale, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, raw summer squash, diced peppers.  If I had a red onion, I would have added that to the mix. But this is a no-stress lunch, so not to worry, I told myself.

I wasn’t in the mood for a sharp vinaigrette, so here’s what I did: I started with leftover extra mayonnaise/sour cream from potato salad. To that I added buttermilk and a bit of olive oil and salt.  Voila!

Canned items:  chickpeas, drained and rinsed, artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed, and soaked in olive oil (the oil I later added to creamy dressing, above)

Farmers market/CSA items:

yellow summer squash, sliced thin on mandoline

assorted sweet peppers, cut into large dice

Several leaves of lacinato kale, soaked, dried and chopped fine

YUM!

Summer lentil salad extravaganza

When you find yourself with lovely local lettuce in early summer, and perhaps some leftover grilled chicken, cook up some Puy lentils and assemble a main course salad, great for a crowd. Pomegranate molasses adds a new flavor element to sherry vinaigrette brightened with lemon zest and juice.

Ingredients:
Stewed puy lentils, chilled
Chicken or vegetable stock for cooking lentils
Sherry shallot vinaigrette with shallots macerated in apple cider vinegar, lemon zest & juice, walnut & olive oil, sugar and pomegranate molasses
Leftover chicken, sliced thick or hard boiled eggs or boiled chilled shrimp (omit cheese)
Canned artichoke hearts and bottled roasted peppers, drained and rinsed.
Toasted walnuts (1 c), broken up when cool.
Little turnips, carrots sliced on mandoline
fresh herbs, minced — parsley and chives, at a minimum

Directions:

Cook lentils: Sauté diced carrots, celery, shallot in large saucepan. Add 1 t cumin, crumbled, ground pepper, and less than 1 t dried thyme, crumbled. When done, stir in chopped garlic and cook for one minute.
Stir in 1-1/2 c puy lentils, picked over and rinsed. Turn up heat and add stock to more than cover. Bring to a simmer and cook at least partially covered 20-30 minutes until barely tender — don’t let get mushy. Drain and chill.
Toast 1 c. walnuts in 350 degree oven for 7-8 minutes until fragrant. Let cool, then break up a bit.
Heat olive oil in small sauce pan, add couple garlic cloves cut in half and cook for a couple minutes until slightly browned and aromatic. Remove from heat and let sit.
Drain and rinse artichoke hearts; put on towel and blot dry. Put in bowl and pour garlic oil over them, adding more oil as needed.
Make vinaigrette: minced shallot and apple cider vinegar to macerate 15+ minutes. Lemon zest, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, walnut oil, olive oil, dash sugar (or honey) and 1-2 t pomegranate molasses, S&P. Taste and adjust acid, salt and sweetness as needed. Using a lettuce leaf is a good method of tasting.
When lentils are cool (or brought to room temp if cooked in advance), toss liberally with vinaigrette. Salt as needed.
Mince fresh herbs such as parsley and chives. Mix into lentils with walnuts.
Wash and spin dry lettuce leaves.
Clean turnips and cut thinly on mandoline with carrots and parmesan, if using. Cover and refrigerate to wait for salad assembly.

Assembly:
Lay lettuce leaves around outside of platter. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Dump dressed lentils in center. Top with chicken, artichokes and peppers. Sprinkle on coarsely broken up turnips, etc.

Summer vegetable soup

When you tire of summer salads, try soup! Now that seems like an odd notion in mid-summer. But…. High-summer season vegetables are coming in now: zucchini, green beans, sweet, sweet carrots. So toss them all in a soup pot and after you make some vegetable stock, make some vegetable soup. Nutritious, delicious and naturally low-calorie/carb.

Ingredients:

1 onion (or 2 spring onions, with greens cut up and added later)

2 large carrots, diced medium

4 garlic cloves, minced medium

thyme – fresh or dried

1 zucchini – soaked, then cut into quarters and sliced

1 bay leaf

¼ to ½ # green beans, tipped and tailed, cut into 1-1/2 to 2” pieces OR bunch of swiss chard, stems removed, leaves torn and washed

1 15-oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed

optional: corn cut from 2-3 ears; leftover rice; parmesan cheese rind; scallions if no fresh onion greens

Directions:

  1. Put zucchini in sink or bowl to soak whole. (Removes any soil that settled into skin.) Dice onion, then carrots.
  2. Heat soup pot and add 2-3 T oil over medium-high heat. Cook onions with salt until soft. Add carrots, zucchini, thyme, S&P (hearty pinch of salt!), and cook until softened. Stir in garlic and bay leaf and cook for a minute until fragrant.
  3. Pour in vegetable stock – about 4-5 cups total (can include some water), and bring to rapid simmer. Throw in green beans and cook about 10+ minutes until just tender. Add rinsed beans, and corn and/or rice, if using.

 

If you have leftovers, refrigerate for up to one week.

Inspiration source

Weeknight black bean tacos

Watching calories and carbs but wanting to max out flavor and spice, I devised this quick and easy taco recipe.  From thought to dinner plate in under 25 minutes!

Black beans — a delicious foundation of this dish — get their flavor amped up by sauteing with onion, hot peppers and garlic.  I like Eden brand no salt added.  (I add my own sea salt for flavor.  Ordinary canned beans are loaded with hidden sodium.)

For corn tortillas, I recommend Food For Life brand, sprouted corn tortillas, which I pick up at my local food co-op.  Some day I will actually buy extra to keep on hand in the freezer!

Ingredients:

1 can (15 oz) black beans (Eden is good brand; w/o added salt)

½ onion, chopped

½ t ground cumin

red pepper flakes; hot sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 serrano peppers, chopped finely

 

corn tortillas (2/person)

 

grated cheese, such as Cabot pepper jack (Monterey jack); queso blanco or fresco

salsa (I like Green Mountain Gringo)

lettuce, chopped (optional)

sour cream, watered down if desired (optional)

avocados or guacamole (optional)

 

Directions:

Chop onions, garlic and hot pepper. Heat small-ish sauté pan, add 1 T grapeseed or other neutral oil. Saute onions, then cumin, garlic and pepper and pepper flakes in neutral oil for about 5 mins.

Stir in beans. Add a bit of water, stir, cover and cook about 10 mins. Add hot sauce as desired.
Meanwhile: grate cheese, ready salsa, lettuce, etc.

When beans are almost done, heat small sauté pan; brush tortillas with neutral oil, and heat, stacking in pan and turning on all sides, together if desired, until heated through, a few minutes.

Layer on each tortilla: beans, cheese, salsa, avocados, sour cream and lettuce. Fold over tortillas. Yum!

Yield: 4 tacos

Nutrition per taco: 31 g carbs (without avocado); 360 cals; 20 g fat

(avocado adds 4 g carbs for ¼ fruit; 72 calories)

Greens and beans, variation

Greens and garlic are a very happy way to eat veggies, garlic being a major food group in my book.  Last night a variation on my more standard greens and beans:  escarole, andouille, onions and beans in chicken stock. It’s like eating chicken soup, but so much zestier. (If you have leftovers, add more stock the next day and heat up as soup.)

I cut up some Aidell’s andouille sausage (pre-cooked), sauteed an onion, celery with leaves (my new thing for sauté — as is the accent!), garlic, threw in the sausage and then escarole, S&P, and chicken stock.  Covered and stewed a bit, threw in White Northern beans (canned, drained and rinsed) to warm a bit.  Topped with grated cheese.  Voila!  Deliciouse!

For those who need a recipe:

Ingredients:

chicken stock — small container, defrosted and heated

1-1/2 links andouille sausage (I like Aidell’s), cut up

one head escarole.  Cut off stem, rinse and drain leaves (wet is fine), rough chop

1 medium onion

1 stalk celery and some inner leaves, cut up

garlic, couple cloves, minced (with germ removed)

grated Parmesan or comté

Directions:

  1. Thaw and heat a small container of chicken stock.
  2. Dice 1 medium onion.  Rinse and cut up 1 small stalk of celery with some leaves.  Chop a couple garlic cloves.  Cut up sausage. Cut bottom core off head of escarole, wash, drain and cut, leaving in strainer.
  3. Heat large covered sauté pan, add a few T olive oil.  Add onion, and then celery and sauté for 5 mins, adding garlic in at end, and then sausage.
  4. Add in escarole, S&P. image
  5. Toss and add chicken stock to wet everything, though less than soup-ish.  Cover and cook for about 10 mins, adding in beans about 5 mins in.image
  6. Scoop out into bowls, grating cheese on top.  Mmmm!