Category Archives: Legumes

Sloppy “Lentil” Joes

Sloppy “Lentil” Joes

I have got to tell you that a Sloppy Joe is one of the very first dishes I ever learned how to make.  A Sloppy Joe is without a doubt an American “kid friendly” sandwich.  If you never had a Sloppy Joe, it is a tasty, messy burger made with ground beef and a tangy sweet tomato sauce.  To make a Sloppy Joe, all you have to do is brown up some ground beef, add some Sloppy Joe sauce, ladle on a burger bun and there’s dinner.  Easy.

I was in the mood the other day for a Sloppy Joe sandwich and I had no ground beef stashed in the freezer.  I did not even have ground bison or turkey either.  However, I had lentils in my cupboard…  I had heard of people preparing Sloppy Joes with lentils before and I knew that when lentils are cooked they have a meaty like texture. So, I made my standard Sloppy Joe sauce and added cooked lentils instead of beef.  I tasted it and it was good!

When Bruce came home that evening, I told him that I made these for our dinner.  He gave me his me his famous dirty look and quickly reminded me that he hated beans.  I looked back at him, smiled, handed him his Sloppy “Lentil” Joe sandwich, crossed my fingers, and said “sorry hon, I forgot”.  I then watched him out of the corner of my eye while he ate the sandwich.  And get this… He looked as if he liked it!  After he was finished, he said that he thought it was really good and that he almost forgot that there were lentils in it.  I guess he’ll eat beans now  :).

My recipe for Sloppy “Lentil” Joes is easy to make, completely meatless and healthy for you.  Not to mention, they are wickedly good.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown lentils (rinsed and picked over)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp kitchen bouquet (browning sauce for color)
  • salt to taste
  • 4 to 6 whole wheat burger buns
  • garnish with pickles

Begin by cooking the lentils and water in a sauce pan on covered on medium low for about a half an hour or until the lentils are cooked to your liking.  I did not add salt to the lentils for I heard that salt toughens up the beans. Drain.  Mash lightly with potato masher.

Meanwhile, in skillet or pan, saute the onions and bell pepper in olive oil.  Cook until onions are opaque.  Add remaining ingredients except for the lentils, burger buns and pickles.  Cook on medium low, covered, for about the same amount of time as the lentils, stirring occasionally.  When the lentils are done, add to the tomato mixture, taste, and correct your seasonings.  Add water if necessary.  Ladle on warmed whole wheat burger buns, garnish with pickles and serve.  Makes 4 to 6 Sloppy “Lentil” Joes.

Lamb Chickpea Stew

Lamb Chickpea Stew

Sometimes weekends are just as busy as weekdays.  Cleaning the house, yard work, and laundry often consumes my precious time off.  When I have a weekend like that I need to remember that I have a slow cooker tucked away in my cupboard.  Preparing a meal with a slow cooker is simple, saves time and tastes wonderful.  Just toss in the ingredients, cover, turn on low and disappear for about 6-8 hours.  Come back and dish up.  Easy…

My Indian inspired Lamb Chickpea Stew is satisfyingly simple and tastes fabulous.  It has tender bits of lamb, tasty chickpeas, and garam masala in a tomato spinach broth.  Garam masala is a North Indian spice blend made with cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander and cardamon.  I found my garam masala in the spice section of my favorite grocery store.  Serve the Lamb Chickpea Stew with naan or with a scoop of basmati rice.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound lamb stew meat
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained
  • 1 can (14 oz) whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 – 3 cups fresh spinach

Begin by tossing all the ingredients in the slow cooker except the spinach.  Cook on low for about 6-8 hours or until the lamb is tender.  Add the spinach about 5-10 minutes before serving.  Cook until spinach has wilted.  Dish up and serve.  Makes 2 – 3 servings.

Red Lentil Soup with Turkey

Red Lentil Soup with Turkey

Nearly every Sunday afternoon I like to make something to pack in my lunch for my busy work week.  I figure that if I have something tasty to take with me to work, it will keep me away from eating out or hitting the fast food drive thrus.  Today I decided to make Red Lentil Soup with Turkey.

Earlier this morning I visited a newly formed food cooperative for the first time here in town.  I found some gorgeous locally grown carrots and a screaming deal on organic red lentils.   The lentils rang up at $2.39 a pound…  Generally red lentils are not exactly the easiest legume to find nor are they the cheapest.  I heard someone refer to these tasty little lentils as “designer beans”.  I say I don’t care what you call them because they taste great to me and now I know where to get them!

Red Lentils

My Red Lentil Soup with Turkey is easy to make, tastes wonderful and is good for you.  It has gorgeous red lentils, roasted turkey, bright orange carrots, onion, celery, and wonderful Moroccan spice blend called Ras El Hanout.  Don’t worry, at the bottom of the post, I have my version of the spice blend if you don’t have it in your cupboard.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red lentils (picked over carefully and rinsed well)
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 1 rib celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 pound roasted or precooked turkey
  • 2 tsp Ras El Hanout
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • garnish with fresh chopped parsley

Pick over, wash and drain your lentils.  Set aside.  In a medium sized saucepan, over a medium flame, saute your carrots, onion, celery in canola oil until the onions are translucent.  Add the red lentils, turkey, chicken stock, garlic paste, salt and Ras El Hanout blend.  Cook covered for about 30-45 minutes.  I like to cook my soup for about 45 minutes because I like it when the lentils start to get really tender and break down.  Makes about 4 servings.

Ras El Hanout

Mix together in a small bowl the following ground spices.   Be sure to put the mixture in a tight fitting jar and store in a cool dry place.

  • 2 teaspoons each –  ginger and coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons – cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric and nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon – allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon – cloves

I reused an old spice jar for storing the Ras El Hanout.  I wrote the ingredients and ratios on the back of the jar.  That way, when I run low on the spice blend, I just read the back and mix up another batch.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Peruvian Bean Soup

Peruvian Bean Soup

I am one of those people who makes it a habit to “troll” the grocery store looking for ingredients that I have never used before to share with my family.  Yesterday I found some dried Peruvian Beans in the Latin section of my favorite store.  Peruvian beans are also known as Mayocoba Beans, Peruano Beans or Canary Beans.  Peruvian Beans are a yellowish ivory color and are similar in texture to a pinto bean when cooked.  Quite frankly, I’m surprised that I have not noticed these wonderful little beans before.  Now that I have found and tried them, I am  a complete fan.  Love them…

Peruvian Beans

Sunday afternoon is the time when I like to prepare lunches to eat during my busy workweek.  While at work, I try my best to avoid fast food during my lunch hour.   I have found that it is quicker and so much healthier to have home cooked foods prepared in advance that I can bring to work with me that I can simply toss in the microwave and heat.  No fuss with take out, tastes great and it’s even easier on my pocketbook.

My Peruvian Bean Soup is hearty, easy to make and good for you.  It is similar to a navy bean soup with ham but is a bit different for the soup is golden in color and there’s a smidge of heat from the jalapenos and cayenne pepper.  It’s really good!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound dried Peruvian Beans or 1 1/4 cup (soaked overnight)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with cilantro and chopped red pepper

Begin by washing and picking over the Peruvian Beans.  Soak in about 4 cups water overnight.  Rinse well before adding to the soup.  Add all  ingredients to a medium sized pot.  Cook covered until beans are tender or to your liking. My beans took about 2 1/2 hours on low.  Makes about 6 servings.

Black Bean Salsa

Black Bean Salsa

I gotta tell you… My brother in law makes the best fish tacos.  Better than anyone that I know.  And lucky for us, we were invited to dinner last night.  I am not one to ever go to someone’s home empty handed so I made some salsas to share.  First of all, I made my Black Bean Salsa and a yummy Restaurant Style Salsa by Tia at iamsimplytia.com.

My black bean salsa is good for you and super simple to make.  It has tender black beans, red onion, juicy grape tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno, lime, and spices.  Both salsas were great additions to last night’s dinner.  As far as the fish tacos go…  I will share the recipe at a later date.  They were simply scrumptious.  Meanwhile, I hope that you enjoy the Black Bean Salsa.  We sure did!  Tessa

Black Bean Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp jalapeno pepper finely chopped (I like to use more)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper or to taste

Begin by grabbing a medium sized mixing bowl.  Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the bowl.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Lightly toss and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors marry.  Serve with chips, put in burritos, tacos, salads or serve as a side dish.  Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

Tia’s Restaurant Style Salsa.  You gotta try it, it’s really good!  Thanks Tia!  Click here to get the recipe.

Mixed Bean Soup

Mixed Bean Soup

It’s been two weeks into 2012 and I am happy to say that I am doing a fairly good job of living up to my New Year’s expectation of being less wasteful in the kitchen.  Often times when I make soup from dried beans that I purchase in those little plastic bags, I have some leftover beans.  So, I keep a jar in my cupboard just for that purpose.  I toss the leftover dried beans into the jar and I give it a gentle shake to mix them up, taking care not to break the beans.

My little jar of mixed beans is proof that cooking a great bowl of soup is not rocket science.  Every time I make my mixed bean soup, it is not exactly the same as the last time and in fact may taste a bit different than the last time I made it depending on the mixture of the beans.  I say so what and who cares?  The point is to use what you have, make it taste great and be less wasteful.

I bet you may be wondering what’s currently in my mixed bean jar?   There are some black beans, pinto beans, brown lentils, great northern beans, split peas both green and yellow, lima beans, black eyed peas, garbanzos, and red beans.  After I shot this photo, I removed 2 cups of beans from this jar for my soup and  I then tossed in some Anasazi beans and lima beans for later use.

My recipe for Mixed Bean Soup is hearty, good for you and very easy to make.  You can use whatever mixture of dried beans you have on hand or if you want, you could buy a more expensive premixed blend of beans.  My Mixed Bean Soup has Italian style tomatoes, beef stock, onions, celery, carrots, oregano, basil, cumin, and I even tossed in a bit of leftover ham that was tucked away in my fridge.  You could even make this in a slow cooker if you would like.  Just toss in all the ingredients, place on low, cover, and walk away for about 8 hours.  Cooking time may vary depending on the type of beans that you use.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried mixed beans (picked over and soaked in water overnight)
  • 2 quarts of beef stock (use more if desired)
  • 1 – 28 ounce can of Italian style crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup carrot (chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped ham (optional)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh chopped parsley

Place all ingredients in a large pot.  Cover, cook low and slow for about 2 hours or until beans are tender.  Stir occasionally. Be sure to taste the soup and correct your seasonings.  Dish up, garnish with parsley and serve.  Makes about 8 servings.  Can be frozen for later use.

Note: This is a really good recipe for busy college students.  It’s easy on the wallet and you can get a few good meals out of this…

Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne

Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne

Can you believe that I started my new year without any resolutions?  Nope, none, nothing, nada…  I have a tough time keeping resolutions.  Every year I say I have one, I am good for a few short months and then my bad habits creep right back up on me.  This year is different.  I decided that this year I am having “New Year’s Expectations”.  Expectations, I know I can do.  Expectations are attainable and having expectations is how I operate.

One of my expectations for 2012 is to be less wasteful in the kitchen.  Instead of buying expensive store bought vegetable and meat stocks, I will make my own.  It saves money and helps keep spoiled vegetables in the vegetable drawer of my refrigerator to a minimum.  I also expect to be more creative with the use of leftovers.  That also saves money and valuable refrigerator space too.

Last night I made a gorgeous prime rib roast for New Year’s Day dinner.  I had a couple of pounds of the roast leftover in the refrigerator this morning.  Living up to my “new” expectations, I decided to make a Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne.  My Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne is made with leftover prime rib roast, cranberry beans, homemade beef stock (from the prime rib), onions, garlic, carrots (leftover too!), extra dark cocoa powder  and fragrant spices.  Top your bowl of Cranberry Bean Chili Con Carne with fresh grated cheddar cheese, green onions and red bell pepper.  Makes about 2 quarts of chili or 8 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight)
  • 1 pound leftover prime rib or roast beef cubed (fat removed)
  • 1 cup white onion chopped
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1 cup carrots chopped
  • 1 – 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef stock (0r more if needed)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbls. extra dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c. dark chili powder
  • 1 Tbls. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbls. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onion and chopped red pepper.

Begin by washing, picking over and soaking the cranberry beans in a bowl of water overnight.  Grab a large pot with a tight fitting lid.  On medium heat saute your onion, shallots and carrots in the olive oil.  Cook until onion is opaque.  Add soaked cranberry beans and the remaining ingredients with the exception of the garnishes. Cook for about 4 hours on very low or until beans are cooked to your liking.  Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally.  Taste the chili, correct your salt level, add additional stock if needed and ladle into bowls.  Garnish with shredded cheese, sliced green onions red pepper.  Note:  Go ahead and make this in your slow cooker.  About 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Happy New Year!  I hope you all  had a great New Years Eve and came home safe and well.  I don’t know about you but I have high expectations for 2012 and am feeling pretty confident that this new year will be a much better year.

I love black-eyed peas.  From what I gather, it is thought by many people that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s day brings luck and prosperity in the New Year.  I am open to increasing my chances to do just that and that is why I make it a point to serve my Black Eyed Pea Salad as a side dish at our New Year’s Day dinner.  My Black-Eyed Pea Salad is made with organic Oregon grown black-eyed peas, vibrant red and yellow bell peppers, bright cherry tomatoes, green onions, spices, extra virgin olive oil and lovely white balsamic vinegar.  It’s easy to make and tastes wonderful.  Best of luck to you in the new year!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bag frozen and precooked black-eyed peas (defrosted)
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes quartered (about 10)
  • 2 Tbls. fresh parsley chopped
  • 3 stalks green onions chopped
  • 4 Tbls. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper or to taste

Add all ingredients to a medium sized mixing bowl.  Toss and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.  Overnight is best because you want the flavors to marry before serving.  Taste and correct your seasonings. Makes about 8 servings.

Black Bean Soup

 

Black Bean Soup

I’ve spent the morning digging around my lap top’s hard drive looking at some old photos.  I happened to find this photo of a bowl of my Black Bean Soup. I really liked the photo and back then, my family thought that my soup was pretty good.  I took this shot a few months back when I was first learning how to use my camera.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s been over a year and I still don’t know how to completely use my camera!  My camera is an Olympus E420 DSLR type camera that my husband gave to me as a gift.  He bought it with the intent that I just might use the camera for family photos and that I just might take pictures of vacations and special events.  Little did he know that he would help create a food blog monster…

Anyways, if you get the chance, make my Black Bean Soup.  It’s tasty, hearty and perfect for a cold winter day.  It has black beans, ham, vegetables and has a wonderful southwestern inspired flavor.  Any leftovers can be frozen and used at a later date.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried black beans (soaked overnight or about 8 hours)
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 1 pound ham, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped 
  • 2 -3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. dried cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. dark chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • sour cream, chives and paprika for garnish

Put your black beans in a bowl and pick over.  Picking over means checking for small rocks or foreign material.  I know that it sounds weird but if you want to chip a tooth or lose a filling then omit this step…  Add water and let soak for about 8 hours or overnight.  Rinse and drain.  In a pot with a tight fitting lid add the beans, ham and 2 quarts chicken broth and cook on low until beans are tender or about 2 hours.  Buzz with your hand blender for about 30 seconds or until smooth (optional).

In a pan sauté the chopped onion, pepper, celery and carrots in olive oil until the onions turn light golden brown.  Add the vegetables to the pot.  Now add your garlic paste, cumin, coriander, chili powder, oregano, and black pepper.  Put the lid on mixture and cook on low, stirring occasionally for about 1 hour.  Taste and correct the salt level if needed.  Add a bit of water if the soup is too thick for your liking.  Garnish with sour cream and fresh chopped chives.  Makes about 3 1/2 quarts of soup.

Creamy Split Pea Soup

Creamy Split Pea Soup

I love the holiday season and but this year has been one crazy busy year.  For the past month I have not been able to spend much time in my kitchen.  We attended holiday parties, hosted parties, wrapped gifts, decorated our home and we are all  so tired.  We really had a wonderful spending time with family and friends this holiday season.  However, the holidays are almost over and I am now looking forward to my normal routine.

Today was a lazy day.  I needed to take it easy and unwind before going back to work tomorrow.  We have no plans, no shopping, no going out, no nothing, nada…  As a result, I decided to make an easy pot of Creamy Split Pea Soup.  My recipe for Creamy Split Pea Soup is easy to make, delightfully creamy and is really good for you.  It has onions, celery, parsnips, coriander, cumin and a hint of smoked salt.  I even re-purposed a leftover veggie tray from a party last night and made some awesome homemade vegetable stock to use in my soup.  My creamy split pea soup is  perfect with a loaf of crusty french bread or a big chunk of homemade corn bread.  If there are any leftovers, I like to freeze it for a later date.  Enjoy! –  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried green split peas
  • 8 cups vegetable stock (approximate)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped parsnips
  • 1 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked salt (or to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Begin by washing and picking over your split peas.  Add all the ingredients to a medium to large pot.  Cook on low for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours on the stove top or until the split peas are cooked.  You can also cook this in a slow cooker for 8 hours on the low setting or about 4 hours on high.  When the split peas are done remove the bay leaf and blend with a hand blender until smooth and creamy.  Taste your soup, correct your seasonings and dish up.  Garnish with chopped parsley and a pinch of paprika.  Makes about 2 quarts of creamy split pea soup.