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Posts Tagged ‘Clean Eating’

Black Bean Soup with Pineapple via Relishing It

Greetings!  With another wave of snowstorms moving into Minnesota this weekend, it’s time for a new soup recipe here at Relishing It.  You already know that I’m soup-obsessed, so I won’t go into that again.  But I always find that Winter is a bit more bearable knowing I can eat soup as often as I like.  Honestly, if you were to take a peak into our refrigerator on any given day this time of year you’d find a couple of soups.  And the leftovers are just easy, quick lunches.  I think so many soups actually get better after sitting for a day or two.

Black Beans via Relishing It

This particular soup takes me back.  Many years ago, I flew out to the East Coast for my best friend’s wedding.  A few days before the ceremony, we found a cute little restaurant that made an amazing black bean soup with pineapple chunks.  Having spent my whole life in North Dakota up to that point, I’d never eaten anything like it.  Black beans with pineapple simply weren’t a pairing you’d find in the local Midwest diners.  The soup was so delicious that we went back for it several times that week.  Since I’ve thought about that soup so often, I finally decided to create my own version of it at home.

Roasted Red Peppers via Relishing It

First up are the beans.  These fantastic little legumes are delicious and good for your body.  More on that here.  I love how versatile they are– they’re staples in Mexican, Indian, and Caribbean cuisine.  Add to that the fact that they’re inexpensive, and it’s a total win.  I put beans in so many dishes that it’s ridiculous.  In this soup, the pineapple makes for a perfect pairing with the black beans.  It adds a nice subtle sweetness to contrast with the savoriness.  And the acidity from the fruit gives this soup a fresh flavor that you don’t often find in bean-based dishes.

Black Bean Soup with Pineapple via Relishing It

I also delved into my frozen supply of roasted red peppers from this past summer.  They worked great in this soup.  If you can’t find any roasted red peppers, feel free to use a regular one, but be sure to sauté it a bit before adding it to the soup.   The cilantro on top gives it another burst of freshness, and the jalapeño lends just the right amount of heat.  So gather up your ingredients and get this one simmering for the snowfall this weekend.  Cozy-up, my friends!

Black Bean Soup with Pineapple via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Black Bean Soup with Pineapple

(serves 4-6)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 2/3 cups dried organic black beans, soaked overnight (or 4 – 15 ounce cans, drained)

1/2 cup white onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seed, toasted then ground

1 teaspoon coriander seed, toasted then ground

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 dried bay leaf

1 pineapple, cut and cubed,  yielding about 2 cups (canned can also be substituted)

4 cups water

kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Sliced jalapeños and chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a large Dutch oven, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes.  When the onions are soft, add the ground cumin, coriander, and smoked paprika.  Sauté for about 30 seconds.  Add the roasted red pepper, soaked beans, water, bay leaf, and salt and pepper.  Cook for about a half hour over medium heat or until the beans start to feel nice and soft.  Add the pineapple and continue to cook for another 20 minutes, or until the beans are completely soft and tender.  When they are, carefully remove about 1 cup of the black beans and place it into a blender.  Blend until smooth, then return to the pot.  If you want the soup thicker, blend a few more beans.  Like your soup thinner, add a bit more water.  You get the idea.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.   Top with chopped cilantro and sliced jalapeños.  Keeps well for days in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

Have a lovely weekend!

Laurie

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Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic

Greetings friends!  It feels so good to be back here at Relishing It.  Turns out my Summer vacation from posting lasted a little longer than I intended.  At any rate, I’ve missed writing and talking with all of you.  I hope you’ve had a fantastic few months.  Life has been great in my little corner of Minnesota.  The holidays were good to us– we had beautiful traveling weather for our trip back to North Dakota, where we were able to spend time with our families.  Everyone remains in good health, and that is basically all that I need.

Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic via Relishing It

Despite not writing as much lately, I’ve been very busy in the kitchen making new things.  I’ve tried desperately to not bake quite so much, because frankly, we just don’t need all those sweets around.  But…I’ve fallen short of keeping that vow every couple of weeks.  Simply put, I love to bake.  It makes me (and my kids) happy.  So now I’ve modified the vow– we just share more.

I’ve spent the rest of my time in the kitchen preparing healthy and delicious meals.  The pressure to ‘change your diet!’ and ‘lose weight!’ always amps up this time of year, but to be honest, I’m pretty content with where we are.  While I do make foods with butter, oils, sugar, and flour, I do my best to use limited amounts, or find healthier alternatives.  Not to sound too preachy, but there really isn’t a thing I’d change about my diet (especially with the ‘share baked goods vow’).  And that feels pretty good.

I continue to try to learn about how various foods affect my body, as well as how the production of those foods affects the environment.  And I feel lucky to have connected with so many people that feel the same way.  I want to stay healthy and fit for me and for my family, so I stick with the mantra that whole foods and exercise are the key.  If you’ve come here looking for healthy ideas for family meals, you’ll see there’s plenty to choose from.  I love helping people figure out how to eat “clean”.  It’s easier than you think.  Just stay away from packages and long lists of ingredients, add more vegetables, and eat whole foods.  You’ll be amazed.

Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic via Relishing It

This simple pot of beans is a good example of the type of meal I’m talking about.  It’s not fancy, but is perfect for a cold night.  This dish is creamy, comforting, and bold.  The flavors can change dramatically depending on how you season this one, so play to your palate.  If you like Dijon, add a bit more.  Want more of a tang, be liberal with the vinegar.  Play around with it a bit!  The recipe below is how I enjoy it the most.  I generally make a batch of these beans and we eat half of it served alongside roasted buttercup squash (they’re perfect together).  I freeze the other half, and then use it in a simple cassoulet for a quick weeknight meal.  For that cassoulet, prepare some kielbasa sausage and/or some leftover pork shoulder, cut it into chunks,  place it in a shallow baking dish, cover with the thawed then re-warmed white beans, and top with some panko bread crumbs.  Bake at about 375°F for 10-15 minutes (or until the bread crumbs are toasted).  Sprinkle with fresh parsley, and voila!

Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Simple White Beans with Rosemary and Garlic

Serves 4-6

3 cups dried white beans (preferably cannellini, buy navy would work, too)

1/2 large white onion, chopped

2 bulbs garlic, peeled

2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped

a few sprigs of fresh thyme, left whole

1 dried bay leaf

extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked pepper

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

Begin by either covering the white beans with cold water in a large pot and soaking overnight (which I never do) or do a quick-soak method (which I always do) by placing the beans in a large pot or Dutch oven, cover with cold water and a sprinkle of kosher salt.  Bring the beans to a boil.  Boil for one minute.  Remove pot from heat and cover with a lid.  Let sit for two hours.  Drain beans when ready to use.

In that same Dutch oven, to the beans add the chopped onion, garlic cloves (from the two bulbs), chopped rosemary, whole sprigs of thyme, bay leaf, a bit of kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Just barely cover the beans with fresh cold water.  Then add a couple of glugs of olive oil — about 1/4 cup.   Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to a medium/low simmer.  Let cook for about one hour, stirring every so often, or until the beans are your desired consistency.  I like mine to be rather soft, but still hold their shape a bit.

When they are done cooking, remove from the heat.  Remove the thyme twigs and the bay leaf.  Using an old potato masher or a fork, mash a few of the beans to thicken them up a bit,  3/4 cup or so.  Add the Dijon and red wine vinegar and stir a bit to emulsify.  Re-season with more salt and pepper.  Drizzle with a bit more olive oil when serving and some fresh thyme leaves on top.    Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!  xo

Laurie

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