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Posts Tagged ‘Legumes’

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup | Relishing ItBaby, it’s cold outside!  Or at least it is here in Minnesota.  There is definitely that ‘winter-is-coming’ chill in the air.  And this is just the start.  Wind chills will eventually plummet to -50 degrees F, snow will pile up on the sidewalks.  Ugh.  I always complain as autumn comes to a close, knowing that we face the long slog to April.  My body just isn’t acclimated to the cold for the first month or so.  Ah well, I guess there’s also the comforting expectation of snuggling into a warm blanket and a good book while the kids head out to play in the snow.  There is that to look forward to…

Homemade Taco Seasoning | Relishing It

Homemade Taco Seasoning | Relishing It

Vegetarian Lenti; Taco Soup | Relishing It

As soon as the weather turns, I start thinking about soup.  This particular one is a beauty.  It’s substantial– more like a cross between a soup and a stew.  It’s loaded with healthy protein from lentils and beans, though my favorite ingredient this time around is most definitely the corn.  It makes so many soups better.  It adds a nice flavor and a bit of texture, as well.  Not to mention, it pairs beautifully with the Mexican flavors.

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup | Relishing It

Let’s talk about those flavors, shall we?  Years ago I began making my own taco mix.  To be honest, it happened a bit by accident.  I ran out of my usual purchased taco seasoning, so I had to improvise.  Luckily, I keep a well stocked spice cabinet (Penzys really should send me a thank you note).  In looking at the recipe, don’t let the length of the list scare you.  I realize that not everyone has all of the spices on hand.  As long as you have the main ones (chili, paprika, garlic, onion, and cumin powder), you will be just fine.  But, if you do happen to have the others, even better.  Try this seasoning the next time you make traditional tacos– you’ll love it!

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup | Relishing ItThe soup is wonderful served with the usual taco accompaniments– sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, and of course some tortilla chips. However, I also discovered another way that I like to eat the leftovers.  Since the legumes continue to soak up more broth overnight, the soup becomes a bit thicker.  I love to serve it atop baked spaghetti squash.  It’s delicious and makes a great gluten-free, paleo, and even vegan meal! So– perfect to serve to friends or family that might be trying to eat that particular way.  Stay warm, friends!

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup Over Spaghetti Squash | Relishing It

The Recipe: Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup

(serves 4-6 comfortably)

2 cups dry brown lentils, rinsed

2/3 cup dry red beans (or 1 can), rinsed

2/3 cup dry black beans (or 1 can), rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped white onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 quart puréed or crushed tomatoes

1 quart vegetable broth (or use chicken, if you’re not trying to stay vegetarian)

1 heaping cup frozen corn

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

juice of one lime

scallions, jalapeños, sour cream (if vegan isn’t your aim) and limes as garnish options

For the Taco Seasoning:

(makes a scant 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

To begin: soak and cook your red and black beans separately following standard directions to cook beans.  Honestly, I usually have extras in my freezer that I pull out to throw into this soup.  Beans freeze incredibly well, so feel free to make extras for that purpose. You’ll want about 1 1/2 cups of cooked red beans, and 1 1/2 cups of cooked black beans.  Or simple choose to use one can of each, rinsed.

Mix all of the taco seasoning ingredients together in small bowl, set aside.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.   Begin to saute the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes until somewhat soft.  Add the taco seasoning to the onion mixture.  Then add the tomatoes, vegetables stock, cooked red and black beans, and the lentils.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a medium simmer.  Cook covered for about 30-40 minutes, or until the lentils are tender, but have not fallen apart.  Stirring a couple of times along the way.  Make sure not to overcook the lentils, or they will turn to mush.  When the soup is done, add the frozen corn, cilantro, and juice of one lime.  Reseason with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Serve with sour cream, cilantro, jalapeños, and more lime.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

So now that school is out, I’m trying to get my bearings straight.  We are four days into summer vacation, and while I am more than thrilled to have my son home all day long, it’s not without its…complications.  Aanen has this amazing contagious personality– he is truly a joy to be around.  He and his sister get along swimmingly.   And I love not having to pack his lunch every morning and rush him off to school.  Mornings around our house are brilliant.  However…it’s the rest of the day that gets a bit more hectic.  We’re I’m missing my schedule.  I knew exactly how much I could squeeze into a day and how much I could get done.  Now play dates, outings, parks, and pools have all taken its place.  And though I absolutely love all of these things, it’s hard to get any real work done.  I know I’m not unique in this situation or these feelings, but it sure feels good to ramble on about it.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing it

So how does that tie-in to today’s post?  Well, in the hustle and bustle of our summers we tend to eat much simpler food.  It’s easy to do with all of the fresh produce, so I’m absolutely fine with it.  I’ll often make a huge salad or two at the beginning of the week from legumes and grains and we’ll nibble on it for a few days.  It works well when we’re constantly running out the door.  This salad in particular keeps well.  And it’s absolutely perfect to pack for picnics.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

I’ve always been a fan of chickpeas.  They’re loaded with protein, and they’re substantial enough to turn a salad into a meal.  If you’re not familiar with black rice, give it a chance.  Here’s a previous dish that I made using it.  I love black rice, sometimes called “forbidden rice”.   It’s nutty and similar in taste to wild rice.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  You can read more about it here.  I realize that some of you may not the able to find black rice and that’s ok.  Quinoa is also a wonderful substitute and is loaded with its own health benefits.  Radishes give this meal a nice little crunch and they are so wonderful this time of year.  The preserved lemon adds a burst of brightness that makes you smile every time you bite into a tiny piece.  If you haven’t made preserved lemons yet, do it now.  They add so much to summer salads.  Here’s a recipe from my blog.  Or you can do the salt pack method, which is how I made this last batch.  This is a recipe for that method.  Obviously, if you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, you should still give this salad a try.  The parsley and subtle shallot vinaigrette bring all of the flavor together and I love the fact that it’s so healthy!  Makes me feel better about all of the ice cream that my kids are devouring.  Hope you enjoy!

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Chickpea and Black Rice Salad with a Shallot Vinaigrette

2 cups dried chickpeas, cooked (see note)

1 cup black rice, cooked  (see note)

1 bunch radishes, chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon

1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

For the Shallot Vinaigrette:

1 -2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot, or red onion

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 2 small lemons

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (champagne or plain rice vinegar can also be substituted)

about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or a bit more

sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Note:  To cook dried chickpeas, place in a large saucepan covered with cold, salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Let boil for a few minutes.  Cover and turn off the heat.  Let sit for 1-2 hours.  Bring to a boil again and cook for a few more minutes until they are your desired tenderness.  To make the black rice, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold, salted water by a couple inches.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat just a bit.  Let cook until the rice is tender (about 25 minutes).  Drain the water.

To make the Shallot Vinaigrette:  Place the chopped shallot in a bowl, or jar, and sprinkle with a little salt.  Pour the vinegar and lemon juice on top and let soften for about 15 minutes.  Then whisk in the olive oil, or give the jar a shake.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Place in the refrigerator, let it warm up for a few minutes before you plan to use it.

Place the rice and chickpeas into a large serving bowl along with the parsley, radishes, and preserved lemon.  Pour as much dressing over the salad as you like.  Start with a little and add more, you will not need to use the entire amount that you made.  Toss the ingredients together and let the flavors meld for a bit.  You can even refrigerate it and let it warm a bit before serving.  This salad will keep well for days.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

xo

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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