Better Bites

My experiments in healthy eating, cooking, and living

Archive for the tag “Beans”

Chicken soup’s vegetarian equivalent: Chickpea and wild rice stew

Chickpea soup 1

As I write this post, I’m home from work trying to nurse a cold that’s been lingering for the past few days. I almost felt guilty staying home today to try to feel better, but then I thought “Why do I feel this intense pressure to be at work, even when I’m not healthy or up to being there?” I think a lot of it has to do with the societal pressure of feeling like work should always come first. I shouldn’t have to be on my death bed to justify taking a sick day when I clearly can’t function as I normally could if I was there.

After reading a few of Anne’s posts on her blog, Balanced Living, I’m reminded by how important it is to manage stress within one’s life. The post, Mind over Medicine has a link to an interesting TED talk about stress and how to deal with it. Stress is probably what caused me to be sick in the first place.

Now, its’ time to heal with some healthy food and much needed rest. The chickpea and wild rice soup recipe posted below, is filling, nourishing, and delicious. It is just what my body ordered on a day like today.

Chickpea soup 2

Chickpea and wild rice soup:

*Serves 3-4

Ingredients: 

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic diced,

optional: 1 yellow onion, diced

1 medium sized potato, peeled and diced

3 stalks of celery, washed and sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 quarts of culinary vegetable broth

1/2 cup of a wild and brown rice mix

1/4 tsp each of salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp each of oregano and dried basil

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. When it’s hot, add the onion. After letting the onion soften for 3-5 minutes, add the garlic. After a minute or so, add the potato, carrots, and celery. Let those ingredients cook for about 5 minutes before adding the chickpeas, vegetable broth, rice, and spices. Bring the soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Then let it cook for 20-25 minutes or until the rice and potatoes are tender. Enjoy!

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Green Beans with a Ginger Sauce

Asian Green Beans

These ginger-flavored green beans were served on a bed of kale and white jasmine rice.

When I look at this blue plate full of ginger-spiced green beans, soft white jasmine rice, and crisp green kale, I think to myself “I got a little gypped in the bean department.” Now don’t get me wrong everything on that plate tasted amazing, but those green beans weren’t green when I bought them.

The darker beans were actually a deep eggplant purple color. As soon as I saw them at the farmer’s market, I snatched them up thinking how beautiful they would look in any dish I added them to. Sadly after cooking, the beans all just turned green. Were they still pretty? Yes, just not eggplant purple pretty. I guess at the end of the day, all green beans just want to be green.

Upon tasting the crisp beans, the flavor of ginger stood out the most. The soy sauce added a bit of salt and cut the sweetness of the agave. There isn’t one reason I won’t make this again and since the charade is up, next time I may even just buy normal colored green beans.

*Recipe for the rice and kale is not included here, but I seasoned the rice with with a little garlic powder, salt, and pepper. I also added a bit of Earth Balance buttery spread to it. The kale was made the same way, but I also added some fresh minced garlic when I steamed the kale.

Asian Green Beans 2

Green Beans with Ginger Sauce:

*Serves two as a side or main dish (if you make the rice and kale to go alongside the beans)

Ingredients: 

1 tsp of sesame oil (plus a little more for drizzling)

3-4 cups of fresh green beans, ends trimmed off

1 tbsp of water

1 – 2 tsp of freshly grated ginger

1 1/2 tsp of soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp of agave nectar

1/4 tsp of freshly grated pepper and garlic powder

Method: 

Add the sesame oil to a frying pan or pot on medium heat. When the oil is heated add the beans. Stir them around and coat them in the oil, then put a lid on the pot and let the beans cook for about 5 minutes. After five minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well (at this time you can drizzle a bit more oil on if you would like – about a teaspoon of sesame oil). Add the lid back onto the pot and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes or until the beans are still crisp, but slightly more tender. Serve immediately and top with sesame seeds if you like. Enjoy!

“Grilled” Corn & Sugar Snap Pea Salad

Snow Pea Salad 2

This “grilled” corn and snap pea salad did not come to fruition without obstacles, but I persevered because I had an idea of how great the end result could be (and it was). It all started when I read Shannon’s post about how to grill corn without a grill (find the link to her post here: “No Grill? No Problem! Roasted Yellow Pepper Relish” and her blog link here:  Move Eat Create – her recipe looks delicious by the way!). She had the idea to “grill” corn under the broiler. Genius, right? The corn comes out of the oven “grilled to perfection,” perfectly cooked, with char marks and all.

The end result was so grand, I nearly forgot about the fires I was putting out along the way. I mean really, after the incidents I had, I’m seriously considering getting a fire extinguisher.

So, back to my story. I saw Shannon’s lovely post for her corn relish and grilled corn how-to and I knew I had to make that corn. I just had to add it to a salad. Several foods immediately came in my mind: snow peas (after just buying some from the local farmer’s market), black beans, lime, chili powder, and creamy avocadoes (because really, what salad is complete without avocado?). That was this salad’s inception.

Though, in the making it all nearly came crashing down. I prepped my corn by removing the husks, gently rinsing the cobs, and then patting them dry. I added a bit of olive oil, dried cilantro, and chili powder to the corn (just a tad different than Shannon’s recipe). They looked gorgeous already. As I turned the broiler on, I admired my tasty looking corn.

When the oven was heated, I put the baking sheet about five inches from the top of the oven. The corn cobs were close enough to brown after turning them every five minutes. At about the second turn, I went in to grab the baking pan and accidentally touched (and torched) the side of my arm to the oven rack. I pulled back hopping to and fro on one foot while blowing on my singed arm. After running it under some cool water, I went back to my post, turned my corn, and put them back into the oven.

I thought my bad luck was over, but not soon enough did I pull the corn out to turn it a third time, when I touched the tip of the oven mitt to the hot coils at the top of the oven. Immediately I saw a flame. I thought “Oh my gosh I’m going to light this house on fire before I even get a chance to taste my corn salad.” I also thought “Oh dear, what do I do?” Then almost immediately the flame put itself out. The oven mitt now had a small black badge of honor, similar to the size of the one now on my arm. After these first few unfortunate events, it was smooth sailing, mostly because the other ingredients were raw and there weren’t as many opportunities for me to be careless (as I can sometimes be while in the kitchen – something I need to work on).

 If you don’t have a grill and you try the broiler method, I’m 99.9% confident you will not encounter the problems I did. This is mainly because I have faith in all of you as home cooks and also because you’ve been forewarned. Read on for a completely delicious recipe (a little sweet, spicy, creamy, and somewhat tart).

Snow Pea Salad

Grilled Corn and Sugar Snap Pea Salad:

*Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cob of corn, grilled (either in the oven or on a grill – I drizzled a bit of olive oil on mine, then added some dried cilantro, and chili powder)

2/3 cup of black beans, rinsed

1 cup of sugar snap peas, rinsed and ends removed

1/2 of an avocado, skin removed and diced

1 jalapeno, diced fine

1 large clove of garlic, diced fine

the juice of 1/2 of a lime (or more to taste)

2 tsp of olive oil

1/4 tsp of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder

1/2 – 1 tsp of chili powder (or more to taste)

Method:

Cut the corn off the cob by holding the cob upright as you carefully slice as close as you can to the cob, removing the kernels. Add the kernels to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix them well. It is that simple, which may even make this summer salad more delicious. Enjoy!

Southwestern Cilantro-Lime Corn Salad Served with Quinoa

southwestern corn salad

Life is like being on a seesaw: constantly moving, changing, striving for balance, and hopefully smiling the whole time it’s happening. There is that moment where the person on the other side of the seesaw is on the same level with you, but usually it’s just for an instant and it can be hard to maintain it.

At times, I feel like I have trouble balancing all of the different parts of my life. There are so many things I’m interested in, that at times I feel like I’m pulled in so many directions. Not to mention, being preoccupied with work and feeling the stresses of everyday life. It almost feels like a wave is crashing down on me, during those times where I’m going full speed, trying to do it all, but not doing much successfully. As Publius Syrus once said, “He who chases two hares will catch neither.” I find this quote very applicable to my life.

Sometimes I need to remind myself that I need to make time for the things that are the most important: spending time with loved ones, exercising, and enjoying some of my other passions (especially cooking, eating, and reading). There isn’t enough time in life (or each day) to waste and you won’t have to waste any if you choose to make this salad dish for dinner as it’s a 15 minute meal.

Southwestern Cilantro-Lime Corn Salad with Cumin Quinoa: 

*Serves 3-4

Ingredients for the cilantro-lime corn salad:

1 can of black beans, rinsed thoroughly

1 cup of organic sweet corn, (I used frozen corn)

1 tomato, diced

1 jalapeno, diced

1/2 an avocado, halved and diced

1 tbsp of fresh cilantro, sliced finely

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lime, juiced

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp of salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder

Ingredients for the cumin-spiced quinoa: 

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed

1-2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp of cumin

1/4 tsp of sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and garlic powder

Method:

1- After rinsing the beans add them to a small pot with the corn and heat over low heat until the mixture is warm (and the corn is thawed). Remove from the heat and add to the serving bowl of your choice. Also add in the rest of the ingredients at this time. Stir well and chill in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

2- To make the quinoa, add the rinsed quinoa to a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low once it begins to boil. After about 12 minutes of simmering, the quinoa should be soft and all of the water should be absorbed. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and serve the corn salad on top of the quinoa or mix the two together. Either way will be a delicious meal.

Feel free to post any quick-cooking recipes below. I’m always looking for tasty weeknight-friendly meals.

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