Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit

My grandpa taught me the bean song when I was really young. I got a big kick out of it, and I still sing it sometimes! If you don't know the song I'm referring to, here's a link to the lyrics.,_Beans,_the_Musical_Fruit

Despite their infamous side-effects, beans are my favorite source of protein. Tasty and cheap, can't be beat! My pantry is always stocked with garbanzos, lentils, black-eyed peas, navy beans, pinto beans, and black beans. Canned beans are particularly useful for making a quick meal (they can have a lot of unnecessary salt, so look for reduced sodium and/or organic). A few spices and some fresh veggies can turned plain old beans into a delicious, nutritious and inexpensive meal. Most of my bean dishes are a product of whatever veggies or leftovers I have on hand.

One of my favorite combinations is black beans and winter squash (acorn or butternut usually) or sweet potatoes. It may sound like an odd combo, but it is sooo good! Today I made it for lunch, and used up a acorn squash I've had for well over a month!

1 Acorn Squash
1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Medium Onion, diced
3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 Teaspoon Cumin
Pinch Cinnamon
Pinch Oregano
Salt to taste
Olive oil
1/4 Cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 Cup Water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half, scoop out seeds (discard or save to roast), coat flesh with a little olive oil. Place squash halves cut side down on baking sheet, cook 30-40 minutes, until flesh is tender.

Meanwhile, saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil until onions are translucent. Add beans, spices, cilantro and water. Let simmer until water is evaporated.

Fill squash halves with bean mixture, eat, smile :).

**If you don't have acorn squash you can add some diced cooked sweet potato or butternut squash to the seasoned beans.

Another really simple bean dish is white beans (try navy, cannellini, or great northern) and greens. Saute some onion and garlic in olive oil, add in a can of drained rinsed beans, add a little water or broth (1/4 cup) and salt to taste. Cover and simmer on low 30 minutes. Meanwhile, saute or blanch some collard greens or Swiss chard. Combine the beans and greens and eat up!

One more favorite - Indian spiced chickpeas. Combine sauteed onions and garlic, a teaspoon each of ginger, fennel seeds, coriander, turmeric, and mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas, and 1 can diced tomatoes. Let simmer for about 30 minutes and enjoy!

Experiment with your favorite beans and spices and let me know how it turns out!

P.S. If there aren't any posts for a while it's because school starts Monday. Teaching and dissertating are sure to keep me busy!

1 comment:

  1. Great way to use an acorn squash! I'm always looking for new black bean recipes, too. :-)

    Best of luck with your teaching and dissertation!