Category Archives: Meatless Main Dishes

Black Beans

Black Beans 101 – The Basics

Black beans are a popular and extremely health-promoting legume to include in your meals whenever you can. If you’re wondering about the health benefits of black beans or are looking for ideas on what to do with them, such as what foods, herbs, or spices go well with black beans, you’re in the right place! I’ve answered those questions and a lot more! Read onward for a comprehensive review of black beans.

Enjoy!
Judi

Black Beans 101 – The Basics

About Black Beans
Black beans are native to North, South and Central America. They date as far back as 7,000 years ago when they were a staple food for Central and South Americans. Black beans are about one-half inch long with a shape similar to a pinto bean. They are members of the plant family Phaseolus vulgaris, along with navy, kidney, and pinto beans. Black beans are sometimes referred to as turtle beans or black turtle beans. Today, black beans are grown worldwide and are enjoyed in many cuisines. Cooked black beans are soft in texture with a mild, but slightly sweet flavor.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Black Beans
Black beans are an excellent source of molybdenum. This trace mineral is critical in the formation of enzymes used in a variety of essential functions including carbohydrate metabolism. They also contain a lot of folate, fiber, copper, manganese, Vitamin B1, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Furthermore, a one cup serving of black beans provides about 15 grams of protein (about one-third of the day’s needs), 15 grams of fiber, and about 180 mg of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). That’s impressive!

Blood Sugar Control and Resistant Starch. The high fiber content of black beans coupled with the high protein content makes them an excellent food for helping to control blood sugar levels. Both fiber and protein help to regulate the passage of food through the gastrointestinal tract, reducing spikes in blood sugar from absorbed carbohydrates. This property gives black beans (and other legumes) a low rating on the glycemic index.

Also, recent studies have shown that black beans have specific peptides (types of proteins) that inhibit the formation of glucose transport molecules. This further inhibits glucose absorption from the digestive tract, also helping to keep blood sugars level. This can help in the management of blood sugar issues, especially Type 2 diabetes.

In addition to the high fiber content of black beans, much of their carbohydrate content consists of resistant starch. Resistant starch is not easily broken down in the upper digestive tract. Instead, it is carried to the large intestines where bacteria feed on the starch, breaking it down into short chain fatty acids. The fatty acids become fuel for our intestinal cells and may play a key role in the prevention of metabolic syndrome, bowel disorders, and some cancers. Short chain fatty acids have been found to aid in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. These properties help to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer in those who regularly eat black beans and other legumes.

Phytonutrient Content: Black beans are an outstanding source of anthocyanins and other flavonoids. Many of these compounds contribute to the rich, dark color of black beans. Anthocyanins acts as antioxidants, fighting harmful molecules in the body. They may provide anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits as well.

A 2010 report published in Nutrition Reviews found that anthocyanins may help to protect heart health by improving cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels, in addition to fighting oxidative stress. All of these factors contribute to heart disease. A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that anthocyanins may help to prevent high blood pressure, further protecting our heart health.

Dried vs Canned Black Beans
Dried Black Beans. Dried black beans should first be soaked, rinsed and drained, then cooked before being eaten. This takes some time and may not be feasible for all cooks. However, the nutrient content of dried, soaked and cooked beans is a little higher than that of the canned variety. Dried black beans are cheaper to buy when considering the amount of cooked beans you get from a one-pound bag vs the amount in one can of beans. If the cost factor is important to you, dried beans are the best option.

Storing Dried Black Beans. Store dried black beans in a cool, dry area in a sealed container. When properly stored, they should stay fresh for 2 to 3 years, although they are usually safe to eat beyond that. If you open a container of dried black beans and do not use them all, return the remaining unused beans to an airtight, sealed container stored in a cool, dry place. Dried beans are usually safe to eat beyond their ‘best by” date, although the quality may decline over time. If your dried beans develop an “off” odor or appearance, or show signs of mold or insect infestation, it’s time to discard them.

Canned Black Beans. Canned black beans are a convenient staple food to have in the pantry, and can be found in just about any grocery store. They should be rinsed and drained before eating. Since they are fully cooked, canned black beans can be eaten cold, cooked, pureed, or baked.

The nutrient content of canned black beans is slightly less than that of their dried counterparts, but not so much that they should be avoided. They are typically sorted before processing, as you would dry beans. The beans are then pre-hydrated before being cooked in their sealed cans. Some varieties of canned black beans have added salt and/or calcium chloride to maintain firmness. If you want to avoid those additives, organic and no salt added varieties of canned black beans are available at many grocery stores. The processing of canned black beans is relatively low when compared with other foods, and are considered to be a healthy alternative to dried black beans.

Storing Canned Black Beans. The quality of unopened cans of black beans can be good for 3 to 5 years if kept in a cool, dry place. They are usually safe to eat beyond that, but the quality may decline. Canned black beans usually have a “best by” date stamped on the can. If kept properly, the beans should be safe to eat beyond that day, but the quality may decline. If you notice a bad odor, off appearance or flavor, or mold, the beans should certainly be discarded. If any canned items are leaking, rusting, bulging, or severely dented, they should be discarded.

[On a personal note…When I was young, my parents had a pantry room off the kitchen where they stored canned foods. Apparently, they didn’t check them routinely. One day, a large can of fruit cocktail exploded in the room. It was everywhere! We did the best we could with clean-up, but that room smelled like old fruit cocktail for a VERY long time after that. So…lesson learned: Monitor your canned goods to be sure they are not bulging and use them within a reasonable amount of time!]

How to Prepare Dried Black Beans
Black beans should be soaked before being cooked. This makes them more tender, reduces cooking time, and also reduces their gas-producing tendencies when eaten. Preparing dried black beans is not hard, but does take some time.

First, place your dried beans in your cooking pot. Sort through them to remove any stones or other debris that may be in the bag, and any beans that don’t look good. Then rinse the beans and drain the water. Next, cover the beans with fresh water by at least two inches. There are two methods of soaking to choose from at this point…

Overnight method. Cover the pot and allow the beans to soak overnight or for at least 6 hours. Drain the water and cover the beans with fresh water by at least two inches. Cook your beans (see directions below).

Quick soak method. Cover your rinsed and drained beans in your cooking pot with fresh water. Place the lid on the pot and bring them to a boil. Boil them for two minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow them to rest in the covered pot for two hours. Drain the water, then fill the pot with fresh water. Cook your beans (see directions below).

Cooking your soaked beans. Place your pot filled with water and soaked beans on the stove. Cover the pot and bring them to a boil, then lower the heat. Tilt the lid on the pot and allow the beans to simmer until they are soft. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending upon how fast they are cooked and how long they soaked. Stir them occasionally. Be sure they remain submerged. If needed, add more hot water to the pot. Do NOT add salt or acidic ingredients like vinegar or lemon juice to the water at first. This will cause the beans to be tough and will make them hard to cook. If salted or flavored water is desired, add flavorings when they are close to being done. When they are soft, drain the water and use them as desired. Soaked dried beans may also be cooked in a pressure cooker or slow cooker.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Black Beans
* To have a supply of freshly cooked black beans readily available, cook a pound or two of dried beans. Cool them down in cold water, drain well, then transfer them to freezer bags or containers and store them in the freezer. You’ll have plenty of cooked black beans ready when you need them.

* Make a simple salad by combining black beans with celery, bell peppers, tomatoes and your favorite spicy dressing. Serve this on its own, on a bed of greens, or with a cooked grain of your choice.

* Make a quick taco by filling shells with cooked black beans, greens of choice, chopped tomatoes, avocado slices, onions and any other veggies you want. Top with chopped cilantro, a sprinkle of cheese, a drizzle of lime juice, and a dollop of sour cream or cashew cream.

* Make a black bean hummus by blending a can of black beans with tahini or avocado, lime, chili powder, and garlic to taste.

* Add cooked blacked beans to a stuffed baked potato.

* Use black beans in a burrito in place of refried beans.

* Make an easy dip by layering black beans with guacamole, diced tomatoes, onions, and chopped cilantro.

* Make a black bean salsa by combining black beans with diced tomatoes, red onion, jalapeno, and chopped cilantro. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Let rest for 20 minutes for flavors to blend, then serve with tortilla chips.

* Stuff baked sweet potatoes with a mixture of black beans, chopped onions, corn, diced tomatoes, all flavored with cumin, chili powder, cilantro and lime juice. Place the mixture in the baked sweet potato and top with cheddar cheese and a dollop of plain yogurt, sour cream or cashew cream.

* Try a black bean and walnut lettuce wrap. In a bowl, combine black beans, chopped walnuts, paprika, chili powder, cumin, chopped onion, diced tomatoes and any other vegetables you want, some lime juice, a little cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and/or salsa. Spoon the filling into large lettuce leaves, wrap and enjoy!

Herbs/Spices That Go Well with Black Beans
Basil, bay leaf, cayenne, chili pepper flakes, chili powder, cilantro, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, mint, mustard, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper, rosemary, salt, savory, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Black Beans
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, pork, seafood, tempeh

Vegetables: Bell peppers, carrots, celery, chiles, chives, cucumbers, jicama, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, spinach, squash (winter), sweet potatoes, tomatoes

Fruits: Avocado, citrus fruits (esp. lemon, lime, orange), mangoes, olives, plantains

Grains and Grain Products: Corn, grains (in general), quinoa, rice, tortillas

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese, sour cream

Other Foods: Chocolate, coffee, liquid smoke, miso, oil, sherry (dry), soy sauce, stock (vegetable), vinegar

Black beans have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Black bean cakes, Brazilian cuisine, burritos, Caribbean cuisine, casseroles, Central American cuisines, chili (vegetarian), Cuban cuisine, dips, empanadas, enchiladas, Jamaican cuisine, Latin American cuisines, Mexican cuisine, nachos, pates, Puerto Rican cuisine, purees, quesadillas, refried beans, salads, soups, South American cuisines, Southwestern (U.S.) cuisine, spreads, stews, tacos, Tex-Mex cuisine, tostadas, veggie burgers

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Black Beans
Add black beans to any of the following combinations…

Avocado + cilantro + corn + lime juice
Avocado + cilantro + onions + rice
Bell peppers + corn + lettuce + scallions
Bell peppers + garlic + onions
Brown rice + salsa + tomatoes
Cheddar cheese + chickpeas + corn + green onions
Chiles + cilantro + coriander + cumin + lime + scallions
Cilantro + lime + oregano + red onions
Cilantro + orange
Coriander + cumin + ginger
Garlic + thyme
Kale + sweet potatoes
Mango + quinoa
Salsa + sweet potatoes + tortillas

Recipe Links
Black Bean and Rice Salad https://www.thespruceeats.com/black-bean-and-rice-salad-3051221

Crock Pot Black Bean Chili https://www.thespruceeats.com/crockpot-black-bean-chili-recipe-481139

Easy Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken https://www.thespruceeats.com/cindys-crock-pot-santa-fe-chicken-3054743

Southwest Black Bean and Corn Salad https://www.thespruceeats.com/southwest-black-bean-and-corn-salad-3377848

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Black Bean Soup https://www.thespruceeats.com/quick-vegetarian-black-bean-soup-3378007

Grilled Bean Burgers https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/grilled-bean-burgers/

Texas Black Bean Soup https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/texas-black-bean-soup/

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/black-bean-corn-quinoa/

Black Bean Brownies https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/black-bean-brownies/

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/black-bean-and-rice-enchiladas/

Slow Cooked Stuffed Peppers https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/slow-cooked-stuffed-peppers/

Taco Lasagna https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/taco-lasagna/

Chili Tortilla Bake https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chili-tortilla-bake/

15-Minute Black Bean Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=20

Mexican Black Bean Wrap with Avocado and Tri-Colored Slaw https://hellolittlehome.com/mexican-black-bean-wrap-avocado-tri-color-slaw/

Veggie Burrito Bowls https://www.easycheesyvegetarian.com/veggie-burrito-bowls/

Resources

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=2

https://www.stilltasty.com/Fooditems/index/16542

https://www.stilltasty.com/Fooditems/index/16544

https://www.thespruceeats.com/cooking-black-beans-1808034

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/article/12-things-to-do-with-a-can-of-black-beans

https://domesticsuperhero.com/southwestern-stuffed-sweet-potatoes/

https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-scoop-on-anthocyanins-89522

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5613902/

https://www.phlabs.com/the-benefits-of-black-beans-will-blow-you-away

https://www.thespruceeats.com/black-bean-history-1807569

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Stir-Steamed Kale with Vegetables and Beans

Stir-Steamed Kale with Vegetables and Beans

Here’s a great way to work in your greens in an easy meal to put together. It can be served over any cooked grain or starchy vegetable like potatoes. It would even be good stuffed into an acorn squash! Below is a video demonstration of how to make this dish. The written recipe follows the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Stir-Steamed Kale with Vegetables and Beans
Makes 5 (1 cup each) Main Dish Servings

1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup diced carrot
2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
6 cups chopped kale (about ½ pound)
1 cup chopped mushrooms, OR 1 (4 oz) jar of mushrooms, drained
1 cup cooked beans or peas of choice
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Sesame seeds, optional garnish
5 cups (or more) hot cooked grain of choice (i.e. rice, quinoa, millet, polenta, couscous, etc. OR stuff it into an acorn squash instead of on top of a grain)

In a large pot, heat about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the vegetable broth. Add chopped onion, garlic, carrots and herbs. Sauté about 3 to 5 minutes, until the onions and carrots start to soften. Add the kale, mushrooms, beans, and the rest of the vegetable broth. Stir to combine. Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to cook, stirring often, for about 13 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and most of the broth is gone. Stir in the tomatoes, and vinegar; allow everything to heat through for a minute or two. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired. Serve over a hot cooked grain (or grain product) of choice. If preferred, simply mix the grain in with the veggies and serve it all together. OR use this mixture as stuffing for an acorn squash. Enjoy!

Vegetable-Bean Medley

Vegetable-Bean Medley

Here’s an easy recipe for a vegetable mixture that’s really versatile. It would be excellent served over a bed of any starch you choose…rice, quinoa, couscous, millet, or any other grain product, or even mashed potatoes! It would also be delicious served as a simple soup, suitable for those who like a little broth, but not a lot. The mixture has some liquid in it (deliberately) so there’s something to moisten the base, like mashed potatoes.

Below is a video where I demonstrate how to make this dish. The written recipe is below the video. I hope this helps 🙂

Enjoy!
Judi

Vegetable-Bean Medley
Makes 4 to 5 Servings

1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
1-1/2 cups diced carrots
3/4 cup diced bell pepper
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
3/4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley

½ tsp salt, optional (or to taste)*
1 cup diced zucchini or yellow squash
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
2 cups cooked great northern beans
OR 1 (15.8 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed and drained

Cooked starch of choice, like rice, quinoa, couscous, pasta, millet, or even mashed potatoes (optional)

In a medium to large pot with a tight-fitting lid, add the vegetable broth through parsley from the ingredients list. Stir to combine. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until the carrots start to soften.

Taste the mixture to see if seasonings need adjusting to your taste, and if it needs any added salt. Add any seasoning adjustments plus the squash, spinach, and beans. Stir to combine. Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to simmer another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the squash is lightly cooked, the beans are heated through, and the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and serve over your hot, cooked starch of choice, OR eat it like it is as a soup. Enjoy!

Cook’s Note: At the end of cooking time, there will still be some liquid in the pot with the vegetables. Use this to your advantage to help moisten whatever starch you serve this with. It will only enhance the dish!

* Added salt may or may not be needed in this dish. It depends upon your personal tastes and how much salt was in the vegetable broth.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Hearty Split Pea Soup

Hearty Split Pea Soup

Here’s an easy to put together recipe for a thick and hearty split pea soup. It’s delicious…and even passed the “husband test!” He loved it. So…I think it’s worthy of a try if you’re looking for a thick and satisfying soup for a cold winter day.

Below is a video showing how to make the soup. The written recipe is below the video. Enjoy!

Judi

Hearty Split Pea Soup
Makes About 10 Cups of Soup

1 lb (2 cups) dry split green peas
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp black pepper
8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup diced potatoes
½ cup uncooked rice of choice, rinsed and drained
Salt, to taste

Sort through the peas to remove any stones or debris. Place the sorted peas in a colander and rinse well, then drain.

Add all the ingredients except the potatoes, rice, and salt to a large soup pot; stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil; cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low so the soup will simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for about 45 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings and add salt as needed (the amount will vary depending upon how much salt is in the broth). Add the potatoes and rice, and continue cooking for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until everything is very tender and the flavors are blended. Total cooking time is about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Serve in a chunky style, or blend to creamy smooth, if desired.

Store leftover soup in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within 5 days. This soup may also be frozen.

Note! This soup will thicken up a lot when it is stored in the refrigerator. It is helpful to add some water to it when reheating leftovers. Simply add some water and stir it in until the soup is the consistency you want, then reheat it in the microwave or on the stove.

Red Lentil Soup with Italian Herbs

Red Lentil Soup with Italian Herbs

Here’s a delicious soup that’s very easy to put together, takes little time to cook, and is flexible so it can easily be increased/decreased to meet your needs and adjusted to your preferences. What more can you ask for?? Give it a try sometime.

Below is a video demonstration of how to make the soup. The written recipe follows the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Red Lentil Soup with Italian Herbs
Makes 5 to 6 Cups of Soup
(2 to 3 Meal-Size Servings)

4 cups vegetable broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced)
1 cup diced carrots
½ cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp dried minced onion (or 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped onion)
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
½ tsp dried basil leaves
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp garlic powder (or 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1 cup spiral pasta, uncooked

Add all ingredients (except the spinach and pasta) to a pot with a lid. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and pasta. Raise heat if needed to bring the soup back to a boil, then lower heat back to simmer. Simmer with the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender. Serve.

Store extra soup in the refrigerator in a covered container. Use within 5 days. This soup may also be frozen.

Millet Vegetable Pilaf

Millet Vegetable Pilaf

If you’re looking for something different to fix for a social gathering, or simply to make ahead for a weeknight meal, this should do the trick. It’s not hard to make and is ready in about the time it takes to cook a small pot of millet.

Below is a video demonstration of how to make this dish. The written recipe follows the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Millet Vegetable Pilaf
Makes 4 to 5 Meal-Size Servings (or About 8 Side Servings)

1 cup millet
2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup vegetable broth, or more as needed
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup diced bell pepper
1 cup diced carrot
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small (4 oz) can or jar of mushroom pieces OR 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1-1/2 cups diced zucchini or yellow squash
1-1/2 cups cooked great northern beans OR 1 (15 oz) can great northern beans, optional
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of one lemon

Place the millet in a fine strainer and rinse it under running water. Allow it to drain over a bowl. In a medium pot with a lid, bring the 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Add the millet. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium-low so the millet will simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and allow the millet to rest for 5 minutes, with the lid still on the pot.

Meanwhile, cook the vegetables. In a skillet with a lid, heat about 1/3 cup of the vegetable broth. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrots, basil, thyme, parsley flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir-steam the vegetables over medium heat until they are almost crisp-tender, keeping the skillet covered when not stirring. Add more broth as needed to keep the mixture from getting dry. When the carrots are almost fork-tender, stir in the mushrooms, zucchini, the cooked beans (if using them), chopped spinach, any remaining broth, and the lemon zest. Continue cooking about another 1 to 2 minute, to allow the spinach to wilt and the zucchini to cook to a crisp-tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Total cooking time is roughly 13 minutes. Remove from heat. Gently stir in the cooked millet and serve.

Red Lentil Vegetable Patties

Red Lentil Vegetable Patties

Looking for a veggie burger recipe that’s easy to make YOUR way? Well…you’ve found it! This recipe is extremely flexible and an easy way to use up some leftover cooked potatoes or vegetables you’re just not sure what to do with. It’s SO flexible, you can use cooked potatoes or rice, and vegetables that are cooked, frozen, or raw! How convenient is that? If that’s not enough, the burgers can be pan-fried or baked in the oven without any added oil. Something for everyone 🙂

Below is a demonstration of how to make the patties. The written recipe is below the video. I hope this helps!

Enjoy,
Judi

Red Lentil Vegetable Patties
Makes 10 Patties (1/2 cup of mixture in each)

This recipe makes delicious veggie burgers that easily include leftover cooked vegetables or extra veggies that you have on-hand, whether fresh or frozen. The flavor will change a bit based on which veggies you use, but that’s the fun of this recipe! Experiment with it and enjoy! jk

1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
1-1/4 cup oats (any type), or more if needed
1 cup cooked rice of choice, or cooked potatoes (any kind)
2 cups any combination vegetables of choice, raw, cooked or frozen (and thawed)*
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 Tbsp dried minced onion
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt, or to taste (use less of including cooked vegetables that were already salted)
Water, as needed
1 to 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, optional (use if pan frying the patties)

Place the red lentils in a pot with the 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes with a lid cocked on the pot, or until the lentils are tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Place the oats in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer oats to a large bowl; set aside. Add the cooked rice to the bowl, if using it. Or, if using mashed potatoes, add them to the bowl. If using other cooked potatoes that are in pieces, place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the 2 cups vegetables of choice (see note below) to the food processor and pulse until finely grated (but not pureed). Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the oats.

Transfer the cooled lentils to the bowl with the oats and vegetables. Add in the tomato paste and seasonings; stir well to combine. Add water as needed to make a mixture that holds together when lightly pressed together. If the mixture is too soft from too much liquid, add more processed oats until the mixture sticks together. If the mixture is too dry and will not hold together, add a little more water, until the mixture holds together when lightly pressed.

To bake the patties: Measure the mixture by ½-cup increments onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Lightly press the mixture with your moist (from water or oil) fingers to form patties. Bake them in a 400°F oven until lightly browned on the first side, about 25 to 30 minutes. Flip the patties over and bake another 15 to 18 minutes, until the patties are lightly browned on the second side, and are firm to the touch, but still have a slight “give” when lightly pressed. Serve.

To pan fry the patties: Measure the mixture by ½-cup increments and place them on a plate or tray. Lightly press the mixture with your moist (from water or oil) fingers to form patties. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the 1 or 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Transfer patties into the heated skillet and sauté on medium to medium-low heat, until the first side is brown and patties are starting to firm up. Watch them closely, as they can easily get overly browned.  Flip the patties over and continue cooking until both sides are browned and the patties are firm to the touch. They may take about 30 minutes to cook, since they do better at lower heat so they don’t burn. They may be flipped more than once, if needed.

The patties are excellent served with ketchup, salsa, kimchi, or any sauce of your choice, like garlic herb tahini sauce, Sriracha tahini sauce, tomato sauce, yogurt sauce, mustard sauce, or any other sauce you enjoy with a veggie burger.

Store extra patties in a covered container in the refrigerator. Use within 5 days. Patties may be frozen individually then transferred to a freezer container for later use. Use frozen patties within 6 months.

* If using raw vegetables, choose something that cooks quickly like zucchini, yellow squash or spinach. Place the raw vegetables in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. When using frozen vegetables, place them in a colander under running water to thaw them out. Allow them to drain well, then add them to the food processor. If using already cooked vegetables, drain off any extra water before adding them to the food processor.

Some suggested vegetables that work well in this recipe would be raw zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and/or spinach or baby greens. Already cooked vegetables that would work well include carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, parsnips, stir-fry blends, California blend, mixed vegetables, green beans, kale, or other cooked vegetables or blends that you enjoy. Just about any frozen and thawed vegetable or vegetable blend would work well as long as it can be eaten in the blanched state that it was in before being frozen. Frozen potatoes or other such vegetables that should not be eaten unless thoroughly cooked should not be used as a frozen and thawed item (unless you cook it before using it in the recipe).

About Judi

Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Black-Eyed Peas

Black-Eyed Peas 101 – The Basics

Black-eyed peas are a delicious legume that is popular in the American South (among other places around the world). If you’re not familiar with them, you’re missing out! Below is a comprehensive article all about black-eyed peas, from what they are to suggested recipe links. If you haven’t tried them before, I urge you to at least give them a try sometime with any recipe that sounds like a “go” for you and your family. I doubt you’ll regret it!

Enjoy!
Judi

Black-Eyed Peas 101 – The Basics

About Black-Eyed Peas
Despite their name, black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata) are actually a type of shelling bean in the cowpea family. Their pods can be up to two feet long. Black-eyed peas are native to Asia and Africa and have been cultivated since about 3,000 BC. According to early records, black-eyed peas were brought to the West Indies by West African slaves, then onward to America. They were originally used as food for livestock, but became a staple in the slaves’ diet. The fields were left untouched by northern soldiers who saw no value in the crops, so they became an important food for the Confederate South in America.

Black-eyed peas are still a staple in Southern (American) foods where they are commonly served with deep leafy vegetables such as collard or turnip greens. In the South, it’s customary to eat black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day for good health and wealth in the New Year.

Black-eyed peas have a kidney shape and are white with a black eye in the center. The black “eye” forms where the pea attaches to its pod. They have a creamy texture and a flavor all their own, that can be described as nutty, earthy, and savory.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
As with all legumes, black-eyed peas are a healthful addition to the diet. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas has 160 calories, negligible fat, and 5 grams of protein. That same one cup also has substantial amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, folate, and Vitamins A and K. They are also a very good source of soluble fiber which is known to help lower cholesterol thereby warding off heart disease.

Folate. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides more than half of our daily folate needs. This crucial B-vitamin is not only important in preventing anemia, but is also critical for pregnant women in ensuring their offspring are not born with neural tube defects (spinal and brain issues).

Manganese. One cup of cooked black-eyed peas also provides roughly half of our daily needs for manganese. This mineral is a valuable antioxidant that helps to protect cellular structures from damage. It is also used in the formation of cartilage and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene). One cup of cooked black-eyed peas provides a substantial amount of Vitamin A by way of its beta-carotene content. This important vitamin is critical for proper eye function and also skin health. It also is utilized in the maintenance of our mucous membranes in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, helping to protect the body from invading pathogens. Vitamin A is also critical in the proper functioning of our immune system protecting us from pathogens that have entered the bloodstream.

All things considered, black-eyed peas are a very healthful food to include in your diet when you can. Their nutrient content can help to lower the risk of diabetes, improve blood pressure, decrease blood lipid levels thereby lowering the risk of heart disease, and reduce inflammation. All from a humble black-eyed pea!

How to Select Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
If you plan to shell the peas yourself, look for pods that appear fresh and tender. Avoid those that look dried out, blemished or moldy.

If you are shopping for fresh peas that have already been shelled, choose ones that look fresh and tender. Avoid those that look dry, wrinkly, or show signs of age and starting to spoil.

How to Store Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
Freshly harvested black-eyed peas are highly perishable and have a short shelf life. Unshelled peas should be kept in a cool, humid place (at 45°F to 50°F) for no more than 3 to 4 days after harvest. They should be shelled and cooked or frozen as soon as possible after being purchased.

Shelled, uncooked peas may be kept in the refrigerator in a covered container or plastic bag for no more than 7 days. Once cooked, black-eye peas should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container and used within 3 to 5 days.

How to Prepare Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
Rinse the pods to remove any debris. Slim, very young black-eyed peas can be eaten in their pods, like green beans. The more mature peas should be removed from their pods before being cooked. To do that, gently squeeze the pod so it will separate at the seam. If that does not work, you can carefully cut along the seam with a knife. Allow the peas to drop into a bowl or container. Discard the pods. Rinse and drain the peas.

If your fresh peas have already been shelled, place them in a bowl of cold water and sort through them. Remove any damaged peas or those that have an off color. Drain the peas and rinse/drain them again until the water is clear and free of debris. Cook them right away, if possible. If you can’t cook them immediately, place them in a covered container in the refrigerator and cook them as soon as possible.

If the peas are to be cooked and eaten right away, they will need to be boiled in broth or water until tender. This takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending upon how tender you like them. The cooking liquid may or may not be used in your dish, depending on the recipe and personal preferences.

If the peas are to be frozen, they will need to be blanched first. See the section (below) on “How to Freeze Fresh Black-Eyed Peas” for instructions.

How to Freeze Fresh Black-Eyed Peas
Rinse the pods to remove any debris, then remove the peas from the pods. To do that, gently squeeze the pod so it will separate at the seam. If that does not work, you can carefully cut along the seam with a knife. Allow the peas to drop into a bowl or container. Rinse and drain the peas. Rinse/drain them again until the water is clear. Discard the pods and any immature, over-mature, or damaged peas. Bring a large pot of water to boil and boil the peas for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer the peas to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool for 2 minutes. Drain well and spread the peas out on a tray and blot dry with a paper towel. Place the tray in the freezer and allow the peas to freeze. Transfer the frozen peas to a freezer bag or container. Label with the date and return the peas to the freezer.

Alternatively, you could place your boiled, cooled and drained peas to a freezer bag, and lay the bag flat in the freezer. It will be helpful to move the bag occasionally as they freeze to avoid having them all frozen into one big lump.

For best quality, use your frozen peas within 6 months. They will be safe to eat beyond that, but the quality may deteriorate.

Fresh vs Dried vs Canned Black-Eyed Peas
Fresh. Fresh black-eyed peas are not commonly found in grocery stores. In areas where they are grown, they may be found at farmers’ markets or roadside stands. Other than that, they would be hard to come by in areas where they are not grown. So, most people don’t have fresh peas as an option.

Dried. Most grocery stores carry dried black-eyed peas year-round. They are a staple pantry item for many people and will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 to 3 years. They are edible beyond that, although their quality may deteriorate. Since they have been shelled and soaking/cooking them is not a difficult process, dried black-eyed peas are a good item to keep in your food supply.

Canned. Canned black-eyed peas are found in most grocery stores. Their flavor and texture are comparable to dried peas that have been fully cooked. Some varieties are already seasoned. They are truly a convenience food in that they are ready to eat simply by opening the can and rinsing them, if desired. Canned black-eyed peas are an excellent option to keep in the pantry, especially in case of emergencies when there is a power outage.

How to Prepare Dried Black-Eyed Peas
Dried black-eyed peas can be prepared the same way you would prepare any dried bean or pea. First rinse and sort through the beans, removing any stones or other debris, and damaged peas. They should be “quick soaked” or “overnight soaked” first before being cooked. This is an important step because it reduces the compounds that can cause gas and bloating in some people when beans/peas are eaten.

Quick Soak Method: After the peas are rinsed and sorted, place them in a large pot of water. Bring everything to a rapid boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover with a lid, and allow the peas to sit in the hot water for 1 hour. Drain the soak water and rinse the peas. Then cook the peas by covering them with cold water in a large pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat to simmer with the lid tilted. Allow them to cook until they reach the desired tenderness. This can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending upon how tender you like them and how fast the water is boiling. See the “Important!” note below.

Overnight Soak Method: After the peas are rinsed and sorted, place them in a large pot of cold water. Cover the pot and let the peas soak overnight or at least 6 to 8 hours. Drain the soak water and rinse the peas. Then cook the peas by covering them with cold water in a large pot. Bring to a gentle boil, then lower the heat to simmer with the lid tilted. Allow them to cook until they reach the desired tenderness. This can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending upon how tender you like them and how fast the water is boiling. See the “Important!” note below.

Important! When cooking dried peas or beans, do not add salt or any type of acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to the water early in the cooking process. This will cause the skins of the peas to toughen and they will not soften up like expected, even with extended cooking time. Save adding salt until they have already started to become tender. Add any acid at the end of cooking time, because adding it early can cause it to turn bitter.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Black-Eyed Peas
Here are some tips and ideas for using black-eyed peas…

* When cooking dried black-eyed peas after they have been soaked, do not add salt to the water early in the cooking process. When added early, the salt will cause the outer skin of the peas to toughen, making it hard to get them to soften as they cook. Add salt toward the end of cooking after the peas have already started to soften, or save the salt until the peas are used in a specific dish.

* When cooking dried black-eyed peas after they have been soaked, do not add any acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar) to the cooking water early in the cooking process. The acid will turn bitter when added too early. Wait until the peas are fully cooked, then drizzle them with a little acid of choice for flavoring.

* If you like the convenience of canned peas, but don’t want the additives found in canned foods, try buying dried peas, soaking and cooking them completely (or almost completely), and freezing them. You’ll have whatever amount of peas you need without added salt, etc., ready to go whenever you need them.

* Make a black-eye pea salad with peas, chopped tomatoes, corn, onion, avocado, bell pepper, cilantro and your favorite Italian dressing.

* Finely chop the vegetables (for the salad above), add a little cumin along with the salad dressing and turn it into a salsa.

* Make a black-eyed pea dip by blending black-eye peas with garlic, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a little sugar to sweeten the mix just a bit.

* Make a “sloppy Joe” type of mixture by sautéing (in oil or vegetable stock) some onion, garlic, bell pepper and carrots until tender. Stir in cooked black-eyed peas, some cooked grain of choice (i.e. rice, millet, couscous), Cajun seasoning (or a mix of paprika, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic and onion powder), and 2 or 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Add more vegetable broth for liquid as needed. Serve as-is, on toasted buns, or on a bed of cooked grain.

* Enjoy a traditional Southern (American) dish by serving cooked black-eyed peas on a bed of cooked grain (rice), with a side of deep leafy greens, and a slice of cornbread.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well with Black-Eyed Peas
Allspice, basil, bay leaf, cilantro, coriander, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, marjoram, oregano, parsley, pepper, sage, salt, thyme

Foods That Go Well with Black-Eyed Peas
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds: Bacon, beans (in general), black beans, chicken, eggs, fish, ham, kidney beans, pork, poultry, and tahini

Vegetables: Arugula, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, celery, chard (Swiss), chiles, greens (bitter; i.e. collards, mustard, turnip greens), mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, shallots, spinach, tomatoes

Fruits: Lemon, olives, tamarind

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, corn, corn bread, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter, cheese (i.e. feta), coconut butter, coconut milk, cream, yogurt

Other Foods: Agave nectar, barbecue sauce, capers, oil (i.e. olive, safflower, sunflower), tamari, vinegar (i.e. apple cider, balsamic)

Black-eyed peas have been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
African cuisine, burritos, Cajun cuisine, Caribbean cuisine, casseroles, chili (vegetarian), Creole cuisine, dips, gumbo, hummus, Indian cuisine, salads (i.e. bean, green, Hoppin’ John, tomato), soul food, soups, Southern (US) cuisine, stews, succotash, “Texas caviar”

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Black-Eyed Peas
Combine black-eyed peas with any of the following combinations…

Bell peppers + celery + onions
Brown rice + onions
Coconut milk + sticky rice
Corn + dill
Feta cheese + tomatoes
Garlic + greens
Onions + tomatoes
Pumpkin + rice

Recipe Links
Hoppin’ John https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/hoppin-john/

Avocado Black-Eyed Pea Salad https://www.callmepmc.com/avocado-black-eyed-pea-salad/

Avocado Black-Eyed Pea Salsa https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/213030/avocado-and-black-eyed-pea-salsa/

Black-Eyed Pea Salad with Avocado and Jalapeno https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/black-eyed-pea-salad-with-avocado-and-jalapeno/

Southwestern Black-Eyed Pea Salad https://www.shelikesfood.com/southwestern-black-eyed-pea-salad/

Avocado and Black-Eyed Pea Salsa https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/avocado-and-black-eyed-pea-salsa-53032281

Cowboy Caviar https://www.culinaryhill.com/cowboy-caviar-recipe/#wprm-recipe-container-26521

Black-Eyed Pea Casserole with Cornbread Crust https://www.rachaelhartleynutrition.com/blog/2015/12/black-eyed-pea-and-greens-casserole-with-cornbread-crust

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus https://www.gritsandpinecones.com/black-eyed-pea-hummus/#wprm-recipe-container-19643

Lucky and Spicy Black-Eyed Pea Salad Recipe http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2010/12/spicy-black-eyed-pea-salad-recipe.html

Zannie’s Black-Eyed Pea Dip https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/zannies-black-eyed-pea-dip/

Southern Black-Eyed Peas (Vegan) https://healthiersteps.com/recipe/southern-black-eyed-peas-vegan/

Vegan Black-Eyed Peas https://www.thespruceeats.com/vegetarian-black-eyed-peas-1001609

Creole Black-Eyed Peas https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/01/creole-black-eyed-peas.html

Black-Eyed Peas with a Healthy Twist https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/side/other-side-dish/black-eyed-peas-with-a-healthy-twist.html

Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/black-eyed-peas-with-bacon-and-pork-recipe-1920605

Black-Eyed Pea Salad https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/black-eyed-pea-salad-recipe-1910721

Resources
http://www.foodreference.com/html/fblackeyedpea.html

https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Black_Eye_Peas_6584.php

https://foodcombo.com/find-recipes-by-ingredients/black-eyed-peas

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16567

https://www.latimes.com/food/la-xpm-2012-sep-15-la-fo-rosh-hashanah-rec1-20120915-story.html

https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/health-benefits-blackeyed-peas-4253.html

https://www.livestrong.com/article/414892-health-benefits-of-black-eyed-peas/

https://cookforgood.com/how-to-shell-fresh-black-eyed-peas-and-field-peas/

https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/food-safety/fresh-from-the-farm-alabama-recipes-fresh-black-eyed-peas-and-other-southern-peas-best-vinaigrette-for-pea-salad/

Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia. (1993) So Easy to Preserve. 3rd edition. Athens, GA: Cooperative Extension Service.

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas 101 – The Basics

If you’re wondering about chickpeas, from what they are to how to use them, you’re in the right place! Below is a comprehensive article all about chickpeas!

Enjoy!
Judi

Chickpeas 101 – The Basics

About Chickpeas
Chickpeas are members of the Fabaceae plant family. They originated in the Middle East, where they are still widely used. Researchers have evidence that chickpeas were consumed as far as 7,000 years ago, with evidence that they were cultivated as far back as 3,000 BC. From the Middle East, chickpeas slowly made their way around the world. Today, the main commercial producers of chickpeas are India, Pakistan, Turkey, Ethiopia, and Mexico.

Chickpeas have developed many names around the world, including garbanzo beans, garbanzos, grams, Bengal grams, Egyptian peas, and besan (when ground into flour). There are different varieties of chickpeas commonly grown, with some being green, black, brown, red, or the very familiar tan color. “Kabuli” are large and beige with a thin skin. This is the type commonly found in American grocery stores. “Desi” chickpeas are small and dark with yellow interiors. The Desi type chickpeas are about half the size of the Kabuli chickpea that Americans are familiar with. This is the most popular type of chickpea worldwide. They have a thicker seed coat than the Kabuli type. “Green” chickpeas are younger and have a sweeter flavor than the other types. They are similar to green peas.

Chickpeas are the seeds of the plant, grown for their highly nutritious qualities, including an abundance of fiber, protein and other nutrients. They have a mild, nutty flavor and buttery texture. Chickpeas are naturally gluten-free.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Chickpeas contain a lot of antioxidants, protein, fiber and other nutrients too. Their antioxidants not only combat free-radicals in the body, but also appear to have anti-inflammatory effects. This alone makes them powerful foods to include in the diet.

Chickpeas also supply a lot of protein, with 1 cup of cooked chickpeas providing over 14 grams. That same cup of cooked chickpeas also provides over 12 grams of fiber, along with a lot of molybdenum, manganese, folate, copper, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. One cup of cooked chickpeas has about 270 calories. They have a low glycemic index, so they are digested and absorbed slowly, without a large spike in blood sugar.

Selecting Chickpeas: Dried vs Canned
Dried: Chickpeas are sold dried or canned. Dried chickpeas are usually prepackaged but are sometimes sold in bulk bins. Make sure there is no sign of moisture or insect damage when selecting dried chickpeas. When purchasing from bulk bins, also make sure there is a good turnover of product in the bins so you can be assured they are as fresh as possible.

Canned: Most grocery stores carry canned chickpeas and they are a great staple food to keep in the pantry when time is short. They can simply be used from the can when needed for a salad or hummus, or heated briefly in cooked foods. Many people use the liquid from canned chickpeas (called aquafaba) as an egg white substitute and when making vegan meringues.

The nutritional value of canned chickpeas is good when compared to some other canned foods. The value of most nutrients is lowered by about 15% in canned chickpeas, with the exception of folate, which is lowered by 45% when compared to the folate level in dried chickpeas. There is some concern with the BPA content of canned goods. If you are avoiding BPA from canned foods, be sure to look for cans labeled as BPA-free. Also, some canned chickpeas may contain additives like salt and/or calcium chloride (a firming agent). If those additives are concerns for you, then dried chickpeas may be a better option. However, organic canned chickpeas should contain little to no additives with the exception of salt. Some brands may carry salt-free options in BPA-free cans.

Aquafaba
Aquafaba is what many people call the liquid in canned chickpeas. (Note that this does not apply to the liquid in other types of canned beans.) Due to its thick nature, this liquid can be used straight from the can as a substitute for egg whites in cooking. It can also be whipped into meringues and marshmallows.

Mix aquafaba with some cream of tartar and whip as you would egg whites. The fluff will hold together well and lighten quick breads and muffins. According to Bob’s Red Mill, use 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar with ½ cup (8 tablespoons) of aquafaba. For more information on how to use aquafaba as an egg replacer, please visit their site at https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

To use aquafaba, it’s helpful to first shake the unopened can of chickpeas. Open and drain the can into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, separating the canned peas from their liquid. Briefly whisk the liquid to blend the starches that may have settled on the bottom of the can, then measure it as needed for a recipe. Fresh aquafaba can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Extra aquafaba can easily be frozen for later. Freeze it in 1 tablespoon increments in an ice cube tray. When frozen, transfer the cubes to a labeled freezer bag. It may easily be thawed in the microwave, if desired. Aquafaba will keep for about 2 months in the freezer.

See also: A Guide To Aquafaba at https://minimalistbaker.com/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour is available in some grocery stores, and can be purchased online. Most chickpea flour available is made from raw chickpeas. When using this type of flour, be sure it is used in a recipe where it is well-moistened and also cooked in some way. This will make it more digestible. Otherwise, the finished product may be hard to digest and could cause excessive gas. Because it is usually made from raw chickpeas, this type of flour should not be eaten raw.

How to Store Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. They will keep well for about a year. The longer they are stored, the drier they will become and may take longer to cook. It’s helpful to rotate your supply of dried chickpeas (like all foods), using the “first-in, first-out” method (cook your oldest chickpeas first). Once cooked, chickpeas should be stored in the refrigerator in a covered container and used within four days.

As with most, if not all canned foods, canned chickpeas should have a “best by” date stamped on the can. For best quality, use them before that date. Store cans in a cool, dry place.

How to Prepare Dried Chickpeas
Dried chickpeas should first be sorted and examined so you can remove any stones, debris, or damaged beans. Then they should be rinsed well and drained. Before actual cooking, chickpeas should be soaked which makes them more digestible. There are two methods for soaking chickpeas.

Quick-soak method: Place the sorted and rinsed beans in a large pot with about 2 to 3 parts of water to 1 part of chickpeas. Bring the contents to a boil. Cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and allow the chickpeas to soak for 2 hours. Then drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add fresh water to the pot and bring it to boil. Lower the heat and simmer until they are tender. The time will vary depending upon how dry the beans were. Drain, then use as planned.

Traditional soaking method: This method involves a longer soaking time, but may actually be preferred because it further reduces compounds in the chickpeas that may cause gas when they are eaten. After the peas are sorted, rinsed and drained, place them in a large pot with at least 3 to 4 parts of water per 1 part of chickpeas. Cover the pot and allow them to soak for at least 6 to 8 hours, up to 12 hours. Drain, then fill the pot with fresh water. Bring them to boil, lower heat and simmer gently until the chickpeas are tender. The time will depend upon how long they soaked and how dry they were initially. Some directions call for cooking up to 2 hours, but I have found that they usually cook faster than that. Drain, then use as planned.

Note! When cooking any type of dried pea or bean, be sure not to add any acid nor salt to the water early on when cooking the pea or bean. Doing so will make the outer shell tough which makes the dried pea or bean hard to cook, and they may not soften like you expect. If you want to salt the water or add an acid (like lemon juice or vinegar), only add it when the peas or beans are almost finished cooking and no sooner.

One cup of dried chickpeas yields about three cups cooked. Cooked chickpeas should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator and used within four days.

Freezing Chickpeas
Sorted, rinsed and soaked, but uncooked chickpeas may be frozen in covered containers. After soaking, drain them well, then place them in an airtight freezer container. They will keep in the freezer for up to 1 year.

If you want to cook dried chickpeas in advance and have them whenever needed, simply drain your cooked chickpeas and place them in a labeled freezer bag. Flatten the bag, lay them down in the freezer and allow them to freeze. Frozen, cooked chickpeas will keep well for 1 year. However, some resources state that they should be used within 6 months for best quality.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Chickpeas
* Make an easy hummus by blending chickpeas with olive oil, fresh garlic, tahini and lemon juice.

* Add a nutritional punch to your salads by topping them with some chickpeas.

* Make an easy pasta dish by topping cooked pasta with chickpeas, olive oil, crumbled feta cheese and fresh oregano.

* Add some chickpeas to vegetable soup to enhance its flavor, texture and nutritional value.

* Add chickpeas to a roasted veggie and quinoa salad.

* Add chickpeas to your favorite stir-fry.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Chickpeas
Basil (and Thai basil), bay leaf, capers, cardamom, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder and spices, dill, garlic, ginger, mint, mustard seeds, oregano, paprika, parsley, pepper (black and white), rosemary, saffron, sage, salt, sumac, tarragon, thyme, turmeric

Foods That Go Well with Chickpeas
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beef, cashews, chicken, lentils, pine nuts, pistachios, seeds (i.e. pumpkin, sesame), tahini, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard (Swiss), chiles, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, green beans, greens (bitter, like beet greens), greens (salad), kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, scallions, spinach, squash (summer), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini

Fruits: Apples, apple cider, apple juice, apricots (dried), avocados, citrus (lemon, lime, orange), coconut, currants, mangoes, olives, pumpkin, tamarind

Grains and Grain Products: Bread, bulgur, corn, couscous, farro, millet, pasta, polenta, quinoa, rice, tortillas, wheat berries

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Buttermilk, cheese (cheddar, feta, goat, Parmesan), coconut milk, yogurt

Other Foods: Mayonnaise, oil, soy sauce, tamari, vinegar

Chickpeas have been used in the following cuisines and foods:
North African cuisine, chana masala, chili (vegetarian), curries, dips, falafels, Greek cuisine, hummus, Indian cuisine, Italian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisines, Mexican cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, salad dressings, salads, soups (i.e. minestrone, tomato, vegetable), spreads, stews, tabbouleh, veggie burgers

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Chickpeas
Combine chickpeas with the following combos…
Apricots + pistachios + tahini
Basil + brown rice + curry
Basil + cucumbers + feta cheese + garlic + red onions
Bulgur + eggplant + mint + quinoa
Cayenne + feta cheese + garlic + spinach + tomatoes
Chiles + cilantro + lime
Coriander + cumin + mint + sesame seeds
Cumin + eggplant
Garlic + lemon + tahini
Mint + onions + yogurt
Potatoes + saffron + Thai basil
Spinach + sweet potatoes

Recipe Links
Garlic Dip http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=223

Minted Garbanzo Bean Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=191

Healthy Veggie Salad http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=311

Curried Mustard Greens and Garbanzo Beans with Sweet Potatoes http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=41

Chickpea Soup https://www.thespruceeats.com/revithosoupa-chickpea-soup-1706136

Carrot Hummus https://www.thespruceeats.com/carrot-hummus-4772801

Honey Roasted Chickpea Butter https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-honey-roasted-chickpea-butter-239671

How to Make Crispy Roasted Chickpeas in the Oven https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-219753

Risotto with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas https://fakeginger.com/risotto-with-caramelized-onions-mushrooms-and-chickpeas/

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas https://steamykitchen.com/10725-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-garbanzo-beans.html

Coconut Ginger Chickpea Soup https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/coconut-ginger-chickpea-soup

Spiced Chickpeas and Greens Frittata https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/spiced-chickpeas-and-greens-frittata

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Cauliflower Steaks and Crispy Chickpeas https://producemadesimple.ca/5-ingredient-recipe-shaved-brussels-sprouts-salad-with-cauliflower-steaks-and-crispy-chickpeas/

Mediterranean Avocado Chickpea Pasta Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/mediterranean-avocado-chickpea-pasta-salad/

Chickpea Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies https://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/chickpea-flour-chocolate-chip-cookies/

20 Amazing Things You Can Do With Aquafaba https://www.vegansociety.com/whats-new/blog/20-amazing-things-you-can-do-aquafaba

19 Aquafaba Recipes That Prove Chickpea Water is Not as Gross as It Sounds https://greatist.com/eat/aquafaba-recipes

The 25 Best Vegan Aquafaba Recipes You Never Knew Could Be Vegan https://www.veganfoodandliving.com/the-25-best-vegan-aquafaba-recipes-you-never-knew-could-be-vegan/

Resources
https://bienasnacks.com/blogs/biena-blog/chickpeas-information-faqs

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=58

https://www.liveeatlearn.com/chickpeas/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/using-dried-chickpeas-in-moroccan-cooking-2394969

https://www.americastestkitchen.com/guides/vegan/what-is-aquafaba

https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/a-guide-to-aquafaba/

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce

Here is a delicious pasta recipe that includes a flavorful combo of zucchini and mushrooms cooked with herbs and aromatics, all topped with your favorite tomato sauce and cheese, if desired. It can be made into a meatless meal or served with meat of your choice. A video demonstration is below. The written recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce
Makes About 6 servings

1 lb pasta of choice
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
About ¾ cup chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
2 medium zucchini, chopped small
1 (8 oz) pkg mushrooms of choice, sliced small
1 (15 oz) can white beans (or beans of choice), rinsed and drained, optional*
1-1/2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup water
Juice of 1 large lemon
Tomato sauce of your choice
Parmesan or grated mozzarella cheese, optional topping

Place tomato sauce in a small pot with lid, and warm it over medium-low heat. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

Prepare the vegetables: In a large pot, briefly heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion and bell pepper for 1 to 2 minutes; add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, beans, spices and water; stir to combine. Cover and allow the vegetables to cook until the zucchini starts to soften, stirring occasionally. This may take from 5 to 9 minutes, depending upon how cooked you want them to be. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice; stir to combine.

When the pasta is cooked and drained, and the vegetables are cooked, your dish is ready to serve. Place some pasta on the plate and top with some vegetables. Top with some tomato sauce, and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

* The added beans are optional, but make a nice addition for a meatless meal. If meat is preferred, omit the beans and serve this dish with the meat of your choice. A piece of chicken would go well. Also, if you want to add ground beef or sausage, browned and drained meat can be added to the tomato sauce. Ground meat can also be added to the vegetable mixture. In your large pot, brown the meat first, then drain the excess fat. You could omit the added olive oil in this case. Proceed from there with sautéing the vegetables, etc.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.