Archive for the ‘beans’ Category

20 Minute Cider Black Beans with Bacon

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

A confession: I avoided black beans for nearly a decade, after being scarred by my mother’s frequent cooking of them during my high school years. Thanks to the open floor plan of my childhood home, the scent wafted throughout the house relentlessly. I don’t know why it was so offensive at the time, but just the mention of black beans made me nauseous for years after I left home.

Fast forward a few years, with a new baby in the house, and it became unavoidable as I researched real food options for babies that I would, in fact, have to learn to cook black beans. (Black beans are a good source of protein, iron, magnesium and folate.) It was one thing to order black beans on the side when out to eat, but I still shied away from making them at home.

cider black beans with bacon

Recently, the boy requested that we start observing “Taco Tuesday.” Now, he doesn’t eat tacos, but that didn’t deter him from the idea. He figured I’d make him a quesadilla and the rest of us would have tacos. For week one, I made these cider baked beans and pork carnitas. Week two I had less time, so used chicken breast for the meat — but the boy was so excited about the beans that he decided to try a bean and cheese “taco” (really, more like a burrito). And last night he asked for it again — so I think we have a winner on our hands. Now, I also used bacon in the beans — so it’s not a meatless recipe — but it won praise from my previously bean-adverse husband as well.

You could use dried beans and cook this the slow way — but thanks to my favorite Eden Foods canned beans (BPA-free and no added salt), this can be ready in 20 minutes flat. Just enough time to warm tortillas and prep the other taco fillings and accompaniments. (I think half the reason the boy requested taco night was for the all-important tortilla chips and salsa.) Thanks to the Washington Post, whose recipe for cider baked beans inspired me to add the sweet boiled cider here.

Recipe: Cider Black Beans with Bacon


  • 1-2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons boiled cider*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch salt and black pepper


In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add beans, stir and cook one minute. Add boiled cider and water and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, stirring just once or twice, for about 15 minutes (until most of the liquid is absorbed). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with brown rice, tortillas, and thinly sliced peppers, shredded carrots or other favorite vegetables. Makes 4 servings.

[*Note: if you don’t have boiled cider on hand, replace the boiled cider and water with fresh apple cider. Alternatively, you could swap it for pure maple syrup.]

Do you have a theme dinner night at your house?

Panzanella with Cannellini Beans

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Looking for a no-cook summer supper idea? How about one that uses up almost-overripe tomatoes and stale bread? Panzanella is an Italian summer salad that is best made with the ripest summer tomatoes you can find — and the perfect way to use those tomatoes sitting on your kitchen counter.

Panzanella can be served as a side dish or the main course — because I was serving this for Meatless Monday, I added cannellini (or white kidney) beans to boost the protein content. A good quality cheese — parmigiano reggiano or my personal favorite, a sharp pecorino — is a great finishing touch. Because I use canned beans to save time (see note below), I like to cook them with a little garlic first to add flavor. You can omit that step if you prefer, or if you’re more organized than I and cook dried beans ahead of time.

Recipe: Panzanella with Cannellini Beans


  • 1 loaf day-old Italian bread
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans*
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 large, very ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • parmigiano or pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus 1 tablespoon for the beans)
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • sea salt and black pepper

* I use Eden brand organic, BPA-free canned beans

Instructions: Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Rinse and drain the canned beans, then add them to the pan, stirring to combine with the garlic. Cook on low for 5 minutes.

In a large salad bowl, pour the bread cubes, cooked beans, tomatoes and basil. Separately, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette. Drizzle over the salad and toss gently to combine. Let the salad sit on the counter for 15-30 minutes to let the flavors meld before eating. Just before serving, grate some cheese over top. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!

Note: this recipe depends on juicy tomatoes to moisten the salad — if your salad seems dry, add additional olive oil and vinegar to taste.

Meatless Monday: Creamy Lima Beans

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

I can’t say I have a particular affinity for lima beans, but I’ve never feared them the way so many people (my mother included) do. Call it more a casual indifference. But when I saw the pretty little pale-green beans, pre-shelled, in a basket at Alexandria’s West End market recently, I couldn’t resist. This simple preparation brought out the beans’ natural creaminess without obscuring their mild flavor. Next time, I might use more garlic instead of onion, but otherwise it was pretty good. And, the husband didn’t hate them, so I’ll count that in the Meatless Monday win column. (The boy is adamant about eating his green veggies frozen at the moment, so he opted for frozen string beans instead.) I also made a stir-fry of squash and peppers from our CSA and served both over basmati rice, making for a pretty hearty fall supper.

Recipe: Creamy Lima Beans


  • 1 pint lima beans, shelled
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper

Instructions: Place lima beans, onion, garlic and bay leaf in a medium saucepan and cover with water to about an inch over the beans. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil gently for 15-20 minutes, until beans are fork tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking. Melt butter in the saucepan and return beans (remove bay leaf) to the pan, stirring to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Earth Week: Pantry Faves

Friday, April 25th, 2008


Two essential items in the FoodieTots pantry are broth and beans. My favorite broth brand is Pacific – all natural, organic, and comes in handy 1-cup individual cartons that minimize waste when you know you won’t finish a whole full-size carton within the week. I was annoyed that they didn’t have a low-sodium version of the free-range chicken broth, until I had a chance to compare with conventional brands and discovered that it has the same sodium level as the Swanson’s low sodium. Pacific does have lower sodium options, they’re just not stocked at every grocery, and don’t come in the smaller sizes. To further reduce the sodium, I usually do a half-stock, half-water mix when using it in soups or to cook couscous, quinoa, etc.

In my quest for the best organic canned beans (more on that later), I discovered Eden — a family-owned, environmentally-conscious company based in Michigan. They are unique in the bean market in that most of their beans have *no* added salt. And most significantly:

Eden Organic Beans are packed in lead free tin covered steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel lining that does not contain bisphenol-A (BPA). (Oleoresin is a natural mixture of an oil and a resin extracted from various plants, such as pine or balsam fir). These cans cost 14 percent more than the industry standard cans that do contain BPA. This costs Eden $300,000 more a year. To our knowledge Eden is the only U.S. company that uses this custom made BPA-free can.

(Read more on BPA and canned goods here.)

Recipe: Turkey & White Bean Chili

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

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turkey white bean chili, originally uploaded by foodietots.

White – cannellini or Northern- beans are a mild choice that nicely complement ground turkey in this healthier chili. I add zucchini, but you could use just about any vegetable you have on hand — carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes would all go well. The toddler devoured this – though the sour cream topping may have been an added incentive.

1lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 zucchini, diced
1 14oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted)
1 14oz can white beans, rinsed & drained
1 6oz can tomato paste
½ c water or chicken stock
2 t ground cumin
1 t chili powder
½ t smoked paprika

Brown ground turkey in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add seasonings, tomato paste, beans, tomatoes, water/stock and zucchini. Simmer over medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.