[april]Planning one vegetarian dinner a week is a simple way to a healthier diet. Unfortunately, we scientists confused y’all in the 70’s by obsessing that vegetarian meals needed to contain all 26 “essential amino acids.” Cross-referencing tables of ingredients is not conducive to whipping up meals for hungry families. Moreover, humans survived for thousands of years with little meat in their diet-and no clue about amino acids. To find a vegetarian meal with “complete protein” just look to the common combination found in almost every culture’s heritage foods: Beans and Grains.

Italians in the mountains – peas and risotto
Every Asian culture – soybeans and rice
Ancient Incas – red beans and quinoa
Middle East – chickpeas and couscous
Fancy French – lentils and farro
In our house, we follow the great tradition of black beans and rice. A pot of black beans cooked on Sunday (or Monday, if you’re going Meatless) can be used throughout the week as a comforting soup, a do-it yourself burrito, or sprinkled on a salad to up the nutrition and punch. Plus, extra beans freeze great to be recycled at a later date. Freeze beansafter the first cook then reheat with sauteed onion, garlic and peppers to zip up the flavor.
[recipe]

beans, beans the musical fruit…

Cooktime: 15 minutes active, 2 hours total plus any bean soaking Servings 4
The source of beans here is important-beans sitting in plastic bags on grocery shelves are old and require soaking overnight. Try to get beans from a store with bulk bins with lots of turn over. Even fresher are last season’s beans from the farmers market.
2 c dried black beans
bay leaf
1 t salt (divided)
1 green bell pepper, cut into long strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t dried oregano
fresh herbs (optional)
Rinse beans to remove any debris and place in large deep pot and cover with water about 1-2 inches above beans. Add a bay leaf, salt, and green pepper cut into one inch strips. Bring to a gentle boil then drop to low heat and simmer for 1-2 hours. After first hour check beans for doneness every 15 minutes. Beans should be soft but not falling apart.
In a separate pan, saute garlic, onion, red pepper, 1/2 t salt, cumin and oregano until soft and fragrant. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
When beans are done, add pepper/onion mix (the sofrito to you cubans) and cook an additional 15 minutes. Top with fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley or thyme.
Cook’s Options: For black bean soup, puree one cup of the beans in a blender and stir back into the cooked beans.
recipe provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com

From Dr. April’s File

Previous post, updated for Meatless Monday.

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