Favourite bean recipes

After writing yesterday¬†about the wonderful use of beans instead of meat, I have had some requests to share my favourite bean recipes with you. Since I very rarely work from a recipe, the measurements below are all approximated guesses rather than an exact science! If something looks too much or too little as you’re putting it in, go ahead and adjust it. My cooking is usually a trial and error process ūüėČ

I heard once on Masterchef that beans take a long time to soak up flavour, so I tend to cook them gently and slowly making sure to add flavouring into the cooking water. I also find allowing them to sit a while even after cooking helps them to take on more flavour, and as they don’t lose heat quickly this is not a problem. However, the ultimate key to making tasty food, in my opinion, is to TASTE it. I usually do a taste test close to the end when I think it’s about ready. I then add extra flavouring or ingredients depending on what my palate says is needed. ¬†My favourite ingredients for adding flavour to a dull dish are extra herbs, lemon or lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, molasses and ketchup.

So here are three of my favourite bean dishes: hummus, curry and chilli.  Enjoy!

Tasty Garlic Lemon Hummus

Chickpeas are so versatile. I’ve used them in everything from curries to cookies! Probably my favourite thing to do with them, though, is make a lovely strong garlic and lemon hummus. I’ve shared this recipe with you before, so I won’t repeat it here. However, as a note I have omitted the peanut butter from this recipe. ¬†It makes it slightly thinner, but I think gives it an even nicer flavour. It does reduce the protein content, though, so you might want to keep it in for that reason.

Here is my delicious garlic lemon hummus recipe.

Easy Chickpea & Lentil Curry

Serves about 8 (could be doubled by cooking and serving with some wholegrain rice or quinoa)

  • 4 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 – 2 bulbs garlic (about 10-15 cloves), chopped
  • 4 potatoes, cut into fairly small cubes
  • 1 apple, diced OR 1 cup raisins
  • 200g dried lentils
  • 200g dried chickpeas
  • 200g frozen peas
  • Small chunk of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • Dash of lime/lemon juice
  • Curry powder to taste (my favourite is Sainsbury’s own mild curry powder)
  • Salt & pepper to taste (Himalayan pink salt or organic sea salt are my favourite healthy salt options)
  • Stock cube (optional)
  • Water
  • Desiccated coconut to top

Soak chickpeas overnight. Next day, add more water and stock cube or salt to chickpeas, then boil and simmer for about 30 mins. In another large pot fry onions & curry powder (I like to fry in coconut oil, as it has a high heat resistance and adds a lovely flavour to curries). Add tomatoes, potatoes, apple/raisins, lentils, peas, lime/lemon juice, ginger, coriander, salt, pepper and half the garlic. Add chickpeas in their water, and enough extra water to cover. Bring to boil, then simmer just long enough for lentils and potatoes to cook through. If there is too much excess water at the end, take the lid off and simmer for longer to reduce. Add the rest of the garlic and serve sprinkled with coconut!

Mild Mixed Bean Chilli

Serves about 6 (could be doubled by cooking and serving with some wholegrain rice, cornbread or wrapped in tortilla wraps).

  • 1 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 – 2 bulbs garlic (about 10-15 cloves), chopped
  • 500 kg mixed dried beans (I always include at a good portion of kidney bean in this. Other bean I tend to use are aduki, cannelini and mung.)
  • 100g frozen veg (sweetcorn is nicest, but I use whatever I have in the freezer)
  • Mild chilli powder to taste (if you are a spice lover you can, of course, substitute this for hot chilli powder)
  • 1/4 cup your favourite relish (tomato and chilli works very well)
  • 1/4 cup tomato puree
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tbsp molasses (unrefined blackstrap is the best)
  • Dash of lemon/lime juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight. Next day, add more water, salt and some chilli powder, then bring to boil and simmer for about 30 mins. Separately, fry onions in more chilli powder.  Drain about half the water out of the bean pot, then add onions and all the other ingredients.  Simmer for about another 30 mins, then serve!

Have you got any good bean recipes? I’d love to hear them!

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Homemade garlic hummus

My first experiences of hummus were not good ones. Pasty, dry chick peas blended up. Yuck! However, my stance on this dip/spread changed when my mother-in-law introduced me to garlic hummus a few years ago. Suddenly it took on a whole new Рand much nicer Рflavour! Since then I have grown to love it, and find it to be a great condiment to keep in the fridge and snack on with some raw vegetables or spread on homemade wholemeal bread.

I don’t think I have ever actually bought hummus from the shops; I prefer to make my own at home. This is partly for health reasons, because I first started making it when I lived in Canada, where all the hummus I could find had genetically modified ingredients. It is also partly just because I enjoy creating it to taste exactly the way I like it!

My first attempts at homemade hummus were made following a recipe I found in a Google search. Over the years I have changed and tweaked this to suit my own taste. For those interested, here is the recipe I now use:

Homemade lemon and garlic hummus

Ready to make homemade hummus.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (I use freshly ground)
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed virgin olive oil
  • 4 – 5 large organic garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (I use the juice of one fresh organic lemon and then top up with bottled lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Nando’s garlic peri-peri sauce
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (wholenut gives the nicest flavour)
  • 1 tin organic chick peas

Method:

  1. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, peri-peri sauce and peanut butter into a blender (or a bowl/cup if you are using a hand blender).
  2. Peel and crush the garlic cloves using the flat side of a knife blade. Add them to your blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Drain about half the water from your chick peas. Add the rest of the water and the chick peas to your blender.
  5. Blend again until well mixed in.
  6. Pour the mixture into a Tupperware tub with a lid and refrigerate for about at least hour.
  7. Enjoy!

The finished hummus, ready to eat with some fresh vegetables.

Following this recipe will give you a very strong garlic hummus, so feel free to play around with the quantities and make it to your own personal taste. I always test a bit on my finger after mixing in the chick peas to see if I need to add more of any ingredient (note: the hummus tends to taste stronger after sitting in the fridge for a while, so do be careful). Fresh lemons add the nicest flavour, but can be a bit time consuming and expensive to squeeze, so I tend to use a mixture of fresh and bottled juice. Also, you can also use tahini instead of peanut butter, but I usually don’t have that in the house. ¬†Another option is to make it without either of those. ¬†I have done this and it still works, it just ends up a bit thinner.

Homemade hummus is a healthy and cheap choice. Because it is fresh, it’s free from preservatives, artificial flavours and other additives. I find it to work out about the same price as shop-bought hummus, though maybe slightly more expensive than non-organic varieties. Look around for deals on the ingredients to save money. I have found organic chick peas cheapest in Asda, although I suspect that buying dry and soaking your own would work out cheaper still. This is something I plan to look into when I get time.

My favourite way to eat hummus is as a dip with fresh veggies Рwhite cabbage being my all time top choice. It is also nice as a spread on bread, or added to other meals as a flavouring. Some ideas I would like to try as varieties of this recipe are: using coconut oil instead of olive oil, and adding tomatoes and herbs instead of lemon and garlic. What other ways do you enjoy hummus? Have you got your own favourite recipes? I would love to hear more ideas for ways to enjoy this yummy, healthy condiment.

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