Tag Archives: cumin

Turkish White Bean Dip

20 Feb

turkish white bean dip

Having healthy snacks on hand is probably the most important piece of eating well. I definitely have those moments when I need to eat something and now, and that’s when it’s easiest to turn to something that’s not so good for me. Bean dips are one of my favorites to keep around. They require very little preparation, yet are tasty enough to serve to unexpected guests. I don’t have anything to puree with, and I was still able to make this – I just threw everything in a pot and cooked it down a bit, while mashing, which worked pretty well. Of course, using a food processor or blender makes the process even easier. I used Turkish flavors here, an old favorite of mine, and the mint, Turkish red pepper, thyme, and cumin easily complemented plain white beans. I thought the flavor went really well with fresh bell pepper and carrot sticks, for even more of a healthy kick.

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Tropical Black Bean Quinoa Salad

6 Feb

tropical black bean quinoa salad

Inspired by the coconut breakfast quinoa I recently cooked up, I decided to try a savory preparation using quinoa cooked with coconut milk. I added black beans for extra substance and played off the tropical flavor of the coconut with mango, avocado, fresh mint, and lime juice. The resulting salad was colorful and delicious (not to mention healthy) – perfect for serving my parents for dinner at the end of a hot day of sightseeing.

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Chana Masala

23 Jan

chana masala

Despite the lengthy ingredient list, this North Indian chickpea stew comes together quickly and easily. It’s more of a tart curry, rather than some of the creamy ones with lots of warming spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc). Here, acidic tomatoes, tart amchoor powder, and citric lemon juice are strong components, alongside a hefty quantity of spices, of course. But it still manages to feel balanced, especially when served over rice (or quinoa, as I served it). I added cauliflower florets to my version (I think that actually makes this gobi chana masala), which I think are great alongside the creamy chickpeas. A sprinkle of cilantro at the end proved surprisingly crucial in rounding out the flavors (I wouldn’t omit it), and a little yogurt on top helps to quench the heat of hot peppers and ground cayenne pepper. I also topped mine with pickled red onions and thought their crispness was a great complementary texture. This curry, by the way, only improves with a couple of days in the refrigerator, so don’t hesitate to make this large batch even if you’re only cooking for one or two.

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Refried Black Beans

19 Dec

refried black beans

Beans might not be particularly glamorous (or easy to photograph), but they’re one of my favorite ingredients. Filling and flavorful, they’re a great base for a meal, especially if you don’t eat meat or, like me, only eat meat occasionally. (Of course, they can also be great when served with meat, too.) I’ve always been a fan of refried beans, but for some reason figured they would be time-consuming to prepare or else require vastly unhealthy quantities of fat. Not the case, though, as these refried black beans (you can use pinto beans instead, if you like) come together in about half an hour, and the fat quantity can be adjusted to your liking (from two tablespoons to keep things healthy to four tablespoons to get the most flavor). These are great for adding to wraps (burritos included, of course) or eating with some rice or quinoa. I also thought they went especially well with a side of roasted corn salsa as the sweetness and texture of the corn was great alongside the creamy richness of the beans.

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

3 Dec

black bean and corn salad

On some days, it feels like a burden to cook something, especially something healthy. I want to be creative, to dedicate time to an elaborate recipe, but can’t stand the idea of actually doing so – there are lots of other more important (or just more exciting!) things to do. But we all need to eat, and a tasty dish can be easy as this salad. A fresh mix of black beans, corn, and diced vegetables, pulled together by lime juice and Mexican spices. Even with the chopping, it only takes fifteen minutes or so to throw together. And this recipe is incredibly versatile – serve it as a salad over lettuce (as pictured here), mix it with rice or quinoa for a twist on a burrito bowl, or use it as a side to accompany fish, meat, or grilled vegetables. Make this, and then you can quickly get back to everything else you have to do, with a delicious and healthy meal fueling you!

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Basic Black Beans

9 Nov

basic black beans

I know I already posted a recipe for cooking dried black beans (and quite recently too), but I couldn’t resist posting another one. My previous recipe has a long ingredient list and turns out a flavorful bowl of beans ready to be eaten plain, but this recipe is different. It’s much more basic, with a very short ingredient list (even shorter if you leave out the two optional ingredients, cumin and cilantro), meaning that you most likely have all the ingredients already on hand and can make these beans with almost no effort. I like this recipe for making black beans just to have on hand, to use in place of canned beans in recipes (a 15-ounce can is about 1 1/2 cups of beans, so this recipe makes the equivalent of about 4 cans). Onion and garlic give the basic backbone of savory flavors to these beans, and a little red wine vinegar stirred in at the end helps balance them, but it’s nothing fancy here, just a great building block for any black bean soup, black bean salad, or other black bean dish you might want to cook up.

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Egyptian Yellow Lentil Soup

24 Oct

egyptian yellow lentil soup

I stumbled across some yellow lentils (while exploring Buenos Aires’ Barrio Chino (Chinatown), a subject for another post), and as I often cook with the quite similar red lentils, I immediately bought them. Like red lentils (which you can substitute here), yellow lentils cook quickly and fall apart when cooked which makes for hearty soups that taste thick and creamy without the need to add extra fat. Confusingly, yellow split peas are also sometimes referred to as yellow lentils (and look quite similar) even though they’re actually distinct – but they should also work as a substitute here. I decided to make this Egyptian soup with simple flavors to focus on the lentils themselves. I added turmeric to boost the color (and, as a side note, turmeric actually has lots of health benefits as well) and cayenne pepper because I like my food spicy. I’m sadly lacking one of my favorite kitchen tools – my immersion blender – so I couldn’t puree the soup, as I would have liked, but cooking the soup just a few minutes longer so that the lentils fell nearly completely apart worked out just fine for me.

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Spiced Cauliflower

10 Oct

spiced cauliflower

I think my priorities might be a little skewed. When I was packing for Buenos Aires, I made an effort to get my possessions down to a bare minimum, to pack only what I really needed. But I decided that, along with a basic wardrobe, laptop computer, and camera, what I really needed to bring along was as many spices as possible. I’d heard that some were hard to find, and I didn’t want to deal with the start-up cost of buying new spices (plus they’re light!). Some people made fun of me for the decision, but when I picked up a head of cauliflower and saw this recipe, I knew I’d made the right decision. For many of the main ingredients, it was just a matter of reaching into my already well-stocked cabinet, and the resulting dish is spicy and immensely flavorful, reminiscent of (though I’m sure not authentic) Indian food. And not only did it taste great hot out of the pan, it was equally tasty eaten cold the next day.

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Spicy, Citrusy Black Beans

3 Oct

spicy citrusy black beans

On my first trip to the supermarket in my new neighborhood here in Buenos Aires, I was surprised to see hardly any canned beans – and the small cans that were there (I’m used to stocking up on large 32-ounce cans) were quite expensive. So I decided to make this into an opportunity to try my hand at cooking dried beans. I bought some dried black beans, looked up a promising recipe, and was amazed at how easy it was to cook these up. Admittedly, they took quite a long time to cook (though I suspect they had been sitting in the supermarket bulk bins for some time), so I still have to perfect the process (I may try soaking them for two days next time), but the flavors here are amazing. Enough spice for quite a kick, and the tartness of orange juice, lime juice, and red wine vinegar help round out the flavors. I would have really liked to use chipotle peppers in adobo here, so if you have some, definitely toss one in, and I hadn’t yet found a place with cilantro (luckily, I’ve been able to get my hands on some since cooking this), so there’s no pleasant sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro on top. But even without those ingredients (as I’ve written the recipe here), these beans were delicious topped with salsa and sour cream and served alongside fried eggs for breakfast. Even plain, they’re fantastic.

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Beef, Olive, and Egg Empanadas

28 Sep

beef olive and egg empanadas

It’s been really fun posting empanada recipes all week, but all good things must come to an end. So here is my last recipe, and the only one I’ve posted that isn’t vegetarian – I had to include at least one with meat to do proper justice to this Argentine specialty. The combination here of ground beef, green olives, and hard-boiled eggs is a classic Argentine one that you’ll find almost anywhere that sells empanadas. These traditional flavors complement each other quite well, and the mixture of spices in the beef along with some sliced green onions take these over the top. Yet another filling that I could (okay, and did) eat plain, but, of course, it’s even better when baked inside the flaky empanada dough.

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