Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bean Challenge: One Dinner a Week

One of challenges I'm undertaking on behalf of our family is to have one meal a week that centers around beans. Beans are delicious, versatile, and our whole family likes them. And,
there is much to be said for a vegetarian diet vs. a meat based diet and their respective impacts on the environment.

Beans are most frequently used at our house as a side-dish, but not the focus of the meal. We haven't to this point made a conscious effort to have one bean-centric dinner a week. Right now, it just happens if it happens.

So now is the time - one bean dinner a week. The secondary goal is to have our children eat it...AND enjoy it!

Fortunately, I like to cook, so this should be a fun challenge. As an added bonus, I prefer to cook without meat. Raw meat is not my favorite ingredient to handle/slice, etc. (ick) Typically, when my husband and I cook with meat, we usually give the warning to each other: "Watch out! There's raw meat juice in the sink!" It will be nice to not have to proceed with caution when approaching the kitchen faucet.

I've flirted with vegetarianism in the past, but I feel a little rusty in the bean-recipe department. I welcome any of your favorite bean recipes! I'll keep you updated on our progress.

By the way, my favorite bean is: garbanzos (pictured above).


Amy said...

What a great idea-since you love garbanzo beans, are you a big hummus eater? We love hummus! The Holy Land Deli makes some of the most delicious stuff, and their tabouli is fabulous too. My uncle makes a really tasty black bean salad, kind of like this recipe here:

Amy via Tina's blog :)

Lita said...

i too enjoy holy land hummus--several varieties (with tahini, with spinach, etc.), and i recently discovered the hummus which mississippi market makes on site and it's fabulous. slightly different texture equally delish (and a little less expensive). micaela, i've tasted your homemade hummus--you should market it! and yes--h/l tabouli is yummy!

Lita said...

have you tried using 'edamame' in recipes? a friend just heats them in microwave and eats them plain. they're in the freezer section in stores. a great source of protein. here's a recipe with edamame, garbanzos and kidney beans--a powerhouse!

Edamame is a green vegetable more commonly known as a soybean, harvested at the peak of ripening right before it reaches the "hardening" time. Edamame means "Beans on Branches," and grows in clusters on bushy branches. To retain freshness and natural flavor, it's parboiled and quick-frozen. In East Asia, soybenas have been used for two thousand years as a major protein source, consumed as a snack, vegetable dish, in soups or processed into sweets. As a snack, pods are lightly boiled in salted water, then the beans are squeezed directly from the pods into the mouth.
For the Dressing
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
½ tsp. sea salt
Whisk together and set aside.

For the salad
¼ tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. extra virgin Olive Oil
1 cup edamame
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzos (chickpeas), rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed
Optional: ½ cup corn, rinsed
2 scallions sliced thin
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, basil, or combo
Gently stir together, then fold in the dressing.