Summery Grain or Lentil Salad

This is a versatile Summer salad. The base can be a grain, dried bean, lentil or even tiny pasta. Indeed you can mix them as well. Use couscous, barley, freekeh, burghul, Israeli couscous, small pasta, horse gram, quinoa, rice, puy lentils, matki beans, butter beans or haricot beans. This is definitely a salad that helps you clean out your pantry – use any grain, lentil or bean that you have available. Today I am using barley mixed with a little tiny pasta.

Just a note about the salad dressing. It uses a curry powder. Either use a good quality one or make your own. My Mother used to make a Curried Rice Salad, and we loved it. This is my take on that salad. Today I have used barley as a base, with a little tiny tubular pasta. It is great alongside an Halloumi Burger and steamed sweetcorn!

Similar dishes include Freekeh and Burghul Pilaf, Quinoa Salad with Orange, Pasta and Couscous Salads, and Parsley, Barley and Feta Salad.

Browse all our very many Salads, and all of our Barley recipes. Or browse our Late Summer dishes.

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Gigantes or Lima Beans Baked with Tomatoes and Pomegranate Molasses

I have a few loved recipes where beans are baked in stock and a drizzle of oil. We make them all Winter because they are so easy to make, so delicious, and they can accompany almost anything. Both the Italians and the Greeks are specialists at baking beans.

In this recipe we use Lima beans as a substitute for Gigantes which we cannot get locally. They have a shorter cooking time, so if you are lucky enough to have true Gigantes, cook for a little longer.

We have used our home made molasseses in this dish and love it with our home made pomegranate molasses and our quince molasses. I have used Hawaiian Chilli Water too. Use Grape Molasses if you have it for an authentic Greek touch, or try other available types – date molasses or even tamarind molasses. When the molasses has been too sweet I have added sour grapes from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern stores. Each variation will give the beans a different flavour, so you will never get bored with this dish. Diane Kochilas, in her book Ikaria, says she has made this dish with pine honey and orange juice! Diane is my go-to person for Greek recipes.

Similar recipes include Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta, Tuscan Beans Baked with Sage and Lemon, and Spicy Baked Butter Beans.

Browse all of our Lima Bean recipes and all of our Pomegranate Molasses dishes. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Gigantes or Lima Beans Baked with Tomatoes and Pomegranate Molasses”

Rustic Spicy Butter Beans

Beans, grains and lentils feature a lot in our kitchen once the cold weather sets in. I was recently shopping at the huge Greek warehouse, stocking up on olives, cheeses, cook ware and dried pulses, including the large lima or butter beans. They are great additions to salads, and the Greeks also bake them in terracotta pots. They would use the fabulously large Gigantes bean, but I have not yet been able to find them here. Butter Beans (Lima Beans) are great substitutes.

This recipe isn’t really a Greek one, and it isn’t really baked – it is stove cooked. But it keeps the sweet-sour-dark flavours of beans that have been oven baked, and it is pretty delicious.

The genesis for this recipe is one by Ottolenghi in his Guardian column, but I have altered it somewhat, to use what I have on hand and to simplify the processes just a little.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books and articles – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books and his column recipes completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Greek Chickpeas Slow Baked with Herbs and Tomatoes, Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta, Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with BurrataChickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup, Florentine Beans, and Baked Lima Beans with Celery.

Browse all of our Butter Bean dishes and our White Bean recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Baked Lima Beans with Celery | A Creamy Rustic Greek Dish

Gigantes are Greek Giant Beans (the name always reminds me of Jack and the Beanstalk). You can get them from Greek shops, or Lima Beans (Butter Beans) are wonderful substitutes.

Recipes for Gigantes abound across Greece, and they often involve baking. If soaked, cooked and then baked, the beans are so soft and creamy. Often they are cooked in a terracotta pot.

Our recipe today, a traditional one from Greece, bakes the beans with celery and a tomato base. It takes some time to make – soak the beans overnight, simmer for 60 – 90 mins, then bake for 60 – 90 mins. I recommend it for a quiet Sunday morning (for lunch) or afternoon (for dinner). Slow, wonderful cooking. However, each step is easy, with hardly any oversight required.

The success of this dish depends on each step – soak well, cook the beans until tender but not completely cooked, bake until creamy. And it depends on the quality of the olive oil – ensure current season, good quality oil if you can. And always store your oil in dark bottles or tins in a dark cupboard away from heat, light and the sun’s rays.

Similar recipes include Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta, Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata, Rustic Spicy Butter Beans, Chickpea and Lima Bean Noodle Soup, and Florentine Beans.

Browse all of our Lima Bean recipes, and all of our Greek dishes. Our Baked Bean dishes are here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Baked Lima Beans with Celery | A Creamy Rustic Greek Dish”

Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh

This dish is a fabulous, heart warming and thick soup from the Middle East – it seems like it is an Iranian echo of Minestrone or perhaps of the noodle soup your mother served you as a child when you were poorly. In Iran it is called ash-e reshteh, and it is the sort of soup that makes you feel happy, wholesome and nourished, all at the same time.

You might find resteh noodles at a Middle Eastern grocery, but if not, use linguine or Asian flat noodles. Japanese noodles will work too. In fact the noodles can even be left out and the soup will still be deliciously amazing.

Make sure that you purchase the type of reshteh noodles that are specifically for soup – there is another variety that has been toasted for use in rice dishes. My local Afghan grocery has the soup noodles called Pottage Macaroni even though they are long noodles rather than the short tubes we usually think of as macaroni. The instructions for cooking are cute. It directs you to:

Add the content of package to the stuff of cooking and boiling pottage. After nearly 10 mins of your favourite time, eat the prepared pottage.

Another alternative is to make your own noodles. They are made from a wheat flour dough without eggs, and cut flat and not very wide.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More. It combines chickpeas, lima (butter) beans and yellow split peas with noodles, herbs and spices for a filling, interesting soup that even has an aroma of the Middle East. In fact this soup can be made with a variety of lentils and legumes – red kidney beans are very common.

Today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Chickpea and Orzo Soup, Turkish Spinach Soup with Chickpeas and Barley, Spicy Chickpea and Burghul Soup, Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Zaatar, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Parsnip and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, Noodle Dishes, Chickpea Dishes and Butter Bean Dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh”

Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean Salad with Mozzarella

I have been cooking a lot of Indian dishes lately. Well, I always do, but it felt time to balance the South Indian flavours with a nice, fresh salad. So onto the grill (BBQ) went the red capsicums, plus eggplants for another (Indian) dish, and in the time it takes to sip my cuppa tea, they were all roasted to perfection. It is really the best way to roast peppers and eggplants.

This salad is a combination of the red peppers with home-cooked white beans (use canned if you like), mozzarella and some herbs. It is so simple really, but it is fresh and inviting, and absolutely healthy too.

Are you looking for other Red Pepper Salads? Try these:  Pasta and Roasted Pepper Salad with Walnuts, Light Pasta Salads, Radiant Autumn Salad of PeppersRustic Spicy Butter Beans, Red Pepper and Tomato Salad with Crispy Flatbread, and Italian Roasted Red Pepper Salad.

Or perhaps you would like to be inspired by Salads in general. Try Gorgonzola and White Bean Salad with Chickpeas, Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato, Green Peppers in Yoghurt, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and Moroccan Carrot Salad.

Want more? Browse all of the Red Pepper Salads and all of our many and varied Salads. We love Bittman Salads, so have a look at those. Or explore all of the Capsicum recipes and our dishes suited to Early Autumn. Enjoy!

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Florentine Beans | Fagioli alla Fiorentina

Tuscans are known as mangiafagioli, bean eaters. White beans are a way of life, and a traditional Tuscan meal often starts with a thick bean soup that has been cooked in a terracotta pot, flavoured with herbs and heavily anointed with olive oil. This one is cooked on the stove top for convenience, and is flavoured with sage, garlic and olive oil.

Eat these Tuscan beans with thick slices of real bread – one with a delicious crust and a chewy interior. If you like, spoon the beans over bread, slightly toasted. You will love it.

You might also like Lima Beans Baked with Spinach and Feta, Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata, Rustic Spicy Butter Beans, Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Chickpea, Lima Bean and Noodle Soup, White Bean Puree with Harissa, and  Tuscan Beans Baked with Lemon and Sage.

Browse our Cannellini Bean recipes, and our Italian recipes. Or simply explore our Late Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Florentine Beans | Fagioli alla Fiorentina”

Easy White Bean Salad | Easy Cannellini Bean Salad

This salad is ready in minutes

The ability to arrive home from work and throw together a salad or two to go with the main meal – or as a meal in itself – is something that we strive for with our modern “on the go” lifestyles. Using either canned beans or precooked beans that you have kept in the freezer, this salad is ready in minutes. Grab some cherry tomatoes and rocket (arugula) from the corner shop as you walk home from the bus stop, and you are good to go.

PS It is flavoursome too.

Are you looking for other White Bean dishes? Try White Bean and Tahini Salad, White Bean Soup, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.

Try other Salads also. You might particularly like Horse Gram Salad with Feta and Tomatoes, Carrot and Blueberry Salad, Grown up Potato Salad, and a Simple Celery Salad.

We have a wealth of salad recipes. You can browse them here.  Have a look at our recipes for Cannellini Beans and explore all of the Bittman Salads. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Easy White Bean Salad | Easy Cannellini Bean Salad”

Broad Bean and Butter Bean Puree with Horseradish | A Mash, Spread or Dip

The secret to great tasting broad beans is double peeling

It is easy to develop an aversion to Broad Beans. Prolific bearers and easy to grow, they are an easy choice for home gardeners and country kitchen gardens. Yet the poor bean is often misunderstood. Instead of being treated tenderly, cooks mistakenly overcooked them to a green-grey mush with a strong taste only masked by other strong tasting ingredients. Unaware that each individual bean has its own skin that needs to be peeled, they were being boiled until that outer skin reached a level of tenderness – and that mean that the inner bean was overcooked.

Yes, the secret to broad beans is that they need to be double peeled. First the fury pod is removed, and then, after blanching, the skin of each bean can be easily slipped off. Young beans are preferable to their older counterparts as their flavour is gentler.

What a difference a peel makes! You might like to read more about broad beans.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Broad Beans with Fresh PecorinoTawa Broad Beans, and 13 Treasure Happiness Soup.

Or are you looking for Dips and Spreads? Try Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, Spicy Moroccan Carrot Dip, Thick Yoghurt Tahina Dip, Avocado Mash, and a Quicky Hummus.

You might like to browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and our recipes for Dips. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Broad Bean and Butter Bean Puree with Horseradish | A Mash, Spread or Dip”

Tomato Paella | Vegetarian Paella

A Spanish hit

Maybe it is the soccer world cup being held in Europe that is turning my tastes that way. Maybe I am on a tomato and rice kick. Maybe RED is my colour of the moment. Whatever the cause, I found myself looking for a paella the other night.

There is a history to paella in my life. I first came across it at Carclew Arts Centre in North Adelaide years ago when my daughter was involved in some summer classes there. Carclew had an open day of food, performances and exhibitions. One food stall was cooking an amazing open pan rice dish – the wait was 15 minutes until it was ready to serve – and the taste of it was so fantastic it took me by surprise. Continue reading “Tomato Paella | Vegetarian Paella”