Lisa on February 26th, 2015
Fried Wild Rice

Fried Wild Rice

Bread is the traditional accompaniment to most meals, but many of us are starting to wonder if there might not be tastier, more nutritious alternatives. (And fresh new ideas — bread gets pretty stale, if you’ll pardon my pun.) Enter wild rice! It has the lowest glycemic impact of any grain, plus it has a fantastically rich, nutty flavor. And it’s an indigenous American ingredient, one that’s long been savored by native peoples.

The uniqueness of wild rice stems from the fact that it’s an a category of its own — contrary to its name, it isn’t rice. But people have traditionally called it that because the aquatic grains look like long, dark grains of rice. And much like rice, when cooked, the bran of wild rice splits to reveal its softer, fluffier inside. (Although wild rice is more visually striking because there’s more of a color contrast between its exterior and interior.) It’s also easier to think of ways to use wild rice if you think of it as rice: add it to soups, serve it as a pilaf, include it in stir-frys, etc. If you have a flour mill or high-speed blender, you can even grind wild rice into flour.

Most people serve wild rice as a simple side dish, mixed with brown rice and dried herbs. That’s a magnificent way to showcase the full flavor of wild rice. But here’s another easy idea to try: deep-fry it! Just cook the rice as you normally would, then cook it in ghee. The inherent nuttiness of the ghee magnifies the flavor of the wild rice, plus the rice comes out pleasantly crisp. You can serve it as-is or use it as a garnish. You could even treat it as cereal — pour on some milk and add some nuts and/or chopped fruit. Talk about a great way to enjoy a hearty breakfast and get out of the humdrum (and overpriced) cereal aisle!

Fried Wild Rice

Cook wild rice according to package directions (typically a ratio of 4:1 water to rice). To lessen the cooking time, allow the rice to soak in the water overnight or for at least six hours — you’ll cut the cooking time by 2/3, which  means your rice will be done in about 15 minutes rather than 45. If you’d like to imbue the grains with even more flavor, cook them in chicken or vegetable broth rather than water.

Thoroughly drain cooked wild rice. Melt a generous knob of ghee in a skillet just big enough to hold the rice, then stir in the rice. Cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until rice has reached its desired crispness. It’s best used immediately (served as-is or as a garnish), but it’s still lovely post-refrigeration, especially if you’re going to treat it as cereal and pour milk over it or if you’d like to include it in soups, pilafs, or stir-frys that would involve re-warming it. Fried wild rice can be refrigerated for a week.

Enjoy!

 

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Lisa on February 23rd, 2015
Italian-Style Yellow Pea Soup

Italian-Style Yellow Pea Soup

When it comes to legumes — both fresh and dried — lentils, beans, and peas get all of the attention. But what about dried split peas? Whether yellow or green, they add welcome heartiness and mildly sweet flavor to soups and stews. Aside from split pea soup, though, no one pays much attention to the humble yellow and green half-disks. True, they take longer to simmer into softness than lentils do, but it’s hands-off simmering time. Besides, in the winter, it’s nice to have a pot of soup simmering away on the stove — what a delicious way to warm up the kitchen! So in the spirit of simple winter dishes, I offer this Italian take on pea soup. Not only does the polenta make the soup more Italian, it thickens the broth and gives it even more of a stick-to-your-ribs flavor.

Italian-Style Yellow Pea Soup
Makes 4 hearty servings.

2 carrots, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped (if the leaves are in good shape, set them aside)
2 green onions, trimmed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
15 oz. diced canned tomatoes
2 cups vegetable OR chicken broth (if it’s chicken broth, preferably free-range)
2 T. dried Italian herbs (combination of basil, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and/or marjoram)
1/2 cup yellow split peas
2 T. polenta OR coarse cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
Sea salt to taste
Grated Parmesan-Reggiano for serving (optional)

In a large soup pot, cook the carrots and celery with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until veggies have softened. Stir in the green onions and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and broth. Stir in the herbs, split peas, and 1 cup of water. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 40 minutes or until peas have reached their desired tenderness. You might need to reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer.

If you have reserved celery leaves, rinse and chop them. Add to the pot with the polenta and simmer the soup for a final 10 minutes. If the soup seems to be getting too thick, stir in 1/2 cup water.

Salt to taste and serve while piping hot, garnishing with cheese if you like. Leftover soup can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for several months. Like all tomato-based soups and sauces, the flavor deepens upon standing.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on February 19th, 2015
Pear & Almond Egg White Muffins

Pear & Almond Egg White Muffins

If you’re like me and you like making custards and French-style ice cream, you find yourself with a lot of leftover egg whites … and you can only make so many chiffon cakes and meringues. Fortunately, you can use egg whites to add lift to anything, even muffins — you don’t need to whip out the whisk for a fancy soufflé. (Although those are fun to make, too.) The only downside of using egg whites rather than whole eggs is that you lose the rich, buttery flavor of the yolk. Solution? Make these muffins with a combination of butter and coconut oil, both of which add richness to the batter. Just be sure to whip the whites separately so that they can attain their full height, and encourage them to keep that height by not clonking anything on, against, or next to your fluffy whipped whites. (That is, don’t whack the spatula or the mixers on the bowl, and set everything down as gently as possible.)

I used almond flour rather than chopped or sliced almonds in these muffins to evenly distribute the almond flavor throughout the batter, but you can also include almond pieces if you like. Or walnuts or pecans — nuts and pears are a natural match. Or if you’d like to swap out the fruit for a new variety, choose apples instead of pears. So many possible combinations!

Pear & Almond Egg White Muffins
Makes 12 muffins.

1 stick butter, preferably from grass-fed cows
5 T. coconut oil
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raw buckwheat OR sorghum OR millet flour*
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Bosc pear, stem and seeds removed, flesh diced
2 T. maple syrup (or 1/4 cup if you want sweeter muffins; that might depend on the ripeness of the pear)
1 tsp. vanilla
5 egg whites at room temperature**

Preheat oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with 12 parchment paper muffin cups.

In a small pot, melt the butter and coconut oil over the lowest heat setting. While they’re melting, run the almonds through a coffee grinder to make fresh almond flour. You’ll probably have to do this in batches, but each batch only takes 10 seconds.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, buckwheat flour, and cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the pear, maple syrup, vanilla, and melted butter and coconut oil.

In a clean large bowl, whip the whites at high speed until white and fluffy. Whip in the dry ingredients in thirds, beating well after each addition. Scoop in the wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Pour into the waiting tin and bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and warm.

Let muffins cool on wire rack. Leftover muffins can be refrigerated for a week.

Enjoy!

* These are gluten-free flours. If you’d rather make wheat-based muffins, use 1/2 cup barley, spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat flour.

** You can refrigerate egg whites for 4 days or freeze them for months — no need to throw away unused whites when you make yolk-based recipes! But do label the container with the number of whites you have. And for the record, unused yolks can be gently covered with cool water and refrigerated for 2 days for later use.

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Lisa on February 16th, 2015
Nut Meat Brownies

Nut Meal Brownies

Think of this as a Part 2 post — once you’ve made nut milk, you can use your homemade nut meal to make these brownies. It’s a two-for-one deal! And may I suggest enjoying a glass of nut milk with your nutty brownies?

Another nice thing about these brownies is that you can make your own oat flour, too, assuming that you have rolled oats in your fridge or pantry. (Note that grains, nuts, and seeds are best stored in the refrigerator if you’re going to have them around for more than a few months.) Just grind the rolled oats in a coffee grinder — it only takes a few seconds to turn them into oat flour. Oats have the ability to absorb lots of liquid, so you don’t want to swap out the oat flour for any other kind of flour since most flours can’t thicken batters the way oat flour can. (Although coconut flour is also crazily absorbent.) Plus, the faintly chewy texture of oats pairs nicely with the faint crunchiness of the nut meal.

If you’re a fan of including whole or chopped nuts in your brownies, feel free to add them, too!

Nut Meal Brownies
Makes an 8″x 8″ pan.

1 stick butter, preferably from grass-fed cows
3/4 cup palm sugar OR sucanat (sucanat will make sweeter brownies; palm sugar will make less-glycemic brownies)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably non-Dutched
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup oat flour (be sure to use gluten-free oat flour if you’re making gluten-free brownies)
1 1/2 cups homemade nut meal (from having made nut milk)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR unrefined avocado oil
4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F and thoroughly grease an 8″x 8″ glass pan. (I like to use butter wrappers for greasing pans.)

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over your lowest heat setting. While it melts, in a large bowl, whisk together palm sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and oat flour. In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients plus the melted butter.

Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and promptly scoop the batter into the waiting pan. (Ridiculously easy, right?) Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out warm and clean. Let brownies cool on wire rack.

Leftover brownies can be refrigerated for a week.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on February 12th, 2015
Homemade Nut Milk

Homemade Nut Milk

For a while now, I’ve been meaning to make my own non-dairy milk. I normally drink raw dairy milk and often use whole coconut milk in everything from curries to ice cream, but it’s fun to expand one’s culinary horizons. And although it’s entirely possible to buy hazelnut milk and almond milk and hemp milk and a plethora of alternative milks, many of those come pre-sweetened. Quality stickler that I am, I’d rather sweeten my own with maple syrup, and I’d rather start with unsweetened milk in case I want to use it in savory dishes. So I eyeballed the nuts I had, chose three likely candidates, and made sure I had cheesecloth on hand. (Which, by the way, you can find in hardware stores. It typically costs less there than at a grocery store.)

Making nut milk — or seed, or grain — is as easy as soaking the ingredients, blending them with water, and squeezing the resulting smoothie through a cheesecloth. I also discovered that you can make use of the leftover nut meal in baked goods and pancakes. More on that in another post. For now, we’ll stick with making DIY non-dairy milk. This same technique would work with everything from sesame seeds to rolled oats.

DIY Non-Dairy Milk

For this milk, I opted to combine hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and almonds in equal parts, but use whatever nuts you like. Put them in a blender and cover with water, using a 3:1 ratio of water to nuts. Let stand overnight. During the cool months, you can leave the nuts on the counter, but if it’s hot in your house, stick them in the fridge. The next day, blend until your nut smoothie is as smooth as it’s going to get. If you want to add vanilla or any other extract, blend that in, too. Ditto for spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. (That would create an eggnog effect.)

Have a big bowl and a smaller bowl ready. Cut out a large square of cheesecloth and hold it over the bowl. Pour some of the thick smoothie onto the cheesecloth. Let it drip through, then carefully pull up each corner and twist them together to seal the ground nuts into the cheesecloth. Twist and turn to squeeze out the milk. Be careful not to pour on too much of the smoothie at once — then it would be tricky to twist the cheesecloth into a neat bundle without the nut meal spilling out of the sides. Brush the nut meal into the smaller bowl. Continue until all of the nuts have been squeezed into milk.

Refrigerate the milk in a glass container for a week or freeze for later use. Store the nut meal in the fridge, too — you can use that as meal in everything from cornbread to brownies.

Enjoy!

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Lisa on February 9th, 2015
Pomegranate & Pine Nut Salad with Fried Mung Beans

Pomegranate & Pine Nut Salad with Fried Mung Beans

Looking for a novel way to add crunch to your salads? Commercial croutons are crunchy, sure, but they’re also made with stripped-out wheat flour and processed oils, neither of which is a nutritious addition to otherwise great-for-you salads. (The “great-for-you” part also assumes you’re making your own dressing with unrefined oils.) Enter fried mung beans! They’re crunchy, they’re a snap to make — just let them soak in water overnight, then drain and fry them the next day — and they add a rich, nutty flavor to salads. If you’d really like to jazz them up, sprinkle your favorite spice blend on the beans as you’re cooking them. Curry powder, chili powder, and Italian seasonings would all be great choices. You could even serve these crunchy, flavorful toppings as a stand-alone snack!

To provide contrast to the savory beans, I tossed sweet-tart pomegranate seeds and creamy pine nuts into the salad. For the dressing, I whisked together extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and stone-ground mustard, but you can just drizzle the oil and vinegar directly onto the salad if you like. The real powerhouse flavor is the beans!

Pomegranate & Pine Nut Salad with Fried Mung Beans
Makes 4 servings.

For the salad:
1/2 cup split mung beans
Ghee for frying
Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate (about 5 oz.)
Handful of pine nuts
1 head red leaf lettuce, any wilted leaves discarded, fresh leaves rinsed in cold water and patted dry

For the dressing:
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil

To make the mung beans, let them soak in cold water overnight in the fridge, making sure there’s at least 1″ of water covering the beans. The next day, drain well. Melt a generous knob of ghee in a small skillet over medium heat and add the drained beans. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the beans are golden brown, stirring occasionally to prevent them from scorching. Promptly remove to a salad bowl.

Add the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces (snap off the end of the hard whitish rib if you’d like a sweeter salad) and add to the bowl. Toss well.

To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually pour in the oil, whisking constantly. The mustard will give you a beautifully thick, emulsified dressing. Pour onto salad and toss thoroughly but gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Leftover dressing can be refrigerated for a week, as can leftover fried mung beans. You might want to make extra mung beans to have them around as handy toppers or snacks!

Enjoy!

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Lisa on February 5th, 2015
Double Sesame Cookies

Sesame & Pecan Cookies

Nut and seed flours are so lovely — not only do they have rich, pronounced flavors, they’re all about protein and fat rather than starch. (Grain flours are far more inclined towards starch.) That means cakes and cookies made with nut and seed flours are delicious, satisfying, and tranquil when it comes to blood sugar levels. Avoiding starch makes for low glycemic impact, something that should be treasured by everyone, diabetic or not. After all, if you’re a Type II, you can reverse it, if you’re a Type I, you can make your life easier, and if you’re a non-diabetic, you can stay that way. Win-win-win!

For these cookies, I used sesame flour, buckwheat flour, and pecans that I toasted in order to be able to grind them into flour. (Of the grains, buckwheat has the least glycemic impact. Wild rice is also very non-starchy, but its intense flavor doesn’t always work well for sweet baked goods.) Pecans and walnuts need to be dried out slightly by toasting before you can grind them — otherwise, you wind up with pecan and walnut flour. Which can also be nice, just not when you want flour. On the plus side, because pecans and walnuts are soft, you can grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder. Ditto for sliced almonds and chopped cashews. Hazelnuts are harder and are best ground in a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. But I digress…

If you have black sesame seeds, they would look particularly pretty atop these cookies. Or use poppy seeds for a contrasting look. The most important thing, though, is to shape the dough into a log and then refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Chilled dough is easier to cut into uniform slices. Just remember to let the cookies completely cool before handling them — hot-out-of-the-oven cookies will disintegrate into crumbs. That’s because they don’t have eggs; rather, they have lots of butter. Cookies like these fall into the “sable” cookie category. That means “sandy” in French; the term refers to the delicate, buttery texture that let these cookies fall apart on your tongue. Once they’ve cooled, though, they become slightly more sturdy.

Sesame & Pecan Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

1 cup raw pecan halves
1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour, preferably raw buckwheat*
1 cup sesame flour
Pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup palm sugar OR sucanat
2 sticks butter, preferably from pastured cows
2 tsp. vanilla
Sesame seeds for topping

Preheat oven to 350F and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place pecans in a large skillet and dry-toast over medium heat for 5 minutes, shaking the skillet occasionally, until pecans are turning golden brown and fragrant. You may have to reduce the heat to medium-low once they start to toast. Transfer to food processor and add the other flours, salt, baking powder, and palm sugar. Process until you have crumbs. Cut butter into chunks and scatter them onto the nut mixture. Add the vanilla and process until a dough forms.

On a clean counter or cutting board, roll the dough into a log about 14″ long. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to chill the dough. Cut even slices from the log — making each one about 1/4″ thick — and arrange them on the baking sheets. Lightly press a scattering of sesame seeds (or poppy seeds; see recipe head note) onto each cookie.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are turning light brown around the edges. The bottom sheet will probably bake a bit faster and be done first — if so, pull it out and allow the other sheet to bake for another minute or two. Let cookies completely cool before handling them! Cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container for a week at room temp or refrigerated for 2 weeks.

* This is a gluten-free flour. If you’d rather make wheat-based cookies, use whole-wheat, spelt, or kamut flour instead of the buckwheat flour. Buckwheat, though, has a lower glycemic impact than wheat flours.

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Lisa on February 2nd, 2015
Banana Muffins with Coconut Flour

Banana Muffins with Coconut Flour

Like all tropical fruits, ripe bananas are especially sweet. In fact, by the time a banana is bright yellow and slightly spotted, it’s so soft and sweet that you can mash it and stir it into muffin batter to count as both the main fruit and the main sweetener. Another bonus of using bananas is that they’re sticky, which gives whole-grain and gluten-free muffins like these a wonderfully smooth texture. If you’d rather make these as a dessert, you can add honey to the batter, but I find that bananas are plenty sweet enough on their own.

Coconut flour, too, has a naturally sweet flavor. It also contains a lot of fiber, which means it absorbs a lot of liquid. (Which is no problem — just add more milk, eggs, oil, or whatever liquid is predominant in a recipe when you use coconut flour.) If you’d like to highlight the coconut aspect of these muffins even more, use whole coconut milk rather than dairy milk and coconut oil rather than extra-virgin olive oil. You can’t go wrong with coconut! You could even dry-toast some unsweetened coconut flakes in a skillet over medium-low heat until they’re turning golden-brown — watch out, it doesn’t take long to toast coconut! — and sprinkle the toasted flakes on your muffins when serving them. Toasted coconut can be refrigerated for several weeks and still retain its freshness.

Banana Muffins with Coconut Flour
Makes 12 muffins.

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup buckwheat or millet flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
Dash sea salt
2 large ripe bananas, well-spotted but not blackened
4 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil OR melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups whole coconut milk OR whole dairy milk
2 tablespoons honey, optional (use if you want sweeter muffins)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with 12 parchment-paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a potato masher until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, oil, vanilla, milk, and honey (if using). Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until well-blended.

Scoop into waiting muffin cups and bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center cupcake comes out clean and warm. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack. Leftover cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

* These are gluten-free flours. If you’d rather make wheat-based muffins, use kamut, spelt, barley, or whole-wheat flour instead.

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Sesame Flatbreads with Tahini & Za'atar Yogurt

Sesame Flatbreads with Tahini & Za’atar Yogurt

Recently, I got to play with a new kind of flour: sesame! Clay Oliver from Oliver Farm Artisan Oils has been producing lovely unrefined sesame oil for several years (and also unrefined almond, pecan, walnut, pumpkin seed, and sunflower oils) and lately started adding equally-as-lovely unrefined flours to his product line. I already knew I adored his pecan flour, but I must say that I think I like the sesame flour even more — it’s so savory and rich!

For these flatbreads, I used equal parts sesame flour and raw buckwheat flour, and the sesame flavor shone through beautifully. (Full disclosure: I’ve always been a huge fan of sesame seeds and tahini, so it’s only logical that I would love sesame flour.) Clay presses the seeds to create his unrefined oil, then grinds those pressed seeds into a flour that’s surprisingly fine-textured, which makes it a welcome addition to anything from cakes to cookies.

Just to amp up the sesame aspect even more, I topped the flatbreads with a yogurt-and-tahini spread. The za’atar includes sesame seeds, too, so it’s a triple-sesame-whammy. Thanks to all of the fiber, protein, and fat sesame offers, this makes an incredibly satisfying snack or side dish. Or you can serve the sesame flatbreads with hummus or whatever topping you wish. The spread, too, can be served with a variety of dishes. Looking for your next veggie dip? You’ve just found it!

Sesame Flatbreads with Tahaini & Za’atar Yogurt
Makes about 8 flatbreads. The yogurt spread is easy to make in whatever amount you’d like.

For the flatbreads:
1/2 cup raw buckwheat flour OR sorghum flour*
1/2 cup sesame flour
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows
2 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
Ghee OR butter OR extra-virgin olive oil

For the yogurt:
Whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
Tahini
Extra-virgin olive oil
Splash of lemon juice
Za’atar (a blend of thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, and sumac, which is a dried berry with a beautiful red color and a pleasantly tart flavor)

To make the flatbreads, whisk all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Get out a 6″ or 7″ nonstick crepe pan and place a dab of ghee in the pan. Heat over medium heat — I go with mark 4 out of 10 on my electric burners — until ghee has melted. Pour in 1/4 cup of the batter and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the flatbread is set on top and browned on the bottom.

Use a heatproof spatula to flip over the flatbread and cook the second side for another minute or two or until equally browned. If you’re adventurous, by all means go ahead and flip that sucker up into the air to turn it over. Just don’t do that directly over the burner! It’s much easier to rescue a misdirected flatbread from a cool element than a hot burner.

Place the cooked flatbread on a wire rack. (If you put it on a plate, it’ll collect condensation and get soggy.) Make a second flatbread in the same pan using the same technique. I find that I have to put a fresh dab of ghee into my pan every other flatbread to keep them from sticking. Leftover flatbreads can be stacked in a sealed container and refrigerated for a week. They’re especially delicious when re-heated by sauteing them in that same skillet with another dab of ghee.

To make the yogurt spread, combine the yogurt with the tahini in a 2:1 ratio. Stir in a drizzle of oil, a splash of lemon, and a generous sprinkling of za’atar. Taste to see if you’d like the spread to be more tangy (add more lemon juice), more spicy (add more za’atar), more creamy (add more yogurt), or more nutty (add more tahini). The spread can be refrigerated for a week and used as a dip, condiment, or spread.

Enjoy!

* These are gluten-free flours. If you’d rather make wheat-based flatbreads, use 1/2 cup barley, spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat flour instead.

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Lisa on January 26th, 2015
Corn & White Bean Chili

Corn & White Bean Chili

When the days are chilly, it’s time for chili! This vegetarian take on a favorite winter classic only takes about 30 minutes to make (most of which involves the chili happily simmering away with no further effort on the part of the cook) and can be kept in the fridge for a week as tasty leftovers or frozen for future meals. And of course you can gussy up your chili with a slew of optional toppings, from minced green onions to shredded cheese to a dollop of sour cream or plain whole-milk Greek yogurt. The latter is my favorite, but add whatever “extras” you like. If you’re more of a fan of meaty chili, just stir in ground beef, chicken, or pork — preferably of the pastured variety — when you add the garlic. Another beauty of this chili? Since the ingredients are mostly non-perishable, you can keep the fixings around and enjoy a pot of chili whenever you want to turn chilly winter nights into chili winter nights.

Corn & White Bean Chili
Makes 4 servings. Feel free to double the recipe if you’d like (long-lasting) leftovers.

2 carrots, chopped (it’s best to buy organic carrots and then scrub them rather than peel them)
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
15 oz. canned diced tomatoes
15 oz. canned Great Northern beans, preferably canned in a BPA-free can
1 T. chili powder
1 T. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
Pinch of sea salt
1 cup frozen corn (no need to thaw)

Optional toppings:
Whole-milk plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
Shredded Cheddar cheese, crumbled feta, or whatever cheese you like best
Minced green onions
Chopped avocado
Chopped cilantro
Sliced jalapeños

In a large pot over medium heat, cook the carrots and onion with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes or until the veggies are getting soft. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the broth, tomatoes, beans (including the liquid from the can), and spices. Let simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. If the chili starts to boil, reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer.

Stir in the corn and heat through for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately, garnishing with the optional toppings if you like. Leftover chili can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for 2 months.

Enjoy!

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