Beans are a wonderful, vegan source of protein. They are full of fiber—good for lowering cholesterol and pulling heavy metals out of the body—and lysine, an amino acid that repairs tissue. When made in a pressure cooker, beans provide a quick, easy homemade lunch or dinner. For even faster preparation, canned beans can be rinsed and used.
Even if you are not a vegetarian, for those of us trying to eat more meatless meals, beans offer a delicious and satisfying alternative. Here are a few vegetarian and vegan recipes I’ve created that offer a variety of international flavors.
I upped the antioxidant value of this otherwise classic recipe for Cuban Black Beans by adding goji berries. Grown in the Himalayas, these berries (also known as wolfberries) can be found dried in supermarkets and online. Their vitamin C, anthocyanins, selenium and zinc add a host of health-giving benefits to your lunch, such as increasing resistance to infection and improving capillary function. They add a lovely tart sweetness to the black beans. These beans are traditionally served over white rice and topped with chopped raw onion and vinegar. Feel free to serve them over riced cauliflower instead.
2 cups dried black beans
3 ½ cups water
1/3 cup chopped white onion plus 1/3 cup more for garnish
1/3 cup dried goji berries
4-6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried oregano
1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar for garnish
1. Add the beans to the pressure cooker and cover with the water. Throw in the 1/3 cup of onion, the goji berries, garlic, salt and oregano. Cook for 40 minutes.
The raw Italian basil leaves in this salad add chlorophyll to your meal, purifying your blood. You can cook the chickpeas from dried beans in a pressure cooker for 40 minutes and then cool them. However, I use the canned ones for expedience. The nuts in this recipe should be unsalted. If they are salted, reduce the salt in the recipe to ¼ tsp. You can use raw nuts, but roasted ones have a deeper flavor. Make the pesto first, then fold in the pasta and chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans).
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ tsp. crushed garlic
½ tsp. salt
1 cup tightly packed Italian basil leaves, stems removed
½ cup unsalted, roasted pine nuts, cashews, or almonds
½ cup orzo or Israeli couscous
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1. To a food processor fitted with the standard chopping blade, add the olive oil, garlic, salt, basil, and nuts. Process for 7-10 seconds or until you have a chunky mixture.
2. Turn the pesto mixture out into a mixing bowl.
3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and add to the pesto. Fold together.
4. Fold the chickpeas into the pesto. Serve slightly warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
Ethiopian cooks have a spice blend at their disposal called Berbere. It’s so popular that it can be found in most spice markets and many grocery stores. It most commonly contains a mild to hot mix of chili peppers, coriander, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. More authentic blends will include korarima, an Ethiopian cardamom instead of the regular variety, along with maybe nigella seeds and ajwain. It lends a lovely complexity to black-eyed peas which are very mild on their own. Serve over white rice, riced cauliflower, or even black rice which has a sweeter flavor than white or red rice.
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
3 ½ cups water
1/3 cup minced shallot
2 tsp. Berbere spice mix
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
½ tsp. salt
1. Add the black-eyed peas to the pressure cooker and cover with the water. Throw in the shallots, spice mix, garlic and salt. Cook for 40 minutes.