White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

Low-effort and no-cook are ideal characteristics of a late summer, weeknight meal. Grilling is great, but sometimes you need something even easier—not to mention fresher—to put on the table. This white bean salad has been one of my favorite 15-minute dinners this summer, eaten straight, tossed with a bit of arugula, or best of all, with slices of sourdough that have been fried in butter and garlic. It’s satisfying (beans and feta cheese!) but also delivers some produce (tomatoes, cucumber, parsley). Some might call this an appetizer, but for me it’s just right as a light meal. Happy August!

White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts
White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

Published July 30, 2019 by
   Print This Recipe

Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 15 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce can navy beans
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste (optional)

  • For the toasts:
  • 4-5 slices bread of choice (such as sourdough)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic

  • Directions:

    1. Strain and rinse navy beans. Place in a medium-sized bowl.
    2. Add diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, feta, and parsley. Gently stir until ingredients are well distributed. Drizzle with olive oil.
    3. Add freshly cracked black pepper to taste, then season with salt to taste (Note: the feta will also add salt to this dish, so really taste it as you add salt. I find I only need to add a little bit. If your beans were already salty, you may not need salt at all).
    4. Bean salad can be made several hours ahead of time. Cover and place in fridge until ready to eat.
    5. When ready to serve, prepare the garlic toasts: mince garlic. Add garlic, along with 1/2 tablespoon of butter to a skillet and warm over medium heat. Swirl butter in pan to cover the bottom.
    6. When pan is hot, place several pieces of bread in skillet in a single layer. (My 10-inch skillet only fit 3-4 pieces at a time, depending on size. Work in batches.) Toast on the first side for 3-4 minutes. Then, use tongs to flip bread to second side. Add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of butter if pan gets dry. Toast for 3-4 minutes on second side, then remove from pan. Repeat until all slices are toasted.
    7. Serve: top each toast with bean salad and set on serving plates.

    White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts
    Comment

    Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

    Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

    “Disaster” is not the right word for how poorly my chile rellenos con queso turned out, but it didn’t go well. I harvested six Big Jim peppers from the garden and stuffed them with corn, onions and cheese. They got battered and tossed into a pan to deep fry. Sounds good so far, right?

    The problem is with what comes next — how I never learn my lesson with frying. With frying, you can’t skimp by using just one inch of oil in a skillet. You have to go all out. You have to commit to a full pot of blazing hot oil which you’ll likely have to toss afterwards. Otherwise, whatever you were frying will touch the bottom of the pan and stick (Yes, even to that ceramic-enamel “non stick” pan you have… Trust me, I would know).

    The results is typically a pile of whatever you were frying (i.e., peppers) and several hunks of fried batter stuck to the bottom of the pan. I usually try to scrape that batter up. By this time it has turned brown, crispy and greasy. And that will be that: a pile of peppers, and a pile of fried batter bits. It’s delicious, so I suppose it’s not a complete failure. It just isn’t what it’s supposed to be.

    Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers
    Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

    This recipe for stuffed poblanos avoids that conundrum all together. The peppers aren’t even battered, which might initially seem like a disappointment until it’s Thursday at 5:30pm and you’re the one cooking dinner. One less dish, no sputtering pot of oil, and hey — maybe your arteries will thank you, too. 😉

    Stuffed with chorizo, corn, and black beans, these peppers feel like harvest. Whether you make your own enchilada sauce or not, the dish comes out of the oven looking vibrant and artisan, even after you pile on the grated pepper jack. That’s what I call success!

    Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

    Chorizo, Black Bean + Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

    Published September 27, 2018 by
       Print This Recipe

    Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 60 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 8 poblano peppers
  • 1/2 pound ground chorizo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen and thawed or fresh)
  • 1 16-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups red enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

  • Directions:

    1. Before you begin: Whenever you are cooking with peppers or chilies, remember that their oils will stay on your fingers. Avoid touching your face (an especially your eyes!) until you are done cooking and have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and water. (Some choose to wear gloves while working with chilies. I find poblanos are not so hot that I need this — but do whatever is best for you.)
    2. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
    3. Brown the meat: heat a skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring to brown all sides and breaking into small crumbles with a spatula. Add the garlic while the meat is cooking.
    4. Once the meat is browned, add the corn and black beans to the pan. Stir so everything is evenly distributed. Turn off heat.
    5. Prepare peppers: cut a vertical slice down each pepper, from the stem to the tip. Near the top of each pepper, cut a 2-3 inch horizontal slice, creating a T-shape. If you would like, use a paring knife to remove the seeds and white pith from the pepper now. This will help tone down the spice of the pepper. We leave them in.
    6. Prepare your baking dish: spread the enchilada sauce in an even layer on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    7. Stuff the peppers: gently stuff the chorizo mixture into each pepper, and then place the peppers in the baking dish. Be careful, the mixture may still be hot! If so, let it cool down so you can handle it with out burning yourself.
    8. Bake for 35 minutes, and then top with shredded cheese. Bake for 5 minutes more and then remove from oven and serve hot.

    2 Comments

    Creamy Chana Masala

    Creamy Chana Masala

    Longtime readers of this blog are familiar with my stories from Northern India, a trip I made when I was sixteen (you can read about how the trip inspired my Indian Carrot Pudding recipe, or this Slow Cooker Kashmiri Braised Lamb). This year (2018) is exactly a decade after that trip, but moments from that adventure are stamped vividly forever in my memory: stepping in cow dung on the overwhelming and noisy streets of New Delhi; playing on the shores of the Chandrabhaga River, snapping pictures of the rocks and sand as if there was something special about sand in India versus Colorado; eating dinner on the rooftop of a hotel in Udaipur on New Years Eve, lights glimmering against the river below; knocking on a small door in an alleyway, with a little sign next to it that said “cooking school;” and many more.

    There is something about our brains at sixteen years old: they are pliable, receptive, and ready to learn. They are forming and reforming and reinforcing with every visual we take in. I was the perfect age for that trip. Open, ready, receiving. And my mind did just that. It formed connections that would never be broken, a passion for an older world, where roads are made of laid stone and brightly colored buildings are crammed together. A craving for chapati and mounds of spices and Chana Masala.

    Creamy Chana Masala
    Creamy Chana Masala

    When we passed through that small door in the alley, a short woman ushered us into her home. She got out paper and a pen, and asked what we would like to learn to cook. She made notes, and suggestions, and then told us when to come back for our lesson. 

    Boldly I remember the simplicity of her kitchen. People talk about having a “minimalist kitchen” these days, but this was on a whole different level. The walls, the floor, the shelves, the cooking surface (the counter, if it could be called that), were all made of the same grey-ish stone material, solid and a bit bleak. A window behind us, with no glass pane, looked down on the street. There just enough room for the four of us: the teacher, my dad, myself, and our teacher's little daughter who must’ve been no more than three or four years old. She sat perched on the cooking surface in the corner, making flat bread.

    Chana Masala is one of the dishes we learned to make that day. It's simple, if you know what to do.

    This recipe is a bit different from the one we learned to make in India. For one, the grocery stores here in the United States have nothing on the markets of India when it comes to finding curry blends. But also, I've added coconut milk to the mix, which makes it nice and creamy. Coconut and curry go together so well, I highly recommend giving it a spin. 

    Either way, Chana Masala (which means “Spiced Chickpeas” in Hindi) is a one-pot wonder, and packs a boat load of flavor in. If you can make a stir fry, you can make Chana Masala! It’s also completely plant-based, so if that’s your thing, turn on the burner now!

    Creamy Chana Masala

    Creamy Chana Masala

    Published May 3, 2018 by
       |     Print This Recipe

    Serves: 4   |    Total Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee
    • 2 onions, diced
    • 7 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 inch ginger, minced
    • 1 serrano chili, minced
    • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground curry powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
    • 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
    • 1 teaspoon lime juice
    • Fresh cilantro for serving

    Directions:

    1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet until it glistens (I use my 5-qt Le Creuset Braiser (affiliate link!), but if you don't have a pan this large you might want to make a half recipe). Add diced onion, garlic, and ginger to the pan, and sauté until onion is transparent. Add minced serrano chili, crushed tomatoes and water, and bring to a simmer.
    2. Add cumin, salt, curry powder, coriander, and water to the pan, and stir. Then, add the chickpeas and coconut milk. Place lid on pan and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until chickpeas are warmed through and coconut milk is melted in.
    3. Finish by stirring in the lime juice and topping with cilantro. Serve hot over rice, cauliflower rice, etc.

    Comment