I cook with beans constantly, and have a real affinity for heirloom beans. This is a list of favorite bean recipes, and the ways I like to put them to use in the kitchen.
A vegetable soup I've been enjoying at the studio. Made with tomatoes, white beans, celery, and some herbs. It's simple, and straight-forward with a finishing basil accent.
Baby fennel, big white beans, sliced lemon, a honey-kissed in-pan white wine sauce, all finished with a shower of chopped dill.
Love these - white beans pan-fried until they're golden, with kale, Parmesan, lemon, walnuts, and nutmeg.
Ribollita, a thick Tuscan stew made with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, and thickened with day-old bread. One of my favorites.
Warm, coin-shaped slices of pan-fried carrots, white alubia beans, and chopped dill tossed with a tangy-sweet lemon shallot dressing. It tastes good the day you make it, even better the day after.
An A+ white chard riff on a ribollita, using anything and everything on hand.
The bean & artichoke salad I made to take to Easter this year - pickled celery, chopped kalamata olives and toasted walnuts, along with tender artichokes, and lots of the white cocagne beans I picked up at my neighborhood farmers' market.
A California-inspired Miso, Avocado, & Lima Bean Salad from A Modern Way to Eat, by Anna Jones. Seasonal greens and beans are tossed with an assertive, creamy miso dressing. There are crunchy seeds, and broccoli, and avocado - it all comes together into a brilliant, beautiful, feel-good salad.
Newsletter love, and a wintery bean salad made with gorgeous Rancho Gordo ayocote negro beans, and pan-fried hedgehog mushrooms. You get crunch from toasted almonds, and sweetness from dried figs which works nicely to offset the acid in the shallot vinaigrette. There's also some shredded kale involved. It's a good lunch salad, and you can make a good portion of it in advance.
A summer yellow bean salad with a green chile-spiked, cilantro-flecked, and coconut milk dressing, toasted pepitas, and (if you want to make a meal of it) pan-fried tofu.
A breezy summer-spirited lunch salad made with celery, beans, and Parmesan. And a glance at my attempt at organizing some of my pictures into albums.
A tortilla salad made from all sorts of good stuff - heirloom beans, avocado, watermelon radish, and cauliflower. Electric colors, punchy dressing, fresh and filling.
An amazing New Year Noodle Soup from Greg & Lucy Malouf's beautiful book, Saraban. It's a bean and noodle soup at its core featuring thin egg noodles swimming in a fragrant broth spiced with turmeric, cumin, chiles, and black pepper. You use a medley of lentils, chickpeas, and borlotti beans which makes the soup heart and filling without being heavy. You add spinach, dill, and cilantro. You add lime juice for a bit of sour at the end. And then you've got a number of toppings to add when you serve the soup - chopped walnuts, caramelized onions, and sour cream. Amazing.
The soup I've cooked most this year. There is so much going on here despite a modest list of ingredients. Celery, crushed caraway, and garlic are cooked together alongside big hearty beans and chopped tomatoes in what becomes an olive-oil dappled broth. You serve each bowl with chopped oily, black olives and fresh lemon wedges. This is a version made with Christmas Lima beans, but you can substitute cannellini or giant corona beans.
Easily one of the best, most interesting soups I've cooked in years. Adapted from a recipe in Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen - a dried fava bean and roasted tomato base topped with a fascinating cider-kissed tangy/sweet quick-pickled chile topping.
Inspired by a recipe in Miranda Gardiner's Teaching Dad to Cook Flapjack - a simple bean salad tossed with lots of toasted almonds, fresh thyme, and an assertive honey-balsamic dressing.
A soup I made for a camping trip to the Sonoma coast - lots of beans, vegetables, and stellette pasta. Tiny stars under the stars, with a good dollop of pistou for each bowl.
I made a big pot of farro & bean stew for my mom and dad the other night - simple, hearty, and straightforward. The stew has farro, beans, lots of vegetables, and a generous dusting of cheese to top each bowl.
This is simply heirloom beans and roasted broccoli with shallots and pan-fried seitan. Something I threw together one night after getting home from the airport. It's filling and hearty, and quick to make - particularly if you have cooked beans stashed in the freezer...but canned beans will work too.
I made these cookies for Wayne to eat when he finished the San Francisco Marathon. The batter is made with pureed white beans, lots of oats, and whole wheat flour. The resulting cookies are sesame coated and flavored with aniseed, lemon zest, olive oil and chopped dates. They are beautifully tender, licorice-scented, with a bit of crunch from the sesame seed coating.
A twist on the ubiquitous black bean salad - giant black beans and toasted almonds are tossed with a honey-jalapeno-lime dressing and served with a bit of crumbled feta over a bed of baby arugula.
A hearty adzuki and butternut squash soup recipe adapted from Jae Steele's Get It Ripe cookbook. The soup has a bit of chipotle flavor and is made even better with a drizzle of cilantro olive oil prior to serving.
A riff on Laurence Jossel's fantastic NOPA beans - plump, creamy beans baked in a bright, chunky chipotle tomato sauce, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs, plenty of oozy queso fresco, and an emerald drizzle of cilantro pesto.
Made from just five ingredients, this is a vibrant, chipotle-spiked, brothy soup that requires minimal babysitting. The dainty baby lima beans soften up in about an hour without any pre-soaking or fuss.
A simple yet over-the-top flavorful baked bean recipe dedicated to my dad. Beans are immersed in a decadent swamp of berry beer, dried berries, molasses, broth, and a few other flavorful accents.
A rich, hearty vegetarian mole recipe from Denis Cotter's new book. Seasonal beans, squash, and kale are baked in a rich, hearty chocolate and paprika-spiked mole.
This bean salad recipe salad features pretty heirloom beans along with a few black lentils, splashed with a brightly-flavored ginger-curry vinaigrette.
This quirky, yet amazing black bean brownie recipe delivers deliciously dense, bite-sized squares of melt-in-your-mouth fudge-textured brownies.
Hearty, healthy, and satistfying - this cabbage soup recipe is super simple to make. Slice a cabbage into thin ribbons and cook it down in a simple pot of sauteed potatoes, onions, beans, garlic and flavorful broth. Finished each bowl with a generous drizzle of great olive oil and a dusting of shredded cheese.
A tasty white bean salad topped with toasted walnuts, crumbled cheese, and a hint of citrus. Makes a good side dish, a satisfying lunch, or light dinner.
A big bowl of asparagus, sauteed garbanzos, chopped onions, toasted almonds, tossed with brown rice and drizzled with a bit of garlic-tahini dressing.
A hearty, substantial veggie burger recipe made with garbanzo beans, cilantro, onions, lemon zest, eggs, and bread crumbs.
Inspired by a visit to the Maranui Surf Club in Wellington, New Zealand. This chickpea salad recipe combines a big bowl of roasted winter squash, garbanzo beans, cilantro, and red onions with a quick coconut curry dressing.
The ultimate noodle soup recipe - imagine garbanzo beans bobbing about in a rich broth with thick ribbons of pasta noodles weaving in between them, droplets of olive oil suspended on the surface of the broth, and the whole thing punctuated with crisped fresh pasta that had been fried in olive oil.
Turn to this miraculously delicious soup when you are feeling sick - beans, water, garlic, shallots, chiles. Total active prep time was under five minutes, the rest is just waiting and anticipating.
Actually two different takes on hummus. One with an Italian twist, and one a lovely shade of green from the incorporation of a bit of sauteed spinach.