Friday, February 10, 2012

Not Your Ordinary Bean Dinners

I have several recipes for those of you who are ready to dress up a bean dinner with unusual flavors.  Below, you will find ways to prepare pinto beans, lentils, and chickpeas with flare.  These meals are perfect for a Friday Lenten dinner, or any night.  And, they are all quick and easy to prepare.

For an easy twist on enchiladas, make Enfrijoladas with cooked whole pinto beans.  These cheese enchiladas use a bean sauce instead of the traditional chili pepper sauce.  The recipe, by Marcela Valladolid, was featured on her Food Network Show “Mexican Made Easy” last year.  It does call for chicken broth, but vegetable broth would work for a vegetarian version.  As several of the reviews on the site report, the sauce that results from the recipe is more than needed for eight cheese filled enchiladas, so you can double the number of enchildas to feed more than four people.  Or, freeze half the sauce for another meal.  Read the recipe here.

My friend Karen created the following recipe for lentils.  I wrote about how Karen’s natural living lifestyle has influenced me at this post.  She has graciously agreed to let me post her recipe.  And, because she is such a generous person, she has offered to my blog her prepared information about feeding babies and toddlers a whole food, diary free diet while entirely avoiding processed food.  This comes from the advice she offers her brother’s patients (a Christian natural living chiropractic practice).  Look for that post in the near future.  This lentil recipe makes a lot, so you can feed a large family, or freeze half for later.


          by Karen Townsend

one pound dried lentils
water for soaking + 6 cups for cooking
Optional: 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 – 2 tablespoons sea salt (less for regular table salt)
1 cup brown rice or quinoa
1 – 2 onions
3 – 4 cloves garlic
olive oil for sautéing
4 large leaves of kale or spinach, leaves frozen whole or fresh
2 teaspoons curry powder
Optional: 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, avocado to garnish

Soak lentils overnight with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and plenty of water (they soak up the water).  This step is optional, but will enhance the nutritional value of the lentils.  In the morning, combine the following in a slow cooker on low (all day): lentils (drained and rinsed), 6 cups water, sea salt.

About one and a half hours before serving, put 1 cup of brown rice to boil.  Chop and sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil.  When the rice and vegetables are ready, add them to the slow cooker along with: the frozen, crumpled kale or spinach leaves (fresh works too), 2 teaspoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder or extra onion above, 1 teaspoon garlic powder or extra garlic above.

*For some reason it is also REALLY good served with sliced avocado on top!

**If cutting  lentils back to 1 ½ cups, use only ½ - 1 tablespoon salt and 4 cups water, keeping everything else the same.

One more recipe to try: a delicious, tangy yummy Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad.  I am quite impressed with the intense flavor of the dressing, and I plan to try it with other beans.  Serve this dish with leftover brown rice for a quick lunch or dinner.  Also, make sure you check out the links on the recipe page to the original recipe (by Heather at Heather’s Dish), which is slightly different and makes a larger quantity.  By the way, I just took another peek at Heather’s Dish and I’ve found more good stuff to try!


  1. Querida Elisa, gracias por el enlace y por todo tu apoyo. Tengo un premio para tí, ojalá te guste:
    ¡Dios te siga bendiciendo!!

  2. Thanks Elisa! I'm always trying to get my kids to eat beans. I've tried a few different recipes, but most of the kids just won't eat them!! Well, with 9 kids you can't please everyone! Thanks for the recipes! Maybe I can get them to eat one of these! Say a prayer! I'm a mommy on a mission and they just don't want to get on my new healthy/natural eating trend. Thanks again!

  3. Xhonané, Gracias por el premio Liebster y por su apoyo de mi blog.

    Readers, look for a new post soon explaining the Liebster award I just received, and to see who I pass the award to.

    Jennifer, I hope your family will find something to like about beans, whether it is one of these recipes or something else. All you can do is keep trying.

  4. Hi again Elisa, I have a question....Do you soak your lintels? I've heard some people say they do and others say it's not necessary. Just wondering what you think.
    By the way....Xhonane beat me to giving you the Liebster award!!! Can I still give it to you anyway?!?! ;-)
    God Bless!

  5. Jennifer, I'm honored! Two Liebster's in one weekend. Thank you so much.

    For lentils, I soak them sometimes, and other times not. I occasionally forget to soak them and I know they cook well without soaking, so I just cook them anyway. The nutritional argument for soaking legumes is that it removes phytates, which can bind to minerals like calcium and magnesium and remove them from the body instead of allowing those minerals to be absorbed. I've also read that phytates bind with heavy metals and toxins that need to be removed from the body, so that reasoning would be against soaking. So, basically, if I have time, I soak lentils, and if not, then I don't. I do however, always soak beans because they cook quicker and for enhanced nutrition. I hope this helps!

  6. Oh thank you for sharing this post of Motivational Monday, I need to cook more with lentils.


Your feedback, reactions, and ideas are appreciated!

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