red beans & rice

Thanks to Corrie for sharing one of her favorite dishes with us. It’s tasty with or without the vegetarian “sausage.”

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 15-oz. cans kidney beans (1 can drained, 2 cans with juices)
1 15-oz. can Italian stewed tomatoes
1 tsp. Creole or Cajun seasoning or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
3 cups cooked rice
1 package vegetarian “sausage” (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sautè until onion is brown (about 15 minutes).

2. Add kidney beans with their juices, stewed tomatoes, Creole seasoning, and the bay leaves. If you like it spicy, try adding the Cajun/Creole seasoning, a few dashes of cayenne pepper, and about 1/2 tsp. cumin.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until flavors are blended and mixture is very thick, stirring occasionally (about 45 minutes). If using the vegetarian “sausage,” slice and add to mixture about 20 minutes before serving.

4. Divide cooked rice among large, shallow soup bowls. Spoon bean mixture over rice and serve. Serves 6.

bettina’s antioxidant vegetable soup

The beets give this low-calorie, energizing soup a deep fuschia color. If you like, add a cup of small pasta shapes to this soup during the last 10 minutes of simmering.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, diced
5-6 cups vegetable stock
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 beets, peeled and diced small
2 large potatoes (white or red), peeled and chopped
1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved
1 14-oz. can kidney beans
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup Bragg’s amino acids
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over low-medium heat. Add onions; cover and cook until onions are soft (about 10 minutes). Add garlic, celery, and green pepper; stir well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are slightly softened.

2. Add stock, carrots, beets, potatoes, and green beans. Increase heat to bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients; stir to combine and heat through.

bean and pasta soup

Ruth created this winter wonderland of pasta and beans with a spicy tomato-based sauce. We’ve all tried this dish and loved its color and flavor. It’s satisfying and perfect for a cold winter day.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 cups vegetable stock
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups Gemelli pasta

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients except pasta; then increase heat to high. When soup begins to boil, stir in pasta and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with a salad and artisan bread.

This soup will thicken while in the refrigerator, so add water or broth when reheating leftovers.

southwestern skillet supper

This fast, hearty supper is a real crowd-pleaser. If you enjoy cooking with meat substitutes, try adding “beef” crumbles. (We added a few chopped Nate’s Meatless Meatballs. Fantastic!)

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. cumin
2 Tbs. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 16-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 10-oz. package frozen corn
2 cups pasta shapes (such as macaroni or gemelli), cooked and drained

1. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and sautè the onion, bell pepper, and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

2. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, and frozen corn. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta and “beef” crumbles, if using. Serve immediately.

homemade refried beans

Rebecca Valencia says that her children love these homemade refried beans. If you like spicy food, add cumin or jalapeños to the saucepan.

1/2 lb. dry pinto beans
1/2 cup of kidney beans
1 handful of Navy beans (or Great Northern beans or other white beans)
1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil

1. Pour the beans into a crockpot and fill to the top with water. Cook on low for about 9 hours or on high for 5 or 6 hours. When the beans are tender, add salt to taste. Pour the bean broth into a bowl and set aside.

2. Pour the beans into the blender. Gradually add the bean broth and puree the beans. Don’t add too much water-the beans will be soupy instead of thick and creamy.

3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the pureed beans and cook until heated through. Serve with your favorite Central or South American dishes, or refrigerate and reheat for a later meal.