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Foolproof bean/lentil recipes you love to make again and again

This winter I am working on conquering my beanphobia. For too long beans, lentils, dried peas, and other pulses have loomed at the edge of my cooking consciousness, with their long soaking times, delicate constitutions (don't add salt! or tomatoes! or look at them funny!), and disturbing potential for gassiness.

I have a couple recipes that I've made enough times now that I know I can count on them. One is for French Lentil Soup, the other is for a red lentil dish that is somewhere between a salad, a soup, and dal. The internet is full of recipes for beans/lentils/etc. but I don't want to waste my time (and possibly cement my phobia) on an unverified recipe.

Do you have any great bean standards? Preferably recipes made with fairly common ingredients that are so delicious you find yourself making them over and over? I'm vegetarian and gluten-free, but if your favorite bean/lentil recipe isn't, I'd still love to know about it. I'm a good recipe adapter (although that's probably what gets me into trouble with the beans in the first place...).

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  1. One of my favorite beans is the Fava I have dried both split and whole, jarred,canned and frozen I stew them briefly with tomato,onion and basil or with zatar and cumin maybe some oregano .Sometimes pasta or couscous EVO a must. lentils stewed with cut carrots onions sometimes with curry powder or just ginger and cumin ,rice or pita .I don't use formal written recipes and haven't had any problems as of yet. I also like gandules cooked with sofrito(sometimes with ham bits) and yellow rice .Cooked black beans over corn tortillas or chips baked with soft cheeses melted and with cooked onions Now Thats Good have a salsa and bottled hot sauce nearby .

    1. I love this Neapolitan Pasta and Lentils recipe, and you can use all the bits and bobs of pasta that you've accumulated.


      1. Oh, you must try goodhealthgourmet's healthy black bean dip..many of us go nuts over it--I soak my own black beans and cook them instead of using canned (most of the time...sometimes I just gotta have that bean dip right NOW):


        1. I LOVE this recipe. It's so easy and very forgiving. I use canned beans, rinsed and drained, usually substitute kale for the swiss chard, and serve it with a poached egg on top and some nice crusty bread.

          1. I can't find a link now, but you really have got to try the white bean and tomato recipe in Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." (I have the updated version, but it must be in the older version too.) It works fine with canned or dried beans and I like to use the Pomi parmalat chopped tomatoes. Holy crap, it is amazing for something so simple. Use the butter--just a tiny bit makes it taste amazingly creamy. It is a great side for fish.

            1. Another note: There is also a very tasty dish I used to make all the time that involved cooking black beans in red wine with tons of garlic, possibly soy sauce, and cilantro. So tasty! It was from a hippy cookbook called "Romancing the Bean" by Joanne Saltzman. I should see if it is as good as I remember and make it soon!

              Here is the recipie:
              Combine 1.5 cups cooked black beans with 1/4 cup red wine (she suggests Merlot) and a tablespoon of chopped garlic. Cover the pot and cook on low for 20 minutes or more, until wine is absorbed. Take off the heat and season with 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilanto and soy sauce (she suggests tamari) to taste.

              It is good served hot or cold, IIRC.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LolaP

                hey, Lola...don't think I've ever seen black beans and red wine together...might give this a try soon for something totally different and love the hippie connection, too!

              2. Thanks, these all sound wonderful!

                1. I'm reacquainting myself with lentils right now they've fallen out of my rotation recently - but I love them and beans, too and cook w/beans a lot.

                  I made a quick garlicky lentil soup the other night that was just delicious - and fast enough for a weeknight (I tend to think soup=long cook time). Recipe is here: http://www.semisweetonline.com/2009/1...

                  This lima bean recipe was originally written to use fava beans, and it's got great flavors from feta & dill: http://www.semisweetonline.com/2009/1...

                  This Mexican Quinoa recipe is a riff off something I found on a Chowhound quinoa thread - uses kidney beans - loaded with flavor, lots of protein and fiber: http://www.semisweetonline.com/2009/0...

                  Tonight I'm making this lentil, walnut & butternut squash recipe from Epicurious (might tweak a bit, but looks great as written): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                  I have 1 lb. of black calypso beans from my CSA share that I intend to prep using this recipe from 101Cookbooks: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/... - so again, I can't vouch for this one (yet), but really looks great!

                  Have fun!


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: gansu girl

                    GG, what awesome recipes...thank you...that butternut squash with lentil one looks particularly wonderful right now since I roasted up a butternut squash on Sunday and have been eating it each day (that's my 3rd butternut squash this fall season, can't seem to get enough of it and I do eat good sources of Vitamin A each day so I doubt it's a vitamin deficiency driving my craving...)thanks for posting!

                    1. re: Val

                      Thanks, Val - and update to my previous post - I made that butternut squash w/lentil recipe tonight, and did tweak it a bit (toasted the walnuts and added at end, cooked the lentils in chicken broth) and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD. It's the subject of tomorrow's post on the blog, if you want to check it out.


                  2. My "standard" is a bean curry using tinned beans.

                    I make a simple curry sauce - softened onion & garlic, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander, cumin, fenugreek and a tin of tomatoes. I simmer this for 15 minutes then add three tins of beans - usually chickpeas, butter beans and red kidney (whatever's in). It's ready as soon as the beans have heated through. Simples.

                    And, yes, it makes you fart.

                    1. I like to make lentil salads. I cook le puy lentils (the green French ones), and sauté some finely-diced carrots, celery or whatever other vegetables sound good at the same time. Combine the warm lentils and vegetables with minced raw shallot, flavorful olive oil and lemon juice. Let it sit for at least a couple of hours to let the flavors combine. Serve it chilled or warmed to room temperature. Love it.

                      Lentil cream sauce is a classic French standby that I've never tried -- but I'm intrigued by. It sounds almost impossibly subtle, but maybe that's just because I've never done it. I'd be curious if others have.

                      1. Oh, I make this at least twice a month and heartily recommend "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker" cookbook - tons of great bean recipes.

                        Maple Baked Beans (slow cooker)
                        1tbls olive oil
                        1 med. onion chopped
                        3 cups cooked white beans (Great Northern or Navy)
                        1/2c pure maple syrup
                        1 tsp dry mustard
                        1/2 tsp salt
                        1/4 tsp pepper
                        1/4 c tomato paste mixed with 1.25 C hot water

                        Heat oil in pan, cook onion until soft
                        put everything in the crock pot - cook on low 6-8 hrs.