Bean there, do that…

by Honey Ahmad Photography Silobee on Thu, January 14, 2010

Beans are much maligned sometimes and the butt (pardon the pun) of many jokes. Yet beans are wonderful things and versatile too. Here are some great ways to include them in your daily diet. One recipe for each day of the week...

Beans need not be boring at all

Yes, this brownie is made from beans. Okay fine, chickpeas are legumes but imagine that! A tasty almost guilt-free dessert from chickpeas. Many have extolled the virtues of beans and legumes. We know they are a good source of fiber and protein. They are low in fat, cheap and there is an incredible variety of beans. But what we are interested in is the fact they are easy to cook and delicious! Check out our recipes below to live a life that's full of beans.

Monday: Chickpea Blondies
To get rid of those Monday blues, try is a vegan-friendly recipe. It tastes like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in brownie form!

1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1/2 cup raw sugar, 1/2 cup low sugar strawberry jam, 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1/4 cup plus 4 tbs flax meal, 1/2 tsp baking powder

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until perfectly smooth, scraping sides often.

Oil baking pan. Preheat oven to 180°C. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 26 minutes.

Let them cool completely and enjoy.

We recommend it eaten with chocolate sauce on top.

Tuesday: Miso Stir-fry
This was inspired by an Indonesian sambal goreng so you can also use tempeh. And miso paste is made from beans. Fast and delicious!

1 1/2 cup each of French beans, sliced tofu and mushrooms, 2 cloves garlic (crushed), 1 red chilli (sliced), 3 tsp miso paste, 1 1/2 tsp grown sugar, 1 tsp white vinegar/ rice vineger, 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Fry garlic, mushrooms and chillies, add miso paste and mix well (adding a little water to thin it out). Add beans, sugar and vinegar, then mix. Before serving sprinkle sesame oil on top.

Wednesday: D.I.Y Dhal
Give yourself something nourishing mid-week with the laziest Dhal you can possibly make. We had no experience at all and it turned out wicked!

350g dhal, 3 cups water, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 inch ginger, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 2 dried chillies, salt to taste

Let this simmer for 45 minutes until the dhal breaks down and becomes thick.

Before serving, fry 2 tsps ghee/ butter, 1 meduim onion (diced), 3 cardamom pods, 2 sticks of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds until fragrant- then mixed it with the dhal.

Eat it with rice or warm chapati

Thursday: Four Angle Bean with Sambal Salsa
You can freshen up your palate by our sambal salsa with crunchy four angle beans. You can add more veggies for an ulam or add belacan to your salsa for added kick.

1 packet four angle beans, 3 red chillies, 3 bird's eye chillies, 1 tomato, 1 lime (sliced thinly), 1 tsp sugar, pinch of salt

Pound all ingredients together except for the beans. Now just dip in the bean and crunch away for a great, healthy snack!

Friday: Make-shift Chilli
We didn't have all the ingredients to make a chilli con carne, so we improvised!

1 medium onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 500g minced beef, 4 tbs ketchup/ tomato paste, 1 can kidney beans, 1/2 tsp cumin, 2 tomatoes (chopped), 40g dark chocolate, 1-2 tbs chilli paste, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 cup water

Fry onions and garlic until fragrant with chilli paste. Add meat and fry until brown. Add ketchup, kidney beans, cumin, tomatoes, pepper and let it simmer for 10 minutes. If too spicy add water and finally the chocolate. Let it simmer for 20 minutes until it thickens.

Chilli is always better reheated the next day. Eat with rice or pour over nachos, scatter cheese on top and grill it in the oven until cheese melts and turns a little brown.

Saturday: Anchovy Butterbean Dip
OMG! This is such a lovely dip. We can't stop eating it and a creaminess of the beans matched the saltiness of the anchovies perfectly.

5 slices of anchovies in olive oil, 1 can butter beans, Pepper to taste

You can play around with the intensity of anchovies in this dish by adding more or less according to your own taste buds. We use 5 anchovies but it could have used more! Blitz all these ingredients in a food processor till creamy and smooth. Enjoy with crackers or crusty bread.

Sunday: Zuppa Fagioli
This Tuscan soup is hearty and satisfying, great to simmer on a slow Sunday while reading a good book. We think it's much better than a Minestrone anyday!

2 cups dried white navy beans?, 2 tbs olive oil?, 2 medium leeks (chopped)?, 2 stalks celery (chopped)?, 3 garlic cloves (finely minced)?, 3 carrots (diced)?, 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth?, 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary (chopped), Salt and pepper, to taste?, Juice of 1/2 lemon?

Soak beans in water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and add leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until leeks begin to soften. Add celery, garlic, and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add stock, rinsed navy beans, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and allow to simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Puree 3 cups of soup in a blender or food processor and pour back into the pot. Add lemon juice, and more salt and pepper if needed.