Wednesday, June 1, 2011

try these beans

 I know many people feel that baking is all-important in gluten-free cooking. I am not one of them. It's not that I don't enjoy a good cookie or cake or pie, but they are rare treats for me. I rarely eat bread, though a sandwich sounds good every once in awhile. So you will find some recipes of this nature here, but not a lot. 

The same holds true for dairy products. I definitely use substitutes for milk, butter, and cheese, but these products do not try to mimic dairy. I have yet to find a cheese substitute that I am willing to eat, and most contain casein, which is definitely on my "avoid at all costs" list.

Try these links for some baked treats:
glutenfreegirl gluten-free-ice-cream-sandwiches

I find real inspiration in those foods which are primarily gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free to begin with. Some need no changes, some just minor tweaks to make them safe and still seriously delectable. All, I believe, are not just acceptable, but a delight to eat.

One of my favorite side dishes can do double duty as a main course. This version is vegetarian, vegan actually, and it is full of flavor. Those who wish to add meat to this dish can do so with ease, but try it this way first. This is so easy to prepare that I would say it needs no recipe were it not for the number of times I've been asked for a recipe.

Quick and Easy Beans
  • 5 cups dried beans, picked over and rinsed well, my current favorite is organic cranberry beans, pinto or pink beans are fine
  • water to cover by at least 3"
  • 2 or 3 whole serrano chiles, jalapeno will do if serranos are unavailable
  • one onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 to 6 cloves of garlic, whole or coarsely chopped
  • one 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, I use Muir Glen organic, or 5 or 6 fresh tomateos, chopped
  • salt and ground pepper to taste

Combine first 5 ingredients in crockpot or large dutch oven. Beans need not be soaked unless you want to shorten the cooking time. I usually start them early in the day for that evening or the night before for an afternoon meal. Simmer or cook on low until beans swell and are becoming tender. Check one or two with a spoon to determine. How quickly beans cook and soften depends on many factor including the type of bean, how long they've been on the shelf, and whether or not they've been soaked. Check occassionally, stir and add extra water if needed.

After beans are somewhat tender, and only then, add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Acid, as in the tomatoes, and salt will toughen the beans if added before that.

Continue to cook until fully done. Taste again for seasoning. Beans tend to need a lot of salt, but it's much easier to add it than try to take it away.

As they cook, the beans will develop a rich, creamy sauce, much like a bean gravy, and will be less firm and separated than, say, canned beans. They are great served alone, with avocado slices, minced onion, over rice or quinoa, or with meat. Cheese or sour cream can be added if you choose; obviously they are no longer vegan with this option.


  1. These are the potatoes I've cooked for family and friends for years. They are perfect when serving vegetarians, and carnivores have never complained.

  2. I should take my own advice and edit carefully before posting. We're talking beans here, of course, not potatoes. Speaking of which, I put some in the crockpot before I went to work this morning, and they are now fully cooked, tender, fragrant, and ready to eat.


We'd love to hear what you think about this?