Tag Archives: bean

Dal Makhani

I mentioned in my Chicken Shawarma post that I hesitate to use traditional names for ethnic dishes. This dish definitely falls into that category. I am not from India. I have honestly never consumed this dish at any Indian restaurants. I have no idea what the “real” dal makhani is like, other than recipes I have found online.

With that disclaimer, this is one of my new favorite Indian dishes to make at home. This comes together fairly quickly and packs a huge flavor punch. And it is the best way I have ever had lentils. Enjoy!

Dal Makhani (Serves 6-8)

Dal Makhani

½ tablespoon canola oil
½ large onion, diced
¾ cup diced carrot
1 small bell pepper, diced
½ jalapeno, diced (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
1 clove garlic
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated or minced small
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 cardamom pods, smashed
2 cups pureed tomatoes (3-4 tomatoes pureed in food processor)
1 cup red lentils
1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans (about 2 cans, rinsed and drained)
1 cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion, carrot, bell pepper, and jalapeño until onions are softened and becoming golden. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, curry, garam masala, and cardamom. Saute until fragrant.

2. Stir in tomatoes, lentils, beans, and ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low (enough to keep it simmering). Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Stir frequently and add more water as needed to keep enough liquid to cook lentils. Just before serving, stir in heavy cream.

3. Serve warm over rice and garnish with cilantro.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 235
Protein: 12 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Carbohydrates: 35 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 104 mg

Recipe Notes: My curry powder is quite strong and hot, so I don’t use a lot. Feel free to adjust the levels of curry powder and garam masala to your preference. I have also used black beans in this. I preferred the flavor of kidney beans, but it worked well enough. I only found red lentils at my grocery store. You can use any variety that you like. However, look at the label to see how long they take to cook. If they take longer than 30 minutes, you may want to partook them a bit first, or you will need more pureed tomatoes and water. Your choice.

Source: adapted from http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/dal-makhani-restaurant-style-recipe/ and steamykitchen.com

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Black Bean Tacos

A couple years ago, our family was at a bit of a crossroads. My husband was having a hard time finding a permanent job. We were beginning to feel the stress of what to do with our lives when a job offer came that totally reset the trajectory of his career. To celebrate, we went out to eat at a fun Mexican restaurant in Chicago. As I was pregnant, I was being extra careful to try and eat “healthy”. So I ordered the vegetarian burrito. I love that restaurant, but that burrito was disgusting.

I often find that the case with Mexican vegetarian dishes when I go out to eat. I’ve actually become very wary of them. They just don’t taste right to me. My guess is because they throw in strong flavored veggies that just don’t blend in well (like tons of broccoli in the burrito mentioned above). If you have found some places with good options, let me know. I’d love to try them.

In response, I have made it my mission to make awesome vegetarian versions of Mexican dishes at home. These black bean tacos were pretty great. I didn’t miss the meat, although I’m sure my husband did. I tried to focus on vegetables that made sense or at least had very mild flavors. Enjoy!

Black Bean Tacos (Serves about 4)

Black Bean Tacos

½ tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, diced small (seeds and membranes removed per preference)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tablespoon cumin
½ tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cans low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup frozen corn
4 whole wheat tortillas
½ cup shredded cheese
sour cream (optional)
guacamole (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add zucchini; cook for 3 minutes more.

2. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Saute 1 minute, or until beginning to be fragrant, stirring frequently.

3. Add tomatoes, beans, and corn. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 or so minutes, until everything is heated through and combined well.

4. Serve in tortillas with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or your favorite taco toppings.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 427
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Cholesterol: 14 mg
Carbohydrates: 63 g
Fiber: 20 g
Sodium: 732 mg

Recipe Notes: I recently have been subbing pinto beans in many recipes for black beans with great success. Sometimes, I almost like the pinto version better. While I haven’t tried it with these yet, feel free to mix up the beans. Maybe a mix of black and pinto. Or garbanzo beans would also be tasty here.

Source: original recipe

Low iodine adjustment: Use no salt added beans or cook your own.  Skip the cheese.  Make homemade tortillas with noniodized salt. Use noniodized salt in seasoning the tacos.

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Sweet Potato Fritters

I’m not a big fan of veggie patties as a general rule.  My experience has been they don’t taste like the meat version they are meant to replace, so I’m not satisfied after eating it.  But I recently cut down my family’s meat consumption, leaving me looking for a veggie main dish that isn’t pasta or rice.  This recipe works because it doesn’t try to imitate any meat dish.  The fritters have a unique taste and texture that is delicious and a bit surprising for the critical eater.


Sweet Potato Fritters (Makes 4-6 fritters)


1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced (seeds removed, if desired)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder (or more, if desired for heat)
2 cups grated sweet potato
¾ cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and jalapeño for 3 minutes. Add garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until spices are fragrant but not burning. Add sweet potato. Saute 2 minutes more.

3. Put sweet potato mixture and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse just until combined. Divide mixture into equal portions, shaping into 4-inch round patties that are about ½ inch thick. Place on prepared backing sheet.

4. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until browned and set in the middle. Serve with salsa and guacamole.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Fritter):

Calories: 204
Protein: 8 g
Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 37 mg
Carbohydrates: 31 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 380 mg

Recipe Notes: Grate the potato on a large grater. Pulse it as little as possible in the food processor. If you pulse it too long, everything becomes mush and you lose any sort of texture in the fritter. Feel free to mix up the seasonings, but don’t worry about over doing it. The amounts I have may seem like a lot, but these seem to absorb seasoning and become bland quickly.

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

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Black Beans and Rice

My little girl isn’t the biggest fan of meat, but she will eat beans.  While she enjoys them plain, the rest of us prefer a little more flavor.  This dish hit a good balance – spicy enough for adults but not too spicy for kids.  Beans are also cheap, which is nice for my food budget.

I’m including the recipe for making your own beans from dried beans. If you prefer to use canned beans, just use the lower sodium beans and rinse them well. If you haven’t cooked your own dried beans, you should try. It is very easy and tasty.

Black Beans and Rice (serves 4)


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 bell peppers, diced
1/2 jalapeno, diced small
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon chili powder, more to taste
2 cups black beans (cooked or about 2 cans)
1 cup frozen corn
water, as needed
4 cups cooked brown rice

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Saute onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add seasonings. Cook for 1 minute more, stirring to keep spices from burning.

2. Add beans and corn. Cover pan and cook until heated through. If there isn’t enough liquid from the beans, add some water to pan, about 1/2 cup at a time.

3. Serve over cooked rice.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 453
Protein: 15.5 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 83 g
Fiber: 12 g
Sodium: 227 mg

Black Beans in a Crockpot (makes about 6 cups of beans)

1 pound dried black beans
2 cups broth
4 cups water
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt

1. Sort beans and remove any debris. Rinse beans.

2. Place all ingredients except salt in crockpot. Cook for about 6-8 hours on low, or until beans are cooked to your preference. When beans are almost cooked, add the salt for 1 more hour of cooking.

Recipe Notes: This recipe is very flexible. You can adjust the amounts of vegetables to your preference. If you wanted it to haver more sauce, you could also add some salsa or tomatoes. I use a chipotle pepper powder which is pretty spicy, so I don’t add much. If you are using canned beans, you will need to add some water for sauce. Using beans in the crockpot, you will have some of the cooking liquid. You can presoak the beans before you cook them in the crockpot, but it doesn’t seem to reduce the cooking time much. I made this on the low iodine diet, so I didn’t add any cheese. I’m sure a little shredded cheese would be yummy, though. The nutritional information was calculated using no-sodium broth, since that is what I was using for the low iodine.

Source: adapted from several recipes online

Low iodine adjustment: Use a chili powder with no added salt. Use a broth with no added salt or made with non-iodized salt. Use non-iodized salt.


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