Really Awesone Black Bean Brownies

Delicious, but healthier, brownies. Gluten-free AND dairy-free. Lots of protein and fiber from the black beans to help prevent the blood sugar spikes that occur with most brownies or sweets in general. No one will know there are black beans hidden in these farm-to-school favorite treats!

Puree together in a food processor, blender, or immersion blender:

2 cups cooked black beans (unsalted)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil

Sift together then blend into wet ingredients:

1/2 cup cacao powder
2 tablespoons tapioca starch or corn starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1.2 teaspoon salt

Mix in:

1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Grease a small pan. Bake in pre-heated oven at 350° F for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into squares. Store in a sealed container in fridge or freezer.

 

 

 

Squash and Bean Burgers

Getting kids to eat their veggies is not always easy. I don’t have kids, or even claim to know much about them, but this is something I hear about all the time. When I’m out offering people samples, it’s not unusual for parents to take a look at the food and say, “my kid wouldn’t eat that” or “Johnny hates squash”.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that.

I think that parents are often the ones who don’t like the foods, don’t make them, and aren’t willing to give them a chance because they simply believe their kids wouldn’t eat them either. If we want kids to eat smarter, than it’s up to us adults to first change our own attitudes. And that can start with cooking and some creativity. We can involve kids in the kitchen and be open to trying new foods.

Sunday I did just that. I worked with a girl scout troop to make squash and bean burgers. I wanted to do something hands on, colorful, and just a little different. I don’t believe kids should eat boring, bland foods. I certainly don’t like them. Why would they?

It was fun because the girls got to mash up all of their burger ingredients. In went the cooked squash, black beans, quinoa, bread crumbs, onions and garlic.

The breadcrumbs, quinoa, nuts and seeds act as the binder that keeps everything together, while adding extra fiber and protein. Make your own breadcrumbs by grinding stale bread in the food processor, if you have it. And experiment with the seeds and nuts of your choice. The first time i made these I used the squash seeds, but didn’t prefer such a chewy texture in the end. I like the crunch of sunflower seeds better and used those the second time around.

The spices are typical Mexican flavors you’d find in something like tacos – spices you probably already have in your pantry. But these aren’t spicy. Many basic chili powders, are in fact, sweet. A little cayenne powder, or chopped pepper could up the heat for you though.

There are a few ingredients to work with here and maybe it’s more than you’d prefer. But a little planning brings it all together with little extra effort. Roast the squash, cook the quinoa and soak the beans a few days ahead of time, at your convenience. None of these require much attention. Why not prepare some extra while you’re at it?

Cooked squash, grains and beans are good in so many dishes. Having them ready to go at any time makes for quick cooking at any time of day. Or maybe you have leftovers of some or all of these items in your fridge already. Any kind of grain, squash or bean could work in these burgers, so put those leftovers to another use!

After all the mashing, the girls formed their own patties. I let them feel invested in the process and I think because of this they were open to trying the burgers, even though they all said they had never had them before.

Why not try: Making a batch (or two) of these burgers, wrapping them individually and having ready to go in the fridge for a quick lunch or dinner any time during the week. Or freeze them to last even longer.

Squash and Bean Burgers

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Yield: 6 + burgers

Roast the squash (step 1) in advance and you’ll have burgers ready to go in no time.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups winter squash, cut into large pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can, rinsed, if not using dried beans)
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Drizzle the squash with a little olive oil, bake on a sheet in an oven preheated to 425F. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes. (Optional: If you’d like to use the squash seeds in the burgers, rinse and clean them then fry in a pan over medium heat with two tablespoons oil until browned. Alternatively, you could use sunflower seeds.)
  2. When cool, peel off the squash skin, cut into pieces and mash in a bowl with the beans. Fold in quinoa, chili powder, cumin, coriander, seeds, nuts and salt.
  3. Lightly sweat the onion – until it breaks down and begins to turn translucent – and garlic in a small pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Fold into the squash mixture with the bread crumbs.
  4. Using your hands, shape into patties.
  5. Add oil to a skillet, heat to medium and fry burgers until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side.

Mexican Spaghetti Squash with Tropical Salsa

Winter squash has to be my favorite food of the season, followed up by apples and fresh cranberries. But for the longest time there was one winter squash I never liked, the spaghetti.

For many, the pasta like consistency of cooked spaghetti squash is a welcome alternative to actual pasta. That’s a quality I can appreciate, as it opens the door for creativity. Yet I could never get over its overwhelming blandness. No matter how I cooked and seasoned the squash, it always turned out with zero flavor. And so I wrote it off as the black sheep of the winter squash family.

Until now. Finally, in Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s VeganomiconI found a phenomenal spaghetti squash recipe.  The squash is baked until tender, added to a mildly spicy onion, jalapeno, corn and black bean mixture and then topped with a tomato, avocado and tropical fruit salsa. There are many flavor profiles at play here and they all work. It’s anything but bland.

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The other great aspect of this dish is that it takes advantage of several foods that are perfectly in season right now in early October, including onions, tomatoes, peppers and corn. Seriously, make this now, before tomatoes and peppers have completely disappeared.

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As with any dish that requires roasted squash, I suggest taking care of the roasting  in advance. It really simplifies things. Maybe when you’re relaxing the evening before you’d like to use it, just toss the squash in the oven for about an hour.  If you didn’t plan ahead (and I know how that is) and aren’t opposed to the microwave, you could use it to cook the squash a little faster than the oven.

The flavor of the salsa will only get better after chilling, so consider preparing it in advance as well. With the squash and salsa ready to go, this meal could be ready in 20 minutes.

Mexican Spaghetti Squash with Tropical Salsa

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 spaghetti squash
For the salsa:
    • 1 cup chopped tomato
    • 1 cup chopped pineapple, mango or papaya
    • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, mint or basil or any combo thereof
    • Juice of 1 lime
For the bean mixture:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup red wine or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (if canned, drained and rinsed)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and place in a baking dish cut side down. Bake until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. This step can be done up to 3 days in advance.
  2. In a bowl toss all of the salsa ingredients together. Chill until using, which can be up to 2 days in advance.
  3. Heat the oil a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes before adding the spices, salt and wine/broth. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the corn and black beans and simmer over low heat until the liquid has reduced and vegetables are tender.
  4. When squash is finished cooking and cool, use a fork to scrape the strands into the pan. Toss with the bean mixture to combine and allow to heat through if the squash was precooked.
  5. Serve in bowls topped with the salsa.

This recipe was adapted (mostly just the seasonings) from Veganomiconan excellent cookbook and resource for vegan and vegetarian cooking.

Black Bean Cornmeal Pie

When time is short, who doesn’t love a quick, yet filling, one dish meal. Yvonne Brunot and I prepared this grain and vegetable based recipe on a recent episode of Everyday Chef on PEG TV. Believe it or not, as we enter into October, I still saw these great vegetables for sale at the farmers market.

The tomatoes, corn, peppers, garlic and onions are cooked down with black beans and the slight smoky seasoning of chili powder and cumin. Then, everything is topped with a cornmeal and whole wheat based batter and baked. The result is a warm, satisfying vegetable medley, with a crunchy grain topping to soak up all the flavors.

Black Bean Cornmeal Pie

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Makes 6 servings

1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ears of corn, kernels sliced off the cobs

TOPPING:
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon oil
Salsa and reduced-fat sour cream, optional

Directions

In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in oil until tender. Add the chili powder, garlic, and cumin; saute 1 minute longer. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in beans and corn; heat through. Transfer to an 11-in. x 7-in.
baking dish coated with cooking spray or oil.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, jalapeno and salt. Whisk the egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon over filling; gently spread to cover the top.

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbly and a toothpick inserted into topping comes out clean.

Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.

Adapted from tasteofhome.com

In The Mood For Salad?

I am. It’s been a long, pretend winter this year, and Everyday Chefs all over may want to break up the soup schedule with some interesting new flavors. And, it’s great timing. Word around town is that greens have resurfaced at the weekly farmers’ market.

This healthy winter salad is the perfect way to marry basement butternut squash with these lovely green gems from the market.

Butternut Squash and Smoky Black Bean Salad Adapted from Cooking Light

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 7 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 bag of winter greens
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Combine squash and 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Arrange squash on baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until tender.

3. Arrange walnuts on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt over nuts; toss. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring a couple of times.  Watch them carefully–toasted becomes burnt rather quickly.

4. Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, paprika and oregano in a bowl; stir with a whisk.

5. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add squash, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, pepper, and beans; cook 3 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat; stir in 3 tablespoons dressing; toss to coat.

6. Combine remaining dressing and arugula; toss to coat. Divide arugula mixture evenly among 4 plates; top with bean mixture. Sprinkle evenly with nuts and cheese.