Archive for the ‘Legumes’ Category

Beans are a great source of protein, complex carbohydrates (the good carbs that give energy to brain and muscles) and dietary fiber.  Also, beans have the “good fat” your body needs and a low glycemic index, meaning they have the ability to give you energy over a sustained period of time by slowly releasing its nutrients into your blood stream. In Latin American and Caribbean dinner tables, beans are always present.  Most of the time they are stewed or refried.  I really like my version of three bean salad which is easy, healthy and full of flavor.   Also, beans are inexpensive and easy to store for long periods of time (canned or dry). I use organic canned beans when I find them. Serve this salad with your favorite lettuce, baby greens or over toasted bread as quick snack like a “bruschetta tre fagioli”.  They always taste better the next day when the flavors settle! Be mindful I add olive oil and not extra-virgin olive oil. My aunt Evamari makes a wicked three bean salad similar to this one.  Keeps in the fridge for about a week.


Three Bean Salad


1 15.5 ounce canned black beans

1 15.5 ounce canned pink beans

1 15.5 ounce canned chickpeas

4 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro

4 tbsp finely chopped red onion

2 fresh garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper

2 tsp fine sea salt

pinch ground cumin

pinch smoked sweet paprika

2 cups of olive oil

pepper to taste


1.  Open cans and drain beans in colander.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and refrigerate.  Serve with green salad, alone or over toasted bread.

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A few months ago, we travelled to Orlando, Florida to attend a tradeshow related to my husband’s business.  My brother and sister in law who live in South Florida, Mandy and Frances, met us there.  One afternoon, Frances and I took a break from the show to go shopping in Orlando’s world famous outlet malls as well as browse at upscale shops.  One of our stops was at The Mall at Millenia where we got hungry, so we went to a California Pizza Kitchen Restaurant for lunch.  We shared a white bean hummus as appetizer topped with tomatoes and flat bread and a pizza with mozzarella, fontina and gorgonzola cheeses, thinly sliced pears, caramelized onions, hazelnuts and baby greens (something to try with my bbq homemade pizza recipe with a little white truffle oil of course!).  It was delicious! I had tried white bean hummus before at other restaurants like Cien Vinos in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and often made traditional chickpea hummus at home.  This variation, is a great appetizer or light lunch. In the months following our trip, I started experimenting with recipes and quantities to make the white bean hummus at home and here is the outcome.  So far, I’ve had great reviews from family and friends!  I want to hear your comments and suggestions.


Tips:  Before juicing the lemon, grate the lemon zest and use it to make Nieves’ Lemon Bread.  Also, sometimes the solids and oil in tahini (ground hulled sesame seeds) separate, so make sure they are fully incorporated to form a paste by mixing with a spoon before adding to the recipe.

Tuscan White Bean Hummus


white bean hummus

30 ounces canned Cannellini Beans or Alubias (drained)

1/4 cup tahini

6 cloves of garlic peeled (8 if you like it extra garlicky)

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 yellow lemon approximately)

tomato topping

2 roma tomatoes cubed

1 tbsp fresh basil coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

pepper to taste

pita bread or pita chips


1. Place all hummus ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop ingredients roughly. Then turn on for about 2 minutes until smooth paste is formed. You may add a bit of cold water if you want to reach a smoother consistency.

2.  Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients of the tomato topping in a bowl.

3.  To serve, spoon and spread white bean hummus in a serving plate and top with tomato mixture.  Serve with pita bread, flat bread or pita chips.

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There is no question that this side dish is the traditional Puertorican complement to white rice, fried plantains and sauteed beef tenderloin with onions (arroz blanco, habichuelas guisadas, tostones/amarillos, y bistec encebollado).  Of course, for purists of Puertorrican cooking this fast track version of “Habichuelas Guisadas” is a sacrilege (how dramatic!) because I am using canned beans (relax, I also have a recipe with dried beans).  However, some of you will agree with me that this quick and easy recipe is a lifesaver for busy parents, college students and professionals that forgot to soften the dried beans in water the night before. Sometimes I find organic canned pink beans.  If you want you may substitute the pumpkin with same amount of cubed potatoes or the chicken stock with good quality vegetable stock. Also, if you have some left overs, you can make “arroz mamposteado”  (sauteed white rice and beans).  My grandmother likes to add cubed ham (jamón de cocinar) to the “sofrito”.   I find my version pretty flavorful and tasty without the ham so its optional and depending on your preference.

Well, my mother and grandmother might not approve, but I think these beans turn out pretty awesome! Ja!


Habichuelas Rosadas Guisadas Fáciles (Easy Stewed Pink Beans)


2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves minced

1/4 cup cubanel green pepper (pimiento de cocinar) finely chopped

1/4  cup white onion finely chopped

1 recaito “ice cube” ( about 1 1/2 tbsp)

2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1  15 ounce can of pink beans (drained)

1 cup fresh pumpkin cubed

2 cups organic chicken broth


1.  In a saucepan heat extra virgin olive oil.  Add garlic, pepper, onion and recaito. Sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat.

2. Add salt and tomato sauce  to complete the “sofrito”. Sauté for about 3 minutes.

3.  Add beans and pumpkin and stir followed by chicken broth.  Cover and cook over medium-low heat for almost 20.  Stir occasionally and make sure there is enough liquid for beans not to stick to bottom of sauce pan.

4.  Serve over your choice of white or yellow rice.

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