Red Bean Quinoa Salad

The horrible heat wave that hit the east coast finally broke today with some rain, so I could finally stand to go back into the kitchen and in front of the stove! And because I’ll use any excuse to use my pressure cooker, here’s a little salad I whipped up.

I made a big batch of red beans to last me for lunch for the rest of the week, so I only used about half in the salad. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you should get one! I’m so wary of eating canned beans (because of the whole BPA in the aluminum lining thing) but sometimes it’s so tedious to think ahead and soak the dry beans overnight. So having a pressure cooker solves that, and is one of the things I think a busy cash-strapped vegan should have (since dry beans are way cheaper too.) If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can use canned beans (Eden Foods doesn’t use BPA in their cans) or soak the beans overnight and cook in a regular saucepan for about 1 -1 1/2 hours.

This was also the first time I’ve ever cooked corn from scratch, and it was surprisingly easy. Plus you get to use words like “shuck.” You can also just use frozen or canned corn, but fresh and local is so much better!

For the beans in a pressure cooker:

  • 16 oz bag of small red kidney beans
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • sprinkle of black pepper
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 cups of water
In the pot over medium heat, add the oil and sweat the onion with a sprinkle of salt until it starts to become translucent (about 4 minutes). Add the green pepper and cook another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring up to high pressure. Cook on high for about 30 minutes and release the pressure. Let cool uncovered for about 10 minutes. Makes about 5 cups of beans.
For the rest of the salad:
  • 2 ears of corn, husks removed and dropped in boiling water for about 4 minutes, kernels removed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked red beans
  • 1 1/2 avocados, sliced
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste
Toss everything together in a bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving. Makes about 5-6 servings.

Cannellini and Asparagus Dip

I’ve been so lazy lately, working 6 days a week and pretty burnt out, I haven’t really felt like cooking too much when I get home. Even though being in the kitchen is therapeutic and relaxing for me, sometimes I just want to be a bum, watch 30 Rock, and not worry about dinner too much. So I made this super easy dip tonight, and it works for lunch tomorrow too!

I had these fancy Italian cannellini beans lying around that my friend gave me when she was moving out of her apartment, so I finally put them to good use. And it’s asparagus season! I got a good bunch at the coop last week that I had to use. So here’s what I whipped up.

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 1/4 cup dry cannellini beans (soaked overnight)
  • 10 stalks asparagus
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • half a 12 oz jar of marinated artichokes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped and the seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

Boil the cannellini beans in a pot with a pinch of salt until they’re soft (about 30 minutes)

Meanwhile, cut off the tough parts of your asparagus and cook in a pot of boiling water with salt until they’re tender (about 10 minutes.) Remove from heat, run under cold water, and chop up into smaller pieces to put in the processor.

Add beans, asparagus, and remaining ingredients into the processor (I also added a couple swigs of the marinated artichoke oil for some extra flavor since I didn’t have enough garlic.)


This would be great with just veggies or pita chips. I didn’t have much in the fridge so I just had it on some corn tortillas with some fresh baby spinach. Simple but awesome!

Sausage and Black Bean Breakfast Burritos

Burritos for breakfast! What can be more fun than that? These came out so good that my boyfriend and I ate them for every meal for the next 2 days. We decided to do the salty-sweet thing with some grilled pineapple (he insisted that I give him credit for that! I was a bit on the fence about it but I decided it’s awesome!)

I used my black bean recipe and a recipe for tempeh sausage crumbles from the Post Punk Kitchen. I’m not one of those vegans who tries to mimic meat very much but the combination of the spices here is really great (I skipped the sage though)

Here’s what you need:

  • Black beans and some tempeh scramble (see above)
  • a cup of pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb spinach
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • whole wheat tortillas
In a pan, add the oil and sautee the spinach, garlic and mushrooms with

some salt and pepper and lemon juice over medium heat until everything is cooked down. In a separate pan, add the pineapple chunks until they’re lightly browned (they cook really fast!)

Wrap up in some tortillas and los burritos estan listos!

Hummus Arepas

I’ve been thinking about making arepas for a while. One of my fave restaurants in New York is Caracas Arepa bar, and every time I go there, I think, “This can’t be so hard to make!” And living in Bushwick, there’s no lack of corn flour in the bodegas around here. So I bought a bag and decided to finally give it a go. Despite a couple speed bumps along the way, they’re pretty simple to make and turned out better than expected for my first try. And so cheap! A 4.5 pound bag of masa corn flour only costs $2.99. I used good old hummus for the filling, my go-to staple food whenever I’m running low on funds and need something nutritious and filling for the week. To top it off I added some spinach and tomatoes from my favorite veggie market in the neighborhood, Angel’s Fruit Market on Knickerbocker and Willoughby. They have the best and cheapest produce I’ve found so far. So overall, pretty cheap meal!

For the hummus:

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I used dry beans, soaked overnight and boiled for about 30min)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup warm water (or cooking water from chickpeas if you still have it lying around)

Process everything up and set aside.

For the arepas, I used this recipe for the dough and used this corn masa mix.

What I found was that I should have flattened the balls out more than the recipe called for because I had to cook them in the oven for twice as long and then eventually I realized they weren’t cooking on the inside and had to cut them in half and leave them in the oven another 15 minutes.

Finally, spread some hummus on each side of the arepa, add some fresh spinach and sliced tomoatoes, and eat like a sandwich.

In the end they turned out delicious. I’m even thinking of having a plain one tomorrow with some vegan butter for breakfast!

Low Fat Cuban-Style Inspired Black Beans

This is an adaptation of my great-aunt’s delicious recipe. She uses a load of sugar and olive oil though, which I don’t like to use, but it’s just as good without! And I like to make it a little spicy too.

I’m leaving on a trip to Guatemala next week (where I’ll probably be eating a lot of beans!) so I wanted to make something cheap that I can keep on hand for the next few days and not have to think about my meals too much. And this is so cheap! If you already have a well stocked spice cabinet, it won’t cost more than $10 to make this. I’ve made this a million times, and I always just eye all the ingredients, so all the amounts are approximate.

  • 3 cups dry black beans, soaked in plenty of water overnight
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 orange, red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp siracha chili garlic paste (optional)
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper to taste

-Rinse beans and put in big pot with enough water to cover beans and leave about 1 inch on top. Add 2 cloves crushed garlic and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook covered over medium heat for about 45 min until beans are al dente.

-While the beans are cooking, spray a pan with olive oil and add onions, bell pepper, and pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook over medium heat until they’re translucent, then add 3 cloves crushed garlic and cook for one more minute

-When beans are soft after first round of cooking, add a few tablespoons of onion,pepper and garlic mixture into a blender/processor with a few tablespoons of black beans and the chili garlic paste. Mix it up until it forms a chunky thick paste. This is the “sofrito.”

-Add all remaining ingredients (except red wine vinegar) with the sofrito into the pot (adding more water if needed). Cook for another 40 minutes over medium heat. At the very end, add red  wine vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes.

I garnished them with some sun-dried tomatoes just to give the dish a little color. Serve over brown rice.

Will keep in the fridge for about a week. If you still have some beans leftover after that, you can freeze them.

Black Eyed Pea & Tempeh Empanadas

Leftovers from previous post! I didn’t have enough dough and filling to make a whole new pie, so I decided to make a few empanadas. Had never made these before but it’s so easy! And cooking with dough is so much fun, it’s like you’re 6 again and playing with play dough.

Preheat oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with wax paper.

I stored the leftover dough in some saran wrap in the fridge overnight. I had to add a little bit of water to make it softer and easier to mold, then rolled it into a ball and flattened it out into a big 14 inch square. I then cut the dough into 4 equal squares.

The filling is the same as the pie. I brushed the squares with some melted vegan butter, then added the filling. Then, I folded the square into a triangle, sealing the edges by pressing down with a fork, and brushing the outside with a little more butter.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

Let them sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Black Eyed Pea Tempeh Pie

This is my first attempt at a veggie pot pie and it was a huge success! I was afraid it would come out to dry but the black eyed peas ended up being perfect for this because they have a great flavor on their own and they’re kind of creamy too.

for the pie crust

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup melted vegan butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup ice water

-mix all ingredients together until mixture forms a ball

-wrap the ball in saran wrap and keep in fridge for 1 hour

-divide the dough ball in half and roll one of the balls to fit the bottom and side or a 9inch baking dish

-roll out the other half to use for the top crust

for the filling

  • 1 flax egg (1tbsp ground flax seed, 3 tbsp water, simmer in pan till reaches egg consistency, about 3min)
  • 3 cups black eyed peas (1 16 oz bag of dry beans soaked night before, then cooked in about 6 cups water with 2 cloves of garlic and pinch of salt for about 45min)
  • 1 cup loosely packed spinach
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 cloves pressed garlic
  • 1 8 oz block tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy creamer
  • 1 tsp vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch cayenne
  • salt and pepper to taste

I used 3 different layers for the filing: a tempeh/veggie mixture, a blended black eyed pea/spinach mixture, and then some black eyed peas on top.

for the tempeh mixture:

-Cook carrots and broccoli with 1 tbsp oil in pan, covered until soft, adding a tsp of water periodically so they don’t stick or burn

-In a separate pan, cook the tempeh with 1 tbsp of olive oil until browned on all sides

-In another pan, add 2 tbsp of olive oil and saute onions and jalapeno until onions are translucent. Add garlic and and cook for 1 minute. Add mushrooms, carrots and broccoli, tempeh, nutritional yeast, and spices. Cook another 4-5 minutes, adding water if needed to keep it moist.

for the spinach mixture:

mix flax egg, spinach, 1 1/2 cup black eyed peas, soy creamer, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast in a blender/processor until smooth

to assemble the pie:

-line the bottom of pan with tempeh mixture

-add layer of spinach mixture

-top with remaining 1 1/2 cup black eyed peas

-cover with the rest of the dough, making sure to pinch the bottom and top crust together

-cut some slits in the the top for ventilation

-brush melted butter on top of crust

-bake at 375º for 45-60 min until edges are golden brown

-garnish with parsley to make it pretty and eat it!

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