Simple Fava Bean Recipe

Fava beans have a rich, buttery taste, and chefs love to incorporate them into their first spring dishes. Fava beans are a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. Young favas can be cooked and used unpeeled, but as they mature, their tough outer skins need to be removed.  But it’s well worth the effort because their rich flavor is delicious in everything from salads to stews. They might take some time to shell and peel, but putting the tender green beans into any dish makes it sodelicious! Since they are so fresh, and have a naturally good taste, it is best to create dishes with them that use simple ingredients and highlight the taste of the beans themselves. Here is a simple recipe that does just that and also comes together in under half an hour.

Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Lemon

Ingredients

4 lb. fresh fava beans

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

3/4 cup shaved aged hard cheese, such as Pecorino

 

Method

  • First, shell the fava beans from the fava pods. If you're new to fava beans, an easy method is to open the pods as you run the edge of a knife along the seam, cutting away the tough edge so that the pod halves come apart. Discard the pods.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes (the amount of time required will depend on the freshness of the beans).
  • Using a slotted spoon, drain the beans and then immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water. This “shocks” the beans and stops the cooking process. This step ensures that the beans do not get overcooked and mushy.
  • When cool enough to handle, slip off the outer skins of the beans and discard. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • In another small bowl, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. Whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the mixture on top of the beans and toss. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and toss gently again. Serve right away.

This is an easy recipe that takes hardly any time to put together. Not only is it packed with nutrients, it looks very appetizing with a bright green color. It can be served as an appetizer, a healthy snack, or as a side dish with a main entrée. The initial prep time aside, these make for a quick dish anytime. The light vinaigrette and a bit of shaved cheese is all it takes to create this tasty dish. You can eat these on their own, or you can even add pasta to turn it into a nice pasta salad. Add a protein like grilled chicken or pork, and you have a complete meal.

Try this simple fava bean recipe and let the buttery taste of these beans shine through. Just dress these beans with a light vinaigrette and shaved cheese to create a simple yet delicious dish.

 

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5 Great Vegetarian Meals to Cut Down on Meat

5 Great Vegetarian Meals to Cut Down on Meat

 

Vegetarian meals can be both flavorful and fulling. The trick is to include hearty vegetables and legumes then layer flavor profiles. With these five vegetarian meal ideas, you won’t even miss the meat.

 

BEAN CHILI

An easy route for introducing meatless meals is chili. Make your favorite chili and switch out the meat for kidney beans. The beans are hearty and filling enough to satisfy even the most diehard meat-eater.

 

SWEET POTATO LASAGNA

For a great vegetarian meal that’s also gluten free, take your favorite lasagna recipe and replace the noodles with thinly sliced sweet potatoes. You’ll need a mandolin to achieve the perfect slices and remember that slicing through every bit of potato isn’t worth shaving a finger so stop when you have about 1/4 inch of potato remaining.

For the sauce, replace any meat with spinach or kale. Then layer ricotta cheese mixed with a bit of mozzarella for extra creaminess, and top the whole thing with a final layer of mozzarella.

 

SOUP AND SANDWICH

Vegetarian versions of the comforting combination of warm soup with a savory sandwich are delicious. For soups try tomato, broccoli and cheese, butternut squash, or simmer some kale, navy beans and garlic in vegetable broth.

A grilled cheese sandwich is an easy accompaniment to the soup of your choosing, but step up the classic sandwich. Try mozzarella, fresh tomato, basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze for a Caprese style sandwich. Slice up a Bosc pear or apple, top with Brie, or gorgonzola cheese for savory-sweet combinations. If you’re a fan of French onion soup, sauté some onions until they’re nice and caramelized then sandwich between swiss cheese and some hearty bread. The combinations for vegetarian soup and sandwiches are endless.

 

CAULIFLOWER TACOS

Replace the meat in your tacos with cauliflower. Just cut up the vegetable into bite sized florets, coat with oil and taco seasoning, either store bought or a mix of your own: cumin, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, crushed coriander seed, onion and garlic powers, salt and pepper. Get the florets nice and coated then sauté until tender. Top as desired.

 

SUBSTITUTE CHICKEN WITH TOFU

Tofu is a blank canvas, and an excellent swap for chicken in many dishes. Purchase an extra firm block (found in the refrigerated section near the produce). You’ll need to get all the water out; to do this place the block of tofu in between paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, then place a bowl or plate on top with a weight such as a can of beans. Let it sit for about an hour, replacing the towels once or twice. To speed the process along, you can slice the block length wise.

When the excess liquid is out of the tofu, you can infuse it with your favorite marinate then bake in at 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway. Try an Asian marinade then add the tofu over stir fried vegetables and serve over rice.

 

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A Citrus Salad with Fried Rosemary and Olives

A salad is a nice crisp course that can go with any meal, or be a meal itself. Even at restaurants, you can have a salad before your meal or have a dinner salad off their menu. Many restaurants have a variety of salads and their own dressings.

At home, it’s easy to throw a salad together for lunch, before a meal, or even a dinner. If you fix the same salad every time though, it could be boring.  You’ve tried cob salad, traditional salad, ceasar salad, and other salads that can be easy to make, but it’s time to try a new salad. One that will capture your senses.

Recipe #1:

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 3-inch rosemary springs
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 pitted oil-cured black olives
  • 6 blood oranges
  • 6 Cara Cara oranges
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

First, pour 1 inch of vegetable oil into a heavy saucepan. Use a deep-fry thermometer and make sure the bulb is in the oil and watch for it to get to 350 degrees F. Put the rosemary springs in and fry until crisp and bright green. This will only take 10-15 seconds. Transfer them to a paper towel lined plate and season them with the kosher salt. Add the olives to the oil and fry until the bubbling has ceased.

This will take a bit longer at about 4 minutes. Place them on the same plat and tear the rosemary leaves off the springs and mince them. Next chop the olives.

Use a small, sharp knife to cut, peel, and white pith from all of the 12 oranges. Cut crosswise into ½” rounds and arrange them on a platter. Season the oranges lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then drizzle the olive oil over them and add your rosemary and olives.

Citrus Salad Recipes

The above recipe can also be altered just a bit. To add some more citrus to the dish so it’s not sweet, you can cut a lemon and add it to the dish. Also, if you’re looking for some green to add to the plate since it isn’t a traditional salad, try adding spinach or arugula.

When trying any recipe, you don’t have to follow it exactly that way, unless you’re baking. For this salad, you can add any citrus you want and different kinds of olives. You can also add different greens and dry different dressings. You don’t have to use extra virgin olive oil every time. Try a vinegar dressing. Not every dressing will work. You don’t want to put a thick, heavy cream based dressing with citrus.

If you think the recipe seems a bit simple, try adding something that you think will go with the dish to make it more complex and delicious. If you want a big crunch factor, try adding something crunchy. You can even add more fruit if you desire it to be sweeter.

 

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Hearty Fall Harvest Vegetable Soup

Vegetable Soup

After a long day at work or at school, facing the chill fall and winter weather can wear you and your family out. One of the staples of lunches and dinners at this time of the year are soups and a hearty fall vegetable soup certainly fits the bill for a hungry family. The recipe is easy to follow and easy to prepare once all of the vegetables have been cut, sliced, and diced. Since this is a strictly vegetable-only affair, the larger vegetables help to serve as a focal point for the soup rather than what meat would if this was a vegetable-beef type of stew.

Depending on your taste, you may decide against the squash and instead add a few more of the potatoes. This is one of my family’s favorite recipes and they look forward to the cold months because they know that I’ll have a hot soup ready for them for dinner once they get home. Once you have made the soup once, you should feel free to add or change the amount of vegetables to the recipe; you really can’t go wrong with a vegetable soup this time of the year. A little experimentation won’t kill a good soup and you never know, maybe you’ll find a soup that your own family will love for generations?

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lb. hard squash like a butternut. Peel and seed, then cut into ¾ inch pieces.
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cans (14 1/2 oz each) reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cans (15 oz each) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

Directions:

In a large saucepan or a pot on medium setting, heat up the olive oil. Then add the onion, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and rosemary, and sauté until the onion and bell pepper are tender, which could take about 12 minutes. You will need to stir occasionally so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan or pot. Add the cut squash and potatoes and then season with salt and black pepper. Cook while stirring frequently, until the squash and potatoes start to soften which usually takes about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and tomatoes and then bring the soup to a boil before reducing the heat to medium-low for about 25 minutes or until the squash and potatoes are tender.

If a thinner soup is desired, then just add more broth to the mix. Taste the soup and ensure it has enough flavor. You may need to fine-tune the seasonings using salt and black pepper. The soup is then ready to be ladled into bowls and served immediately. This recipe will serve about 5 to 6 people, depending on how much broth is used.

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Sweet Potato Crock Pot Recipes

Potato Crock Pot Recipes

Sweet potatoes are rich in iron, magnesium, fiber, and starch as well as potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin A. You can also use these tubers to make everything from hearty meals, making them especially great for crock pot recipes. They’re also a healthy alternative for those of you who would rather die than eat carrots alone, but for those of us who enjoy carrots, they’re a match made in Heaven. Rev up that slow cooker and bring something nutritious and delicious to your home!

If you’re a fan of spicy foods, sweet potato curry soup might tickle your tastebuds just right. Curry powder adds spice complements the sweet taste that these potatoes carry without overpowering it. To make about 10 servings, you’ll need:

3 to 4 large sweet potatoes

2 to 3 large onions

2 to 3 medium carrots

4 cups of coconut milk

1 tablespoon of curry

½ tablespoons of black pepper, clove, basil, and cumin

1 cup of cilantro and/or 1 cup of chopped kale

½ cup of peanuts (optional)

Peel and cook the sweet potatoes until they brown and soften. Slice up the sweet potatoes as finely as you like, but be sure to dice the onions and carrots well. After thoroughly stirring the coconut milk, spices, and vegetables into an even blend, cook for 8.5 to 9 hours (low) or 7.5 to 8 hours (high) while stirring occasionally. Puree the soup with a blender before serving.

 

Sweet potato chili is another delectable and zesty meal. To make it, you’ll need the following:

3 cans of kidney beans

3 cans of black beans

2 cups of diced tomatoes

2 cans of tomato paste

1 to 2 cups of diced peppers (red and green)

2 cups of quinoa or brown rice

2 cans of tomato paste

2 cups of sliced scallions

2 tablespoons of olive oil

4 ½ to 5 cups of water

A small sprinkling of salt

1 ½ to 2 tablespoons each of chili powder, cumin, marjoram, oregano, thyme, and black pepper

 

Mix pre-cooked quinoa or brown rice with the rest of the ingredients. Cook with the lid on for 20 minutes, slightly reducing the heat and letting it cook for another 30 to 45 minutes.

You can also make sweet potatoes au gratin with 4 large sweet potatoes, 3 cups of milk, basil, thyme, 3 to 3 ½  tablespoons of whole wheat flour, and 2 to 3 cups of diced goat cheese or any other cheese that you prefer. Cook and chop the sweet potatoes before mixing all the ingredients together, then stir about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the basil and marjoram. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the mixture. Be sure to spread out the cheese so that it covers the liquid’s surface evenly. Keep the crock pot covered as it cooks for about 5 to 6 hours on high. Make sure that the potatoes have fully softened before serving.

Feel free to modify these recipes to suit your tastes. Enjoy!

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