Warm Bean Salad w/ Fresh Herbs & Olives

Serves 4

3 cups drained cooked white beans, such as cannelloni, navy, baby white limas, or flageolets; (reserve about 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid) or canned beans, drained and rinsed well

Herb Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Scant 1/3 cup bean cooking liquid, unsalted homemade or canned vegetarian broth, or water
  • 1/2 cup black olives, such as Kalamata or Gaeta, pitted and chopped, or green olives, such as a picholine or Barese, if using flageolets
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 large fresh basil leaves, torn into 1/2- to 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation: Place the beans in a medium nonstick skillet and set aside.
To make the dressing, in a small skillet, combine the olive oil and garlic over low heat, cover and cook until the garlic is soft, about 3 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat to moderate, and add the rosemary and thyme. Cook until the herbs begin to sizzle and little bubbles dance around them; do not let the garlic brown. Add the bean cooking liquid and olives, increase the heat to high, and boil for 30 seconds.
Scatter the parsley and basil over the beans and pour over the dressing, tossing to coat. Place the beans over high heat and toss frequently until they are hot and have absorbed most of the dressing. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Notes: IN ADVANCE: You can cook the dried beans up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate. You can sizzle the garlic and herbs in the oil up to 4 hours ahead; let sit at room temperature until you are ready to finish the dressing. Although the salad is best served warm, you can refrigerate it, covered, for up to 2 days.

Venetian-Style Bean and Pasta Soup

Serves 8


  • 1 pound dried borlotti (cranberry) beans (2 2/3 cups), picked over and rinsed
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for drizzling
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 roughly 3- by 2-inch Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (optional)
  • 3/4 pound dried ditalini or other small tubular pasta

Preparation: Bring beans and water (10 cups) to a boil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour. (Do not drain beans or discard soaking liquid.)
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a wide 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute onions with 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Add beans with soaking liquid and Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (if using) and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (depending on age of beans), adding more water if necessary to keep beans covered and stirring more frequently toward end of cooking. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup oil and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Cool, uncovered, 20 minutes.
Discard rind and coarsely puree soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), transferring as pureed to a large bowl.
Return soup to pot and reheat over moderately low heat, stirring frequently and thinning soup as desired with additional water. Season with salt and pepper.
While soup is reheating, cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and pepper to taste.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with spoonsfuls of pasta, then drizzle with oil.

Vegetarian Chili

5 servings


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 (16-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 5 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation: Place a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and peppers, and saute 10 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients (chili powder through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with cheese.

Serv. Size: 1 1/2 cups chili and 1 teaspoon cheese

Amount Per Serving

Cals: 281 From Fat: 7

Total Fat: 2.1g

Cholesterol: 1mg

Sodium: 948mg

Total Carb: 53.2g

Dietary Fiber: 9.5g

Sugars: na

Protein: 17g

Root Vegetable Chili Soup

Dishes that call for chili and curry powders get better over time, so make this dish a day ahead.


  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
  • 4 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 small rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 1/2 pound)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1/2 pound)
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small russet potato, finely diced (1 cup)
  • 2 Anaheim, banana, or mild peppers, seeded and chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped (2/3 cup)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced, optional
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Chopped green onions or cilantro for garnish

Preparation: Heat large pot over medium heat. Add corn, and saute 2 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add oil, onion, and garlic, and saute 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Stir in chili powder and cumin, and cook 2 minutes, scraping bottom of pan with spatula.
Add rutabagas, carrots, tomatoes, potato, Anaheim pepper, bell pepper, jalapeno, if using, and 3 cups water.
Bring pot to a simmer, and season with salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Add beans and cook, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until soup thickens. Serve garnished with green onions or cilantro.

Notes: Root vegetables like rutabagas and carrots are great for spicy kitchen experiments because they lend subtle sweetness to dishes. Believe it or not, you can use curry powder in place of the chili powder here-the soup will have an Indian flair.


Amount Per Serving

Cals: 236 From Fat: na

Total Fat: 6g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 417mg

Total Carb: 40g

Dietary Fiber: 13g

Sugars: 15g

Protein: 8g

Roasted Tomatillo and Black Bean Tacos

To prepare fresh tomatillos, strip off the husks and rinse under warm water to remove any sticky sap clinging to the skin.

Serves 4


  • 3/4 pound fresh whole tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 6-inch corn or flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small avocado, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed, optional
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream, optional

Preparation: Preheat oven to broil. Place oven rack 3 inches from heat source. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, and spread tomatillos, onion, red bell pepper, and garlic on prepared baking sheet. Broil 12 minutes, or until tomatillos are blistered and charred, and onion and bell pepper are softened and charred, tossing once halfway through cooking time.
Pulse garlic, 1 tablespoon cilantro, jalapeno, and tomatillos 10 times in food processor, or until chunky. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss 1/4 cup tomatillo sauce with black beans, red bell pepper, and onion.
Fill tortilla with black bean mixture, avocado, and queso fresco. Garnish with remaining cilantro and corn kernels, if desired. Serve remaining tomatillo sauce and sour cream, if desired, on side.


Amount Per Serving

Cals: 226 From Fat: na

Total Fat: 7g

Cholesterol: 2mg

Sodium: 457mg

Total Carb: 36g

Dietary Fiber: 11g

Sugars: 7g

Protein: 8g

Mexican Black Bean Soup


Serves 4


  • 1 pound plum tomatoes chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 1 14.5 ounce can low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 canned chipotle chile
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup fresh corn (about 1 ear)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup soy sour cream, optional

Preparation: Puree tomatoes, 1 1/4 cups beans, broth, 1/2 cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, chipotle and cumin in blender until smooth. Cover, and chill 2 hours.
Combine remaining beans, cilantro, lime juice, corn, avocado, red onion and cilantro in bowl. Fold half of mixture into soup; cover, and chill 1 hour. Serve garnished with remaining corn mixture.


Amount Per Serving

Cals: 220 From Fat: na

Total Fat: 7.5g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 517mg

Total Carb: 39g

Dietary Fiber: 12g

Sugars: 6g

Protein: 9g

Confetti Rice Salad


6 servings


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2/3 cup chopped green onions (1 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, optional
  • 1/2 avocado, diced, optional

Preparation: Combine rice, cumin, and 2 cups water in saucepan. Add garlic and salt, cover, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes, or until rice is tender and most of water is absorbed. Remove from heat, sprinkle bell pepper on top, cover, and cool rice in pan.
Transfer rice to large bowl, and remove garlic clove. Stir in beans, tomato, corn, green onions, lime juice, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in sunflower seeds and avocado, if desired. Serve at room temperature.


Amount Per Serving

Cals: 291 From Fat: na

Total Fat: 8g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 365mg

Total Carb: 48g

Dietary Fiber: 7g

Sugars: 4g

Protein: 8g

Black Bean Chili w/ Butternut Squash & Swiss Chard

Prep: 45 minutes; Total: 45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch peeled butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 3 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves (from 1 small bunch)

Preparation: Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; saute until tender and golden, about 9 minutes. Add squash; stir 2 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Stir in beans, broth, and tomatoes with juices; bring to boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in chard; simmer until chard is tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.

Notes: Top with chopped fresh cilantro, red onions, and grated cheddar cheese, if you like.