College Kitchen: The Magical Fruit

Keep this newspaper away from polite company, because it’s got a whole lot of beans inside of it right now.

Samuel Linder

 

A long time ago, I made a promise — a promise that I am finally going to deliver on. Vegans: Here’s your article.

Actually, the premise here is something that every vegan probably knows already, so I’ll share it with everyone else as well: Beans are miraculous.

To be fair, they do tend to add a few foul aromas to the room after a couple hours of internal fermentation, but the benefits here far outweigh the costs. Beans are packed with protein, fiber and a little bit of starch to keep you going. They are virtually fat-free, incredibly cheap and ready to eat if you buy them in cans. Paired with rice or another starch like potatoes, they provide complete proteins, something that few other veggies can boast (and a godsend to those that keep meat out of their diet).

Bean Soup

Often done with lentils, this simple dish will taste great with nearly any bean (or bean combo) you can think of.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 can tomatoes, drained

2 cans beans, drained

2 cups water

Spinach

1 tablespoon vinegar

Salt

Pepper

Instructions

Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot on medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté until soft but not too brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano and basil and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, beans and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until desired thickness, then add the spinach and vinegar and cook a little longer until the spinach is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Variations

Again, any kind of bean will work in this, or any combination. If you start with dried beans rather than canned, make sure to soak them overnight beforehand. If you use lentils, you can simply add the dried lentils with the tomato and water and bump up the post-boil cooking time to an hour. Any veggies would be good in this, as long as you make sure they cook through properly. Add potato cubes with the celery, onions and carrots for a little more meat, or cabbage at the end for a little crunch.

Black Bean Cakes

Tasty patties that go great anywhere — on rice, as a burger, even chopped up in a breakfast scramble.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil (split up into two equal parts)

1/4 onion, diced small

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 can black beans, drained

1 potato, cooked

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup bell pepper, diced small

1/4 cup small bread crumbs

Instructions

Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan, sauté onions until beginning to soften. Add garlic, cumin, coriander and jalapeño, cook for about a minute. The potato should be cooked beforehand, either by microwaving for a few minutes (poke holes in it so it doesn’t explode), baking or boiling until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients together and mash into a paste, then form it all into a patty and either A) Fry it in a half-inch of oil in a deep pan until both sides are crispy and done or B) cook it on a baking sheet at 450 for 12-15 minutes, flipping once.

Bean Burritos

A classic Mexican treat, made special by steaming the tortilla beforehand.

Ingredients

1 can black beans

2 teaspoons oil

1/4 onion, chopped fine

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

1/4 onion, sliced into strips

1 bell pepper, sliced into strips

Salsa

Guacamole

Cilantro

Instructions

Heat some of the oil in a fry pan over medium heat, add the diced onion and cook until beginning to soften. Add the beans (undrained), garlic, jalapeño, chili powder and vinegar, and cook for 5-10 minutes until the beans are thoroughly cooked through but not falling apart. Remove the beans, add a little more oil to the fry pan and turn up the heat to high and sauté the onion and pepper strips until almost-burned on the edges. While they are cooking, put an inch or two of water in the bottom of a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Either use a steaming tray or make your own (my friend Eli uses a coat hanger bent into a perfect tortilla frame) to steam the tortilla for a short while, to make it stronger and more pliable. Fill the tortilla with all of your goodies, and serve up hot.