Author Archives: Marilyn Sarasqueta

Meet Allie & Dan of Love and Risotto!

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Newlyweds Allie and Dan love to relax after work by creating and cooking delicious dishes together and sharing them on their blog Love and Risotto. Allie is a farmer’s daughter. In fact, she’s a BEAN farmer’s daughter! Her dad, Dave Richter grows beans in Knights Landing in Yolo County. Dave also serves on the California Dry Bean Advisory Board, so Allie and Dan cook a lot of beans! Their blog is entertaining, funny and filled with wonderful recipes and amazing photos of their perfected dishes that they hope will inspire you in your kitchen. Allie and Dan share some of their amazing bean dishes with California Beans!

Easy Black Bean Burger

Black Bean burger Featured

photo courtesy of Love and Risotto

Cheesy Artichoke Bean Dip

Artichoke Bean Dip Featured

photo courtesy of Love and Risotto

Skillet Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie Featured

photo courtesy of Love and Risotto

Buffalo Hummus Pitas

Buffalo Hummus Featured

photo courtesy of Love and Risotto

Meatless Bean Meatballs

Meatless Bean Meatballs Featured

photo courtesy of Love and Risotto

Make sure to follow Love and Risotto for wonderful recipes using beans. Subscribe to their newsletter so you will always have the latest from the newlyweds!


Meet our Featured Dietitian Kristina LaRue!

photo courtesy of Kristina LaRue

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, loves when her clients add beans to their diet because of the great fiber content in beans. In fact, without eating beans, she cautions that it is hard to incorporate adequate fiber into the diet. Kristina is a sports dietitian who has worked for the Orlando Magic and the University of Central Florida Athletics. She is now a busy mom, full-time blogger, content creator, writer (check out her Flat Belly Cookbook for Dummies!) and works as a registered dietitian for her husbands’ NFL sports marketing agency. She is one busy lady! On her website Love & Zest, Kristina shares recipes, fitness, and nutrition tips that you can use in your busy life. Need some delicious, nutritious bean recipes? This is just the spot!

Kristina shares some of her favorites including one of her favorite ways to eat black beans in Turkey Taco Soup. Do you have a toddler in your house? Kristina has a wonderful recipe for the little one: Vegetarian Baby Burrito Bowls – and the whole family will love too!

Vegetarian Nourish Bowl

photo courtesy of Kristina LaRue

photo courtesy of Kristina LaRue


Vegetarian Tortilla Casserole

 photo courtesy of Kristina LaRue

photo courtesy of Kristina LaRue

Follow Kristina on her social media!



What’s your favorite bean to eat?


Spring Giveaway Time!

What’s Your Favorite Bean To Eat?

Enter to win a free $400 Amazon gift card from California Beans.

It’s easy! Just head to our Facebook page, follow the arrow on our cover photo to the Sign Up button, click and choose the bean you like to eat the most!

Please share this great giveaway with your friends! Contest ends May 8th and you may enter once a day (must be over 18 years of age)!

It’s Bean Appetizer Time!


Easter is in a few days; Mother’s Day and Graduation parties are just around the corner, so why not check out our recipe library for delicious dips and appetizers that will surely impress your family and friends? No need to settle for the regular bean dips and chips when there are so many options including healthy and yummy Texas Caviar, Roasted Garlic Dip with fresh veggies, White Bean Bruschetta, or a simple Hummus.   I have used the Texas Caviar for a bean salad instead of an appetizer, and everyone loved it. Step out of your comfort zone and make a dish that is both easy and delicious!

TexasCaviarTexas Caviar

Roasted Garlic White Bean DipRoasted Garlic Bean Dip




White Bean Bruschetta

Shrimp and Red Beans Creole

Shrimp red beans and rice1

Cooking with California Dry Beans is an oldie but goodie cookbook. Unfortunately, it is no longer in print, but I have made it my mission to cook and share the recipes from this unique little book. It was first published sometime in the 1990’s, and packed with “some tried-and-true,” old fashioned bean recipes as well as fresh new ideas for good bean eating. I have shared a recipe before on the Bean Sack blog from this cookbook, but you are going to see more in the future.

This recipe for Shrimp and Red Beans Creole is one my husband’s regular requests…he often has three helpings! It is also delicious as leftovers.

Shrimp red beans & Rice Shrimp and Red Beans Creole
Makes 6-8 servings

First, the Creole sauce


2 large onions, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper cut in strips
1 (or 2) cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4-cup butter or oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 can (16 oz.) tomato sauce
1 bay leaf, broken
Hot pepper or hot pepper sauce to taste


Sauté onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in oil about 5 minutes. Combine flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a small bowl; sprinkle over vegetables. Add rest of ingredients and cook, stirring until slightly thickened. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. (Add a little water is it gets too thick.)

1 2/3 cups drained red kidney beans, cooked or canned (one 16 oz. can)
1 pound medium cooked shrimp (remove tails)
6-8 cups cooked rice


About 20 minutes before serving, drain and rinse beans. Add beans and peeled and deveined shrimp to Creole sauce. Heat slowly but thoroughly. Serve on bed of hot rice.





Meet our Featured Dietitian Stephanie McKercher


Stephanie McKercher is on a mission to end calorie counting. Instead, this food lover and registered dietitian from Denver, Colorado, believes in eating mindfully, cooking, enjoying produce straight from the market, and incorporating whole foods such as beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

She encourages her clients to eat beans because they are nutrient dense, affordable, and delicious, making them a natural choice for anyone looking to eat healthier. Stephanie recommends beans to her clients — especially those who are vegan and vegetarian — because they are rich in protein and essential micronutrients along with energizing nutrients, complex carbohydrates, and satisfying fiber.

Pairing beans with lots of colorful vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice and sliced avocados makes for a perfectly balanced meal. Her website, The Grateful Grazer, is full of wonderful recipes, lifestyle tips and much more! Check out these recipes and other great bean dishes on her website.

Mushroom and Cannellini Loaded Sweet Potatoes with Lemon Herb Pesto
African Spiced Chickpeas and Greens

Follow Stephanie on social media

photo courtesy of The Grateful Grazer

photo courtesy of The Grateful Grazer

Green Goddess Pasta Salad
Recipe courtesy of Stephanie McKercher, RDN
Serves: 6-8


  • 3 cups dry whole wheat fusilli (or pasta of choice)
  • 2 tbsp. grape seed oil
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 2 tbsp. tahini (you may need to add more water to reach a dressing-like consistency)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1-15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)


  1. Add pasta to pot of boiling water and cook until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside until ready to mix.
  2. In the meantime, heat oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add broccoli and snap peas and cook an additional 6-8 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together tahini, lemon, garlic, cayenne, and water.
  4. Add cooked pasta, chickpeas, spinach, parsley, nutritional yeast, and tahini sauce to wok and stir until mixed. Add salt to taste. Transfer to serving bowl, top with black pepper, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired.
  5. Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.

Bean & Barley Chili

photo courtesy of Abbie Gellman

Bean & Barley Chili
Recipe courtesy of Abbie Gellman Culinary Nutrition Cuisine
Makes 6 servings


½ pound dry beans, any mixture (for this recipe, I like pinto, white, and black beans, but use any type you prefer)


  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 ounces vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 1/3 cup barley, pearled
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup chipotle pepper in adobo, chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional garnish: sour cream or yogurt, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado

Soak beans overnight in a bowl with water covering them by a few inches. The next day, drain and rinse beans then transfer them to a pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and leave undisturbed for an hour. If not yet cooked through at one hour, keep at a gentle simmer and begin checking every 20-30 minutes, adding water as necessary and tasting for doneness. Once done, drain, add a pinch of salt, and set aside. Note: do not season the beans while cooking, this will toughen them and they will not cook through.


    • Heat dutch oven or large pot on medium-high heat, add olive oil, then sauté onion, pepper, and garlic.
    • Add tomato paste, cumin, and chili powder to create a paste and sauté for another minute.
    • Add vegetable stock, beans, and barley. Cook for 15 minutes.
    • Add tomatoes and cook for another 40 minutes until barley is tender. Add more stock or water if barley absorbs all of the liquid too quickly.
    • Add cocoa powder, chipotle pepper, honey, and water (to loosen if necessary). Add salt and pepper.
    • Add garnish (optional) and enjoy!

*Note: can use 2 cups of canned beans, rinsed and drained, in place of dried beans if preferred

Mexican Rice

photo courtesy of My Whole Food Life

Mexican Rice
Courtesy of My Whole Food Life
Yields 4-5 servings

3 cups cooked pinto beans
3 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
2 chili peppers, chopped
2 cups corn (we used fresh from the ears, but frozen will work   too)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
Sea salt to taste

Sauté peppers, onions, and garlic 3 to 5 minutes on medium high in a teaspoon of oil.

As they begin to soften, add the tomatoes and beans and let simmer on medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the spices and rice and reduce heat to low and let simmer for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Serve immediately.

Smoky Sweet Black-Eyed Peas


Smoky Sweet Black-Eyed Peas

Recipe courtesy of Jill Nussinow, aka The Veggie Queen™

I love black-eyed peas and I don’t just reserve them for New Year’s luck. Any day that I can eat them is a lucky day.

Serves 4–6

1 teaspoon oil, optional
1 medium to large onion, thinly sliced
2–3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced red pepper
1 small jalapeno or other hot chile, minced
1–2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1–2 teaspoons mild or medium chili powder
1½ cups dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and drained
4 dates, chopped fine
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can Fire Roasted tomatoes with green chilies
2 cups chopped greens such as kale, collards or Swiss chard
Salt to taste

Heat a pressure cooker over medium heat or set an electric pressure cooker to sauté. Add the oil if using or dry sauté the onion for a few minutes, adding some of the water if the onion starts to stick. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté for another minute. Add the smoked paprika and chili powder along with the peas and dates. Stir to coat them and then add the water, stirring well to be sure that nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Add the water. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook at pressure for 3 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.

When time is up, carefully open the lid, tilting it away from you. Add the tomatoes and greens and lock the lid on the pressure cooker for 5 minutes. Open the cooker. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add salt to taste.

Note: You can cook this without a pressure cooker, if you don’t have one by following these directions and using 3 cups or more water, as needed instead of just 1 cup: Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Dry sauté the onion for a few minutes, adding some of the water if the onion starts to stick. Add the garlic and peppers and sauté for another minute. Add the smoked paprika and chili powder along with the peas and dates. Stir to coat them and then add the water to cover them. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Put a lid on, keeping it slightly ajar. Cook by simmering, keeping the peas covered with water, for 35–45 minutes until they are cooked through and almost all of the water has been absorbed. Drain any excess water.

Add the tomatoes and greens and cook for another 5 minutes or more until the greens are wilted. Add salt to taste.

©2016 Reprinted from Nutrition CHAMPS by Jill Nussinow, MS, RDN

To Soak or Not to Soak…That is the Question.


Dry beans…do you soak them and if so, a hot soak or a cold soak? People often ask whether beans can be cooked without soaking first. I’ve been reading a few articles on the subject and thought I would put the theory to the test. I decided to test three different varieties of dry beans: garbanzos, large lima beans and black-eyes. All are different shapes and sizes and cook at different times.

File Feb 22, 3 43 23 PM

I first sorted and rinsed in clean water 1/2 cup each of the dry beans and put them in separate saucepans with enough water to cover the beans plus 1 inch. After the water had started to boil, I reduced the heat to a slow simmer. The black-eyes were the first ones to cook at about 35 minutes. The second were the garbanzos at 45 minutes, and third were the large limas at 60 minutes. These cooking times will vary, but the result was that you don’t need to soak the beans first to get a nicely cooked bean.

File Feb 22, 3 46 35 PM

The second batch I sorted and divided into individual bowls, the beans covered with water plus 2 inches. I soaked them overnight and cooked them in the morning. All were cooked in the same saucepans as the unsoaked beans the day before. The garbanzos were the first ones done at about 35 minutes, second were the black-eyes at about 45 minutes, and the large limas clocked in at 70 minutes. The texture of all the cooked beans were the same whether they were soaked or unsoaked.


Conclusion: I like both ways. If you have always soaked your beans, try not soaking them and see if you like that method better and visa verse. I always feel there is never a right or wrong way to cook beans, just cook them the way you like and don’t be afraid to experiment!