Category Archives: Blog

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.

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!




Meet our Featured Food Bloggers Melissa & Marcus King of My Whole Food Life!


marcusMelissa and Marcus King are the cooking and creative duo behind My Whole Food Life website. Melissa is the creator, photographer and primary writer for the website and Marcus creates a lot of the savory dishes for My Whole Food Life and manages the site. Their passion is creating homemade healthy versions of unhealthy food so that others can create a healthier lifestyle. Do yourself a favor and follow them on their social media to find such great recipes as Healthy Kidney Bean Pasta, Healthy Burrito Bowl, Roasted Vegetable Hummus Pizza and so much more! Melissa has written two cookbooks: Easy.Whole.Vegan:100 Flavor-Packed, No Stress Recipes for Busy Families and DIY Nut Milks, Nut Butters, and more: From Almonds to Walnuts. Melissa and Marcus have graciously agreed to share their delicious recipe for Mexican Rice that Marcus created.

photo courtesy of My Whole Food Life

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.

This should last a week in the fridge. Enjoy.

Follow Melissa & Marcus!


Meet our Featured Chef and Dietitian Abbie Gellman!

Abbie Gellman

Abbie Gellman loves beans so much that she even incorporates them at least twice a week in the breakfasts she prepares for her family!   After having spent time on Wall Street where she worked in hospitality, food and beverage consulting and equity research, she decided to pursue her passion and return to school for a Masters in Nutrition.

Abbie is a rare combination of a registered dietitian with both culinary and a business background. She uses all of these skill-sets to run her company, Culinary Nutrition Cuisine in New York City. Cooking provides an opportunity for Abbie to be creative and try different foods, flavors, cooking methods and more. Cooking is a form of meditation for Abbie, especially when she gets into a groove of whatever she is preparing.

Abbie encourages her clients to eat beans because they are simple to cook and easily integrate into a variety of flavor profiles and cuisines. Beans are also very satisfying, helping us to feel full longer as our bodies metabolize them. One dish that is a staple in her home is also her daughter’s favorite recipe. Black beans cooked with onions, cilantro, and lime combined with brown rice or quinoa, with toppings such as cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and peppers. Abbie finds that the dried beans are wallet friendly and provide a wider variety of beans than canned options.

Abbie has shared her Bean and Barley Chili with us! You can use any dry beans you have on hand in your pantry…don’t be afraid to mix and match!

photo courtesy of Abbie Gellman

photo courtesy of Abbie Gellman

Bean & Barley Chili
recipe courtesy of Abbie Gellman
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



  1. 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.


  1. Heat dutch oven or large pot on medium-high heat, add olive oil, then sauté onion, pepper, and garlic.
  2. Add tomato paste, cumin, and chili powder to create a paste and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add vegetable stock, beans, and barley. Cook for 15 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Add cocoa powder, chipotle pepper, honey, and water (to loosen if necessary). Add salt and pepper.
  6. Add garnish (optional) and enjoy!

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





Meet our Featured Food Blogger Jackie Garvin!

Jackie Garvin

Meet our Featured Food Blogger Jackie Garvin of Syrup and Biscuits!

A Southern gal through and through Jackie Garvin of Syrup and Biscuits invites you into her website with as much hospitality as I can imagine she would welcome you into her home. Part of Southern culture is gracious hospitality, lovely manners and great food and Jackie is a real Southern lady that follows these principles. She was born and raised in Alabama but now lives in Florida with her husband and their basset hound, Belle. She started her Southern food blog to share her love of the food she grew up eating.   Her Southern roots run deep, and she is proud of her heritage and enjoys sharing recipes and memories of growing up in the South.

Jackie loves to cook with beans and her recipe for Country-Style Ribs and Great Northern Beans is a hearty one pot meal that is amazing!

Country Style Ribs and Great Northern Beans

Photo courtesy of Jackie Garvin of Syrup and Biscuits

Follow Jackie on her social media:
Website: Syrup and Biscuits

Note: If you have always wanted to make wonderful fluffy Southern style biscuits to go with your pot of beans, Jackie has written a comprehensive book: Biscuits: Sweet and Savory Southern Recipes for the All-American Kitchen with step by step instructions and tips to perfect your biscuits!


Soups On…Bean Soup That Is!


The New Year has hit most of the country with weather that has us longing for some comfort food. Soup has always been a comfort food for me, whether it’s chicken soup when you have a cold or a hearty bean soup to warm you up, it’s always a good time for soup!

In the California Bean recipe library we have soups using all kinds of varieties of dry beans. These soups served with some artisan bread will be perfect for those dreary winter days.

Quick Black Bean Soup

black bean soup1Sheepherder’s Hearty Soup

sheepherder hearty soup 1Basque Red Bean Soup

From Featured Chef Jesus Alcelay

RedBeanSoup3874Cranberry Bean Soup

cranberry-bean-soupBaby Lima Butternut Squash Soup


Meet our Featured Dietitian Serena Ball!


Serena Ball, co-creator of the website The Recipe ReDux, a registered dietitian and health blogger community, likes the new and trendy way to use the bean brine from garbanzos called aguafaba. Cooking with aguafaba is about the most fun she has had in the kitchen in a long time! (For more info on aguafaba read our blog.)

Besides being a registered dietitian, Serena is a food writer and co-owner of Teaspoon Communications, a culinary focused nutrition communications group.

She recommends beans because they are nutrient rich and versatile in almost any style of cooking from ethnic dishes to served with ketchup, which is how her kids like to eat black beans! Serena believes beans are the ultimate convenience food, not only are they budget friendly, either canned or dry, but they fit into both the vegetable and protein food groups. She states that if you eat beans more often your body can develop more of the enzymes needed to digest them which help with the side effect. Her kids sing that popular little ditty like this: Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat, the LESS you toot…so let’s eat beans for every meal!

Her kids love this recipe because it tastes like hummus- but is as hearty as a burger!


Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Cakes

Recipe courtesy of Serena Ball Teaspoon of Spice

Makes 6 hummus cakes


6 sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not packed in oil)
1 can (16 oz) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 3/4 – 2   cups cooked dried garbanzo beans)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon peanut butter (or tahini paste)
1 egg
1/4 cup dry oats (quick or old fashioned)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil


  1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with 1/2 cup boiling water; let soften for at least 10 minutes. Reserve soaking liquid and chop tomatoes.
  2. Place beans and all remaining ingredients, except oil, in the bowl of a food processor and process, until well mixed, but not totally pureed; about 10-15 pulses. (Or use a fork to mash and mix all ingredients in a bowl.) Add sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of soaking tomato liquid. Pulse until tomatoes are incorporated. Add the soaking liquid if mixture seems dry. (Mine didn’t need it.)
  3. Let mixture rest for 10 minutes for flavors to meld. While mixture is resting, shape into 6 patties and place on a plate.
  4. Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for 90 seconds (to seal non-stick surface.) Add 1/2 tablespoon oil and heat. Fry 3-4 patties in oil about 4 minutes on the first side; flip and cook about 3 minutes on the second side – or until both sides are dark golden brown. Add remaining oil and repeat with remaining patties.

Please follow Serena on her social media!

Websites:    Teaspoon of Spice, The Recipe Redux
Facebook:   Teaspoon of Spice The Recipe Redux
Pinterest:   Teaspoon of Spice,   Serena Ball
Twitter:      Serena Ball, MS, RD


Oh How I love Black-Eyed Peas


Guest writer Jill Nussinow,MS, RD is The Veggie Queen and served as a guest blogger, expressing her love for black-eyed peas and her pressure cooking methods!

I can’t recall exactly when I first heard about eating black-eyed peas for good luck in the new year but think that it was when I lived in South Florida. Black-eyed peas are sold fresh there in the summer time. I had not eaten them before then. When I first tried them, I knew that I had found a new bean “friend.”

Since then, my way to ring in the new year is with black-eyed peas for both wealth and health. There is something about the meaty smokiness and starchiness of black-eyed peas that appeals to me and makes me want to use them often. They have an affinity for many different types of seasonings. However, since I love smoky flavors, I often cook them with smoked paprika or give them a final sprinkle of smoked salt.

Regarding pressure-cooking, what goes for black-eyed peas works for all other beans (but not lentils which do not need to be soaked). You have the choice to soak or not to soak but I prefer soaked beans as I find that they tend to cook more evenly.

If you want to pressure cook beans from dry you use 1 cup beans to at least 2 cups liquid. The time will depend upon the type of bean. Black-eyed peas take 6 to 7 minutes at pressure with a natural release, which means you let the pressure come down on its own. Most standard beans such as black, white, pinto and kidney take 20 to 25 minutes at pressure with natural release. Can you see why I love my black-eyed peas? They are ready quickly.

To cook soaked black-eyed peas, use at least ½ cup liquid (and up to ¾ cup) for each cup of dry beans that were soaked. Always measure the beans before soaking them, not after. (Just so you know, a pound of beans is usually about 2 ½ cups of dry beans and they often expand by double or triple.) Black-eyed peas cook in just 3 minutes at pressure with natural release. The standard soaked beans, mentioned above, take 6 to 8 minutes at pressure.

The pressure cooker is a like a super steamer. If you add seasonings when you cook your beans, the flavor gets infused into the beans. The addition of onions and garlic alone enhance almost any bean.

The cooking time at pressure is the same whether you use a stove top or electric pressure cooker. It’s the fastest, easiest and most delicious way to cook beans of any type. Here is one of my favorite recipes for black-eyed peas.

Smoky Sweet Black-Eyed Peas

By 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

Black-eyed Bean Waffles or Muffins…you choose!


Do you call them black-eyed beans, black-eyed peas, cow peas, or goat peas? Whatever you call them this one-eyed legume is a very versatile and nutritious little bean. Eat them hot or cold, in an appetizer or a dessert for a nutritious addition to your meals.
This Black-eyed Bean Waffle or Muffin dish came about when I found a recipe for cornbread. A light bulb went on for me. How about attempting this recipe, with some modification on the waffle maker. Allow me tell you about my waffle maker. It was a wedding present 41 years ago and is the old fashioned waffle not a Belgium waffle. I like my waffles crispy and this appliance cooks them just the way I prefer them.
This is a savory waffle that you can serve with salsa and sour cream or just eat plain. If you prefer muffins this recipe works great. They also freeze beautifully!


Black-eyed Beans Waffles or Muffins

12 oz. package Johnsonville breakfast sausage, sliced
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups Black-eyed beans, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles

Cook sausage and onion in skillet over medium high heat until sausage is browned and onion is translucent. Drain on paper towel.
Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in large bowl. Stir together eggs, buttermilk and oil until combined. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add sausage mixture, cheddar cheese, black-eyed beans and chiles. Mix well.

For waffles:

Preheat your waffle maker. Spray with non stick spray. Place a little over a
cup of mixture in the waffle maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
For muffins:
Spray muffin pan or use paper liners. Fill tins a little over 1/2 full. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.