Tag Archives: budget friendly

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


Featured Chef Ari Weiswasser of Glen Ellen Star


Chef Ari Weiswasser and his wife Erinn Benzinger-Weiswasser opened their restaurant Glenn Ellen Star in the small town of Glen Ellen nestled in the Sonoma Valley wine region of California. Ari has worked at the New York Restaurant Daniel, Picholine and Paul Liebrandt’s restaurant Corton, where he served as Chef de Cuisine. After moving to California, Ari worked at The French Laundry restaurant in Yountville before opening his establishment. Inspired by local, seasonal ingredients, Chef Ari marries California ingredients with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. Glen Ellen Star resembles a quaint farmhouse that invokes the rural and rustic feeling of the California wine country. This charming restaurant has an inviting, neighborhood-friendly feel that consistently exceeds expectations. Food & Wine magazine named Ari it’s 2015 “The Peoples Best New Chef” for California.

Glen Ellen Star is open for dinner Sunday – Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

What type of dry beans do you use in the restaurant?
We use dried beans from Rancho Gordo and Iocopi Farms.

Why do you prefer dry beans?
Bean quality cost, flexibility, etc. They lend great flavor and we can capitalize on those flavors once the beans may not be the best of the season.

How do you use dry beans?
Soups, salads, main dishes, etc. We feature them prominently in many of our dishes.

How did you become a chef?
I worked in restaurants growing up and then went to college to study business. However, I made the change to attend culinary school following graduation to fulfill a life long dream of becoming a chef.

Culinary school or apprentice?
Culinary School – Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY

What do you love about cooking?
I love going to the farmer’s market to see what’s the best of the season and being able to use it on my menu that night.

What is your favorite recipe that is made using dry beans?
I make a BBQ Baked Bean dish featuring delicious pinto beans from Rancho Gordo to accompany the BBQ and smoked meats from our catering trailer. (see recipe below)

Make sure to follow Glen Ellen Star on Social Media!

Website: http://glenellenstar.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glenellenstar
Twitter: https://twitter.com/glenellenstar
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/glenellenstar/


BBQ Baked Beans
Chef Ari Weiswasser
Glen Ellen Star


  • 400g Bacon Diced, Rendered
  • 2 Onion Diced, Sweat
  • 700g Beans, Add To Above
  • 1 liter Chicken Stock
  • 1 liter Water
  • 75g Molasses
  • 20g Salt
  • 5g Pepper
  • 10g Coleman’s Mustard Powder
  • 200g Ketchup
  • 75g Worchestershire
  • 60g Brown Sugar


Soak beans overnight
Render bacon, set aside
Sweat onions, set aside
Add beans, chicken stock, water, bacon and onions and bring to up to a simmer.
Combine remaining ingredients and bake for 4 hours at 325 degrees or in a slow cooker.

Cooking tip from Chef Ari:
Add a pinch baking soda while cooking. Canneries use it to help keep the beans from bursting during the cooking process.











Fish and Beans: A Great Combination

featured photo

Have you ever tried serving beans with fish? It’s an amazing combination, and one that a lot of people don’t usually think about.

I made cod and chorizo with white beans and potato puree recently. I was trying to think of a way to use the leftover bean and potato puree after making this recipe, so I cooked more chorizo and mixed it into the puree and it was scrumptious! Who says leftovers aren’t great?

chorizo bowl

Leftover chorizo and white bean potato puree

Cod with Chorizo and White Bean Potato Puree

Serves 4

4 cod fillets, approximately 5 ounces each
1 Basque chorizo, diced (do not use the Mexican-style chorizo)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 pearl onions, sliced

Ingredients for puree
3 cups cooked navy beans
3 small potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Salt and white pepper to taste

Ingredients for sauce
1 cup chicken stock
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
8 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for sauce
Reduce chicken stock to about 1/4 cup in a saucepan, then whisk in vinegar and butter, a few tablespoons at a time. Season and reserve sauce. (Keep warm).

Directions for puree

  • Puree cooked beans.
  • Place beans and potatoes in a mixer and mix.potatobeanmash
  • Gradually stir in cream, vinegar, and butter. Fold in chives, salt, and pepper. (Keep warm)

Directions for the cod and chorizo

  • Cook the chorizo and pearl onions in a skillet with a little olive oil. Keep warm. chorizo&Onions
  • Season cod with a little salt and pepper.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
  • Cook cod until done.
  • Place puree on serving plate and center cod fillet on puree. Spoon chorizo mixture on top of cod and spoon sauce on top of the chorizo.cod1
  • Enjoy!

Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Salad


Southwestern Black Bean, Quinoa and Mango Salad

Recipe courtesy of our Featured Dietitian Sharon Palmer, RDN
The jewel-like black beans shine in this crunchy, zesty salad. Serve it
with corn tortillas and vegetable soup for an easy, refreshing meal.

1 – 15 oz can black beans, no salt added, rinsed, drained
1 cup cooked quinoa (according to package directions)
1 cup frozen corn
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh mango
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 2 tsp dried if not available)
1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric


  1. Mix beans, quinoa, corn, pepper, mango, onion, cilantro and jalapeno together in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili
    powder and turmeric together.
  3. Toss into salad mixture and chill until
    serving time.

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each)

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories: 201
Fat: 5 g
Sat Fat: 1 g
Sodium: 9 mg
Carbohydrate: 36 g
Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 8 g

Recipe from The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for
Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today, copyright © Sharon Palmer,
2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment.

Featured Dietitian Jessica Fishman Levinson


Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered and New York State-certified dietitian nutritionist and the founder of Nutritioulicious, a New York-based nutrition communications and consulting business with a focus on culinary nutrition. Jessica has extensive experience as a recipe developer, writer, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities (Barron’s, 2011). Jessica is also the Culinary Corner columnist for Today’s Dietitian Magazine, and maintains the popular Nutritioulicious blog.

Jessica has been featured as a nutrition expert on television and radio outlets, including NBC, Fox 5, and NY1, in national magazines like Prevention, Glamour, Fitness, and Woman’s Day, and on numerous health and lifestyle websites. Jessica has an MS in Nutrition and Dietetics and a BA in Psychology, both from New York University. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and various Dietetic Practice Groups of the AND, including Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Dietitians in Business and Communications, and Food and Culinary Professionals. In addition to her professional work, Jessica enjoys all things related to food and wine and spending time with her husband and twin daughters.

Make sure to follow Jessica on all her social media sites!
Facebook: Nutritioulicious
Twitter: @JlevinsonRD
Instagram: @JlevinsonRD
Pinterest: @JlevinsonRD
Blog: http://www.nutritioulicious.com/blog
Website: http://www.nutritioulicious.com


Why do you encourage patients to incorporate dry beans into their diet?
Because they are nutrient-rich, delicious, cost-effective, and can be used in so many ways in the kitchen!

What is your personal favorite bean to eat and why?
Chickpeas because there are so many amazing culinary uses for them that span every meal of the day, snacks included!

Please provide your top 3 nutritional insights about beans, explaining why people should eat them.
Rich in fiber, which is a nutrient of concern, as most people don’t get enough in their diet. Helps keep blood sugar levels stable and adds to the satiety factor of meals; High in folate, a B vitamin that’s important for reproductive, nervous system, and cardiovascular health; beans are a good source of lean vegetarian protein, which is important for maintaining lean muscle mass and satiety at meals.

Please share your favorite bean recipe and explain why it is your favorite recipe.
This is a hard one – I have so many! One of my favorites is my Sweet Potato Black Bean QuesadillaI. I love it because it’s full of flavor, full of nutrition, and a recipe my whole family loves -including my 4 year old twin girls!



Homemade Bean Flour Your New Best Friend!


I have to admit I am still intimidated by bean flour. Using it is a new experience for me. Since 2016 is the International Year of the Pulse, I thought I would try my hand at experimenting with making homemade bean flour and baking with it.

Do you have old dried beans in your pantry and don’t want to throw them out but aren’t quite sure how to use them? Make some homemade bean flour! The dried beans don’t have to be old to make flour, it’s just a great way to use them! We will be on this journey together as I experiment with different types of beans and share how I’m using the flour I make. After all, cooking with bean flour is an easy way to add protein and nutrients to any dish. Not to mention gluten free!

I used two different blenders to make the flours. I recently purchased a Vitamix and am still learning all the ways it can pay for itself in my kitchen. It is a significant expense, but this thing is amazing! One thing you have to know when you use a blender to make bean flour: do not run it until the beans are finely ground. You do not want it to overheat! Run it for a minute, then let it rest.

bean flourNotice the difference in the different types of bean flour and the wheat flour for comparison.

IMG_4877Black Bean Flour

IMG_4876Pinto Bean Flour

IMG_4875Lima Bean Flour

IMG_4874Navy Bean Flour

IMG_4873Garbanzo Bean Flour

I found that if you run garbanzo beans on the lowest setting or just pulse them (no pun intended) they just bop around and are hard to grind. If you pulse them at the highest setting and then run the blender at the highest setting for a minute, let the machine cool, then repeat, you will get a fine flour. I used an Oster blender for the Lima beans and they pulverized quickly. I’m not sure how to use the Lima bean flour yet, except for maybe thickening soups and stews. If any of you have any experience with Lima bean flour, please let me know!

Here’s what I learned while experimenting:

These are approximate measurements.

1 cup of whole dried pintos = 1 cup flour
1 cup of whole dried garbanzos = 2 cups flour
1 cup of whole dried black beans = 1 1/3 cups flour
1 cup of whole dried navy beans = 1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup of whole dried lima beans = 1 cup flour

Experiment on your own with blenders or wheat grinders. Let me know what works best.

I tried three different recipes using three different flours. I used straight Lima bean flour to make biscuits … BIG mistake! If any of you need a hockey puck (or 12), let me know.

hockeypuckHockey pucks!

I used the black bean flour to make a bean dip based on a recipe from the Bob’s Red Mill website. I adapted it and added sour cream and a little lime juice, and it’s quite tasty!

The third recipe, garbanzo bean flour, was used to make Farinata Genovese. This dish turned out great! It’s a flatbread that you cook in a cast iron skillet in the oven. The batter has to sit for between 1-12 hours. I am impatient, so it was just 1 hour. I’ll have to try it again after it sits for 12 hours to see if time makes a difference.

beandipBlack Bean DIp

Black Bean Dip
Adapted from Bob’s Red Mill


3/4 cup black bean flour
1/4 tsp cumin (you might want to use less)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tbsp sour cream


  1. Boil the water in a saucepan on medium heat.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients. Whisk dry ingredients into the water. Stir 1 minute cooking over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover saucepan and cook and cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should have the consistency of pudding. If it doesn’t, cook longer.
  4. Cool a bit before adding the salsa, sour cream, and lime juice.

farinata2Farinata Genovese

Farinata Genovese
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s book The Best Recipes in the World


1 cup garbanzo (chickpea) flour
1 3/4 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Fresh rosemary leaves


  1. Sift the 1 cup of garbanzo flour into a bowl; add salt and pepper. Slowly add the water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover and let sit for 1 to 12 hours. The batter will thicken and should be the consistency of heavy cream.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a 10-inch skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into the heated pan and swirl to cover pan completely. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion and let it cook for one minute. Pour the batter into the skillet and sprinkle the top with rosemary leaves. (Use your judgement. If you like the taste of rosemary, add more; if not, use less.)
  3. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top and bake for 20-30 minutes or until it is no longer custardy in the middle and the edges are set. Turn on broiler and broil top until it takes on a golden brown color.
  4. Allow the Farinata to set for a few minutes and then carefully remove from pan to a cutting board using two spatulas. Allow to cool briefly. Best served warm but is good cold.

I would love for you to comment on how you use bean flour in your cooking and baking! Or take a photo of your flour and tag @californiabeans on Instagram.


















Meet our Featured Dietitian Heather Mason!


Heather Mason is a Registered Dietitian who holds a Masters Degree in Nutritional Science. She currently works at Sierra Vista Medical Clinic in Simi Valley, California, where she counsels adults and children with diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. She has a passion for blogging and delivering her healthy eating messages in a fun and humorous way. Her hobbies include baking and cooking, snowboarding, and any outdoor activities. She is also an avid group exerciser and loves teaching Zumba fitness classes.   You can read more posts from her on her blog, Nutty Nutrition and Fitness.


Why do you encourage patients to incorporate dry beans into their diet?

Beans are a great source of protein and fiber and they are delicious!

What is your personal favorite bean to eat and why?

Pinto beans in tacos!

Please share your favorite bean recipe and explain why it is your favorite recipe.

I eat some version of vegetarian tacos with beans at least once a week.

Please provide your top 3 nutritional insights about beans, explaining why people should eat them.

Beans are one of the best ways to get fiber into your diet; ½ cup serving has 5-6 grams of fiber.

Beans are a great source of protein.

Beans are vegetarian friendly and taste great!

You can follow Heather on Social Media.

Facebook:The Nutty Nutritionist


Instagram: @nuttyRD

Pinterest:Nutty Nutritionist Heather Mason

Blog: http://www.nuttynutritionandfitness.com


Mominate your favorite mommy blogger!


We’ve teamed up with EZ Bean to give away two EZ Bean Cookers (value $109.98) and two $100 Amazon gift cards!

All you have to do is “mominate” your favorite mommy blogger for a chance for each of you to win a bean cooker and $100 Amazon gift card. To enter the contest just like our page, tell us who your favorite mommy blogger is, and enter your contact info. That’s it!

Love to eat beans, but hate the soaking and cooking times? The EZ Bean cooker make it effortless to cook dry beans in a short amount of time.

The EZ Bean Cooker takes all of the guesswork out of cooking beans. Traditional cooking methods usually require hours of soaking and then hours of cooking on the stove or in a slow cooker; with the EZ Bean Cooker, beans can be ready in minutes with no pre-planning necessary.

In addition to saving time, you’ll also save energy and money. Instead of a stove or slow cooker running for hours, the EZ Bean Cooker usually cooks beans in about an hour or less, with no presoaking required.

Dry beans are of great nutritional value, but traditional cooking methods are time consuming and require people to plan ahead. The EZ Bean Cooker is so easy to use that someone who has never cooked dry beans before can prepare a perfect batch of beans. It’s as easy as adding ingredients, pushing a couple of buttons, and walking away. There is absolutely no soaking required. The buzzer will sound when the beans are ready; for most varieties, that’s an hour or so. There is even a button with the bean varieties on them so all the guesswork is done for you!

Make sure to enter this contest to mominate your favorite mommy blogger and you to can be on your way to making beans the easy way!