culinary review

Beans and Lentils

This category includes recipes for Beans and Lentils, including grains and legumes like chickpeas & quinoa, and soups & spreads.

Beans and Lentils
Indian Quinoa Salad with ChickpeasSmooth Garbanzo Bean Soup
Refried Pinto Beans Easy Lentil Stew with Brown Rice
French Lentil Salad North African Lentil Soup
French Creamy Lentil Soup Lentils with Polenta

Spicy Bean, Rice & Cheese Burritos

Last Modified: 06/07/12
First Published: 06/06/12
Views: 857
Views: 857

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General Info
Servings: 8
Total Cost: $9.71
Cost Per Serving: $1.21
Total Calories: 4,885
Calories/Serving: 611
Vegetable Oil 2 Tablespoons 28.00 Grams $0.06 240
Onion, Yellow Diced (1 onion) 1 Cup 160.00 Grams $0.35 67
Bell Pepper, Red (1 pepper) 1 Cup 119.00 Grams $1.00 30
Salt, Table 3 Teaspoons 18.00 Grams $0.03 0
Garlic (4 cloves) 4 Teaspoons 11.33 Grams $0.05 17
Chili Powder 1 Tablespoon 7.50 Grams $0.49 24
Cumin, Ground 1/2 Tablespoon 3.15 Grams $0.22 12
Paprika 1 Teaspoon 2.30 Grams $0.15 7
Vermouth, Sweet, Generic 750 ml Bottle 2 Tablespoons 50.00 Grams $0.44 55
Pinto Beans, Cooked 3 Cups 720.00 Grams $1.76 618
Rice, brown, long-grain (about 3 cups cooked) 1 1/2 Cup 277.50 Grams $0.42 1,028
Cheddar Cheese (shredded) * 1.00 Pound $3.52 1,828
Tortilla, Flour, Soft (8 tortillas) * 328.00 Grams $1.20 960

These burritos taste great, are easy to prepare and are perfect to keep on hand in the freezer for simple meals. Preferably use home-cooked beans, however canned ones will do as well. If using canned, make sure to thoroughly rinse them before adding to the pot. Also, cook the rice in advance. We prefer brown rice, however white would out work as well.

To roll up a burrito properly is a bit tricky, however after you've done it a couple of times, you really get the hang of it...

8 burritos


  • oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • sweet vermouth
  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans (or other beans)
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice (or white)
  • 1 pound shredded cheddar cheese (or Monterey Jack)
  • 8 large flour tortillas
  • sourcream and salsa to serve


Start with heating up the oil and sautéing the onion and the pepper for 10 minutes or so. Add the salt to release their liquids. At this point add the garlic and the spices and continue to saute for a few more minutes. De-glace with a few splashes of sweet vermouth.

Now add the beans and the rice and let cook for about 5 minutes on low heat until everything is coming together. Taste, and possibly add a bit more salt, or even some chili powder. Also, if it's a bit on the dry side, either add a few tbsp of water or another splash of sweet vermouth.

Now assemble. Take out a piece of aluminum foil. Put a flour tortilla on it, add a scoop or two of the rice-and-bean mixture off center. Add some shredded cheese, and fold the burrito together. Start with folding in the sides, and turning the longer sides around until you have a neat little package. Wrap in aluminum foil.

Repeat the process with the rest of the burritos.

Now you can either heat these up in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes (keep the foil on), alternatively stack them in the freezer. To reheat from the freezer, place them frozen in a 350 degree oven and cook for about 40 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Middle Eastern Fried Falafel Balls

Last Modified: 05/30/12
First Published: 05/30/12
Views: 934
Views: 934

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General Info
Servings: 20
Total Cost: $7.65
Cost Per Serving: $0.38
Total Calories: 2,552
Calories/Serving: 128
Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Raw * 2.00 Pounds $3.40 2,200
Onion, Yellow Diced (1 large) 1 Cup 160.00 Grams $0.35 67
Garlic (5 cloves) 5 Teaspoons 14.17 Grams $0.06 21
Flour, White Unbleached All Purpose 6 Tablespoons 1.59 Ounces $0.05 171
Baking Soda, Generic 1 Teaspoon 4.80 Grams $0.02 0
Cumin, Ground 3 Tablespoons 18.90 Grams $1.33 72
Coriander Seed, Ground 1 Tablespoon 5.00 Grams $1.25 15
Salt, Table 4 Teaspoons 24.00 Grams $0.04 0
Black Pepper, Ground 1 Teaspoon 2.13 Grams $0.02 5
Parsley, Fresh, Chopped 2 Tablespoons 18.75 Grams $0.31 0
Oregano, Fresh, Chopped 1 Tablespoon 9.33 Grams $0.67 0
Mint, Fresh 1 Tablespoon 0.06 Ounce $0.14 1

Falafel makes a great vegetarian meal and can be served in numerous ways, such as part of a mezze table or inside a pita bread with tahini sauce. Even people who don't normally eat chickpeas can probably be swayed into eating these falafel balls because they really taste nothing like chickpeas, and they're so tasty with a bit of a crunch.

To make your own falafel is not hard at all, in fact it's rather easy and it's really fun. The quality of the falafel you can produce at home in your own kitchen is just like the one you would buy at your favorite Middle Eastern cafe, and once you make a large batch of these you can keep them on hand in the freezer. Authentic falafel is made with dried chickpeas which have been soaked, not cooked. This might seem weird at first, however it's not. The soaked chickpeas are quite easy to work with, however we do recommend you use a food processor to chop everything up.

Large batch of falafel (40 balls or so)


  • 2 pounds dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 4 tsp salt
  • pepper
  • juice of one lemon
  • half cup of chopped herbs - parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint
  • neutral oil to fry in


Run everything in the food processor in two batches, or three if you have a small one. Chop until everything is processed and comes together into a rather fine mass, but don't grind into a paste. Store everything in a bowl and combine well. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge a few hours, or over night.

Heat up two inches of oil to 370 degrees. Form falafel balls, about the size of a walnut, press them firmly with your hands to make compact balls. Fry about 8 at a time, or less if you have a small pot, for about five minutes. Make sure to turn them halfway through.

Let cool on paper towels. Make sure to let the oil come back up to temperature before frying the next batch.

Eat right away or store in the freezer. Serve with pita breads, tahini sauce, lettuce and hot sauce for a great meal.

Tip! If you store them in the freezer, we like to utilize the same technique as we usually use with beans as well as sliced breads where we first freeze the falafel on a sheet pan before storing them in a plastic bag. That way they won't stick together and you'll have an easy time taking a few out of the freezer when you want to heat some up, and not all of them!

White Bean, Tomato, Kale & Cheese Casserole with Pesto & Breadcrumbs

Last Modified: 10/01/11
First Published: 10/01/11
Views: 537
Views: 537

Real comfort food, that's the category this white bean, tomato and kale casserole would fit under. White large beans cooked in a vegetable-tomato sauce with a kick from adobo sauce, together with some nice kale and breadcrumbs and cheese, makes for a really nice dish. And to top it all off: a few dollops of nice pesto for extra flavor.

At first bite, this dish tasted rather familiar, almost like an old time favorite lasagna, even though we had never made it before. And that's a theme that really stayed with us throughout the meal. It's very satisfying and you won't even realize you're eating a vegetarian dish: it doesn't need anything, it's perfect just the way it is.

We used some queso fresco on top here which was really nice, however if you don't have that on hand, then you could just as well use mozzarella, monterey jack or even feta for more flavor! We cook our own beans and keep in the freezer, however if you're in a hurry, canned beans would do, but the taste won't be quite the same. Also, if you don't have large lima beans on hand, then you could very well use smaller white beans or chickpeas, however there is something special about those large, meaty white beans so use them if possible.

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • thyme, oregano, basil
  • splash of dry vermouth or white wine
  • 3 tbsp of adobo sauce
  • 1 28 oz can of good diced tomatoes
  • about 4 cups of cooked large white beans (such as lima)
  • about 4 stalks of kale, swiss chard or some other hearty greens
  • cheese (we used queso fresco)
  • panko breadcrumbs (or homemade)
  • about 5 tbsp of good pesto (we used basil)
  • salt & pepper

Sautee the carrot, celery and onion and some salt in the olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the the garlic cloves, dried herbs and cook for a minute longer, then add the vermouth or the wine. At this point add the canned tomatoes and the adobo sauce and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so to come together. Taste with salt and pepper, and possibly add a splash of balsamic vinegar if it needs a touch of sweetness.

Once the sauce is done, mix in the white beans and the chopped up kale. Pour everything into a baking dish and top with some cheese and a thin, even layer of breadcrumbs. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Once out of the oven, dot the dish with pesto sauce. Enjoy!