Though we still do have a few cans in the pantry for emergencies, for the most part now, I’ve only been using beans and pulses cooked from their dried form. Prepared in large batches, then frozen in small portions for use in individual recipes, I’ve found the transition a lot easier than I expected.
With thawed pulses in tow, I tried out a few more dishes from Spilling the Beans by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan.
White Bean Risotto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach and Parmesan
I loved the idea of incorporating beans into risotto, especially because our usual risotto is mushroom-based, and minus the cheese, is protein-less. As a result, we usually prepare risotto to be consumed as a side dish, instead of the main that we know it can be.
This recipe of white bean risotto is a seamless way of punching up the dish, and really, the beans end up being cloaked and almost disguised in the creamy rice.
White bean risotto with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and parmesan
I appreciated the wilted spinach, but probably could have done with three times the amount of sundried tomato (I already doubled the quantity from the original recipe). Definitely a winner we will make again!
Spaghetti with Garlic, Chickpeas and Braised Kale
Another vegetarian option we tried involved lacing spaghetti with garlic, chickpeas and braised kale. For some reason, pan-roasting the chickpeas didn’t quite work for me, and they didn’t end up with the crispy texture that the recipe intended. Other than that, the kale cooked up nicely, and the garlic flavour was prominent, as expected.
Spaghetti with garlic, chickpeas and braised kale
That said, it wasn’t the easiest dish to eat – it’s difficult to spear chickpeas on a fork already wrapped with spaghetti and kale! A smaller pasta like rotini or penne would have worked a lot better. As well, as most “sauceless” pastas go, it did not reheat well the next day.
But we’re not discouraged! I’m sure we’ll be thumbing through the book for even more inspiration in the next few weeks.