Plant-Based Dinner: Kale and Pan-Fried White Beans

I was at my friend's house this weekend and he has the most magnificent garden.  He's growing pumpkins, squash, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, kale and many other things I've no doubt left out.  (Not to mention a vineyard as well!)  He has had so much kale this season that he's always in the market for a new recipe.  I wanted to share with him one of my favorite kale recipes and what better time than during plant-based food week(s) here on the blog?    

Kale and Pan-Fried White Beans with Lemon and Nutmeg anyone? 

Mmmk.  Here's what you need: 

2 cans of white beans rinsed and drained (or use dried beans that you soak and prepare yourself)
2/3 cup of lightly toasted walnuts
Zest of 2 lemons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 bunches of kale, stemmed and finely chopped (I use 1 bunch if I get it from the farmer's market since the bunches tend to be larger or 2 bunches if I get it from the grocery store, which sells more measly bunches).

Oh yeah...and the most important ingredient is the laptop computer with the recipe, which is originally from 101 Cookbooks, a great natural food blog that I've come to depend on and that I've referenced here and here.

I doubled the original recipe so that we could have leftovers, left out the cheese and substituted canned white beans for dried corona beans for the sake of time and ease.  The recipe I've laid out above will give you 4 servings.   

After all of your ingredients are prepped, finish it off by doing the following: 

  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in the deepest skillet you have.  (I would recommend using a dutch oven if you have one, which will make it easier to keep the kale in the pan).  
  2. Add the beans and stir to coat.  Cook them for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. 
  3. Add the kale and salt to the pan and cook for about a minute, until the kale just starts to wilt. 
  4. Stir in the walnuts and garlic.   
  5. Stir in the nutmeg. 
  6. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. 
That's it.  It's on the stove top for less than 10 minutes and you are left with a warm, home cooked, hearty bowl of healthy deliciousness. 

(Note:  the reason my beans are not that golden crispy brown that you would be going for in this recipe is because I was really hungry the day I made this and was too impatient to wait the allotted time for browning.  Just as good though in case you find yourself in a similarly dire circumstance).   

I hope you try the recipe and love it!  I'm confident it will be a staple for all you kale loving fools. 


Vegan Breakfast: Almond, Coconut, Banana Pancakes

I probably can't call these pancakes plant-based since they lack plants for the most part, but at least they're all natural and vegan.

And the best part:  they are absolutely delicious.  I gotta admit, when I first made them, neither Alessandro nor I had high hopes.  I had just recently made a whole wheat pancake mix and it was pretty hard to eat.  So we were kind of thinking that pancakes would just be one thing we couldn't eat (in good conscience).  

That is until I ran across this recipe for coconut and almond crusted banana pancakes.  Yum!  Had to give it a try. 

First, I needed to gather ingredients: 

1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup almond meal (found it at Rocky's in Eastern Market, but could probably find it the bulk foods section of a whole foods market; or you could make your own).
1/4 cup shredded coconut (original recipe says unsweetened, but I only had sweetened, so went with that)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

1 very ripe banana
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of soy milk (original recipe says almond milk, but we don't drink that, so I used soy)
1/3 cup of light coconut milk
1 tsp of pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil or earth balance butter for greasing the skillet. 
For the crust:
1/4 of finely chopped almonds
1/4 cup of shredded coconut

In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.  In a blender, blend the wet ingredients until smooth.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is combined.  Grease your favorite pancake making skillet with a small amount of olive oil or earth balance.  Pour the mixture onto the pan.  Sprinkle a bit of the almond and coconut crust mixture onto the tops of the pancakes.  Cook for 2-3 minutes and flip.  Cook for 2-3 more minutes and flip.  Serve garnished with banana slices and warm maple syrup.  

Disclaimer!  Both times I have made these, they turned out looking nothing like how they look on the creator's website.   And that's okay.  They were just as delicious.  In full disclosure here...the first time I made these bad boys, they not only didn't look like they should look, but they barely looked edible.  

Seriously, that's what I was working with.  But, to our credit, we tried them and they were really good.  So good that I gave them another shot.  The second time around, I actually used a bit of earth balance, which I tried to skip the first time.  And I also cut back on the amount of crust topping I added to the pancakes.  As you can tell from the above pic, too much crust + no oil or butter = burnt crust topping.  So, I would recommend not skipping the greasing of the pan so that your pancakes can get a nice golden tan, and to use less topping so that it won't burn and so that the awesome flavor and fluffy texture of the pancake can be the star. 

I served these with crispy fried potatoes and onions and black coffee one Sunday morning.  It was our idea of a good time.