We're on a bit of a legume jaunt at Village Wholefoods at the moment. Last month I was looking to bring a touch of pizazz to the humble lentil, and the result was our Lemony Lentil Soup. This time we are taking you for a closer look at Black Turtle Beans, aka black beans.
What I've done for this recipe is bring together an aromatic tomato soup with plump and flavoursome black beans. A cosy, nutritious bowl of goodness with all the yummy add-ons that make it feel festive.
A little note about the addition of cocoa: much like unsweetened cocoa powder is used inTex-Mex dishes like chilli con carne, and traditional Mexican dishes - most famously in mole, a velvety sauce comprised of roasted chillies, spices, nuts and tomatoes, for which either cocoa powder or shavings of bitter dark chocolate can be used. I use it in this tortilla soup to bring a depth of flavour and an earthy warmth that balances the sharper elements of the dish. Try it, you won't look back!
Serve this crowd pleaser with a bounty of accompaniments so everyone can add their own toppings as desired.
150g (about a cup) dried black turtle beans, rinsed briefly under tap
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped and divided into 2 piles
4 garlic cloves - 2 left whole, 2 minced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ bunch fresh coriander - wash and finely chop the stems, then roughly chopped the leaves. Set them aside to use separately.
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp tomato paste or dried tomato powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
400 g canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 limes - 1 zested and juiced, 1 lime cut into wedges to serve
OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED GARNISHES
3 tbsp sour cream or natural yoghurt
Corn chips or tortilla chips to serve, homemade or store bought
Place beans in a large pot along with about ¼ of the chopped onion, 1 tsp salt and the 2 whole garlic cloves. Add about 2 litres of water. Cover with lid and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer gently for approx 1 hour. Check them at 15 min intervals from the 45 min mark The beans should be soft but not mushy.
Remove from heat, drain beans and set them aside. There will be bits of onion and garlic mixed in with the cooked beans - leave them with the beans, as we'll be throwing them all in the pot again shortly.
Put your pot back on the stove and set heat to medium-low. Add oil and onion, saute for about 5 mins or until translucent and soft. Add finely chopped coriander root, carrot and minced garlic, saute for 1 min. Now add cocoa, cumin, dried coriander, chilli powder and smoked paprika, saute for another minute.
Add the reserved drained turtle beans, tinned tomatoes, water, stock powder, tomato paste or powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer, replace the lid and simmer for 15 mins.
Turn off the heat. With a stick blender, roughly blend the soup (or blend it in a food processor in batches). You don't want it to be silky smooth, just partially blended.
To serve: ladle into bowls, then top with a dollop of Greek yoghurt or sour cream, a few tortilla chips, a wedge of lime and some chopped coriander.
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Serve with your favourite chilli sauce or salsa. You could even add a little chimichurri, sliced jalapeños or diced avocado.
Feel like a stew rather than a soup? Just add ½ cup quinoa at the same time as you add the tomatoes, water, cooked beans etc. You could also use rice in the same way.
Greater than the sum of its simple parts, this vegan-friendly, kid-friendly, quick as a flash to make soup may well become a staple for your midweek dinner or weekend lunch.
I use red lentils as they're quick to prepare for starters: no soaking, and they cook in just 10 minutes making them a favourite with many of our customers. Another factor in their popularity is flavour - they're milder and sweeter than other varieties of lentils, making them suitable to a broader palate.
The addition of garlic, turmeric and ginger makes this a practically weaponised bowl of goodness as we head into the colder months, while the lemon and gremolata give it an unexpected twist and a fresh, light sparkle for your taste buds.
There are a lot of mueslis on the market, and for good reason - endless personal preferences mean endless variations! But there's one preference that I don't see many brands addressing: if you don't like fruit in your morning muesli bowl, odds are you won't find something to suit you on the supermarket shelves, unless you're prepared to sell a family heirloom to support a paleo muesli habit.
See - and I know I'm not alone here- I am not a fan of fruit in muesli. Often I find that even the fruit free commercial mueslis are way too sweet. So about 7 years ago I set about making my own, and haven’t looked back.
I love the flexibility of mixing ingredients depending on how I’m feeling at the time. In more recent times, since our son got braces, we've had to pay attention to the nut content - a rogue nut can now mean a trip back to the orthodontist! Making my own muesli means I can change things up to suit changing moods and requirements. More nuts one batch, nut free the next. Changing the sweetener between honey or maple syrup. Adding a splash of vanilla extract when I'm feeling decadent, or adding more seeds when I want to feel pious.
And so finally, after 4+ years of surprisingly in-depth discussions with you, our customers, and requests for us to Please For The Love Of Breakfast Suzanne Will You Share Your Muesli Recipe, here it is. Finely tuned, curated and perfected over the years, it's ready to meet its public. My family and I hope you love it as much as we do.
When I decided to focus on TVP for this newsletter, I knew what recipe I wanted to cook with it: Vegan Bolognese.
Myself and my colleague Kellie both do a different version of vegan bolognese. Kellie uses TVP, while I use lentils and walnuts. At the risk of causing a bitter divide by choosing one recipe over the other, I experimented and discovered that a combination of both recipes was just the best darn vegan bolognese I've ever tasted.
And here it is. A really excellent, convincing, rich, hearty bolognese sauce that will be loved by vegans and carnivores alike.
Pasta salad is a crowd favourite, so we thought it high time we added one to our Village Wholefoods recipe collection. This one is a cracker.
The best thing about a Pasta salad is it's versatility. You are only limited by what's in your fridge and pantry. Feel free to use this recipe as a springboard, and make it your own!
When I created this recipe I wanted to tick all the boxes, and I think I've done that. It's a hot weather food in that it's full of crunchy, raw veg and zesty flavours. But it's also comfort food due not only to the starchy, cuddly nature of pasta itself but also the creamy dressing. I even gave it a nod to retro pasta salads of the 1970s and 80s, by adding a little sugar to the dressing. Trust me, it works!
You may notice another quirk in my recipe - there's no uniformity in the sizes I chop the different ingredients. The carrots are finely diced, the tomatoes and cucumber get a medium dicing, the olives are halved and the fresh herbs are coarsely chopped. There is a method to my madness. I like the woodier, fibrous ingredients like carrots cut in smaller pieces so their flavours more readily combine with louder, showier ones. But really, none of it matters. If you've no patience for fine-dicing carrots, go chunky and call it rustic! Or you can even use a potato peeler to make some thin carrot ribbons.
More about the dressing: I use greek yoghurt mixed with mayonnaise. I think it makes for a lighter, more 'grown up' flavour. But sometimes the mood calls for all mayo, or even sour cream. Much like the salad vegetables I included in this recipe, let your mood - and fridge - decide!