Recipe: A French Influenced Cabbage and Kidney Bean Bake

Isn’t it great when something old seems new again?

Maybe it’s an old shirt you find in the back of your closet that you’d forgotten about and re-discover with delight.

Maybe it’s a hobby that had been set aside when life got busy but now feels like the perfect thing to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Maybe it’s a bean.  More precisely, maybe it’s kidney beans.

Plated - edited

It’s no secret that I love beans and I generally find kidney beans to be my go-to favorite.  They’re accessible, adaptable, and appetizing, for sure, but I’ll admit that I often combine them with the same sorts of flavors in the same sorts of ways.  This means that while I always enjoy them, they tend to sort of taste the same each time.

And then this dish happened and my expectation of how kidney beans could be prepared was completely turned upside down.

Filling - edited

Instead of my traditional kidney bean thinking, which generally means pairing them with the flavors of Mexico, the Southwest, or sometimes, India, this dish paired the beans up with flavors more reminiscent of Europe, likely France.

Who knew??

I fell in love with this dish and with kidney beans all over again.  An old friend, feeling like a new discovery.

Note:  I loved this just as is described below and found the flavors of the marjoram, Dijon, and parsley to be flavorful, bright, and absolutely tantalizing.  Mr. Move Eat Create, however, felt the dish really came to life for him when he drizzled a bit of white vinegar over his portion and mixed it in, adding a bit of bite to the overall flavor.  Perhaps you could try a bit both ways and see for yourself.

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A French Influenced Cabbage & Kidney Bean Bake Cooked in skillet 2 - edited

Adapted a bit from Wheat Free Meat Free

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  •  ¾ cup gluten free bread crumbs (about 2 slices of gluten free bread chopped in food processor if making from scratch) OR you can sub  corn meal if bread crumbs aren’t available
  • 1 tblspn nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tspn cayenne pepper
  • ½ tblspn olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 smallish head of green cabbage, sliced thinly (about 5 cups shredded)
  • 2 small red peppers (I used cherry bomb peppers) plus 1 medium green pepper ( I used Anaheim) OR sub for 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 2 15oz cans of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tblspn fresh marjoram, diced
  • ½ tspn dried parsley
  • ¼ tspn black pepper
  • 2 tblspns Earth Balance
  • 2 tblspns gluten free flour
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tblspns Dijon mustard
  • white vinegar, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. If making bread crumb from scratch, go ahead and chop those in your food processor.  Combine fresh or store bought bread crumbs (or cornmeal) with nutritional yeast and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.
  3. Warm a cast iron skillet or other large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add oil.  When warm, add onion and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown and lightly caramelize.
  4. Next add the cabbage, peppers and salt.  Cook, stirring often, for about 7 minutes, until the cabbage has cooked down and softened.
  5. Add beans, marjoram, parsley, and black pepper and stir well so that all elements are combined.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. To make the sauce, melt the Earth Balance in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour to the melted butter and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to brown and become smooth.
  7. Add the vegetable broth and mustard to the sauce and cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring frequently until the sauce is smooth and well combined.
  8. If you were using a cast iron skillet that you can bake your dish in, great!  If not, transfer bean and veggie mixture to an oven-safe dish (coated lightly with cooking spray).  Pour sauce over beans and vegetables and mix in so that everything is coated.  Pat down with the back of your spoon and then sprinkle your bread crumb mixture evenly over the top of the dish.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.  Optional: serve with vinegar over individual portions

Why Wednesdays? – Why I Eat . . . Plants! – #3

A Note About This Feature:  Why Wednesdays is a Move Eat Create weekly feature determined to turn the mid-week doldrums upside down and celebrate things I love to do and blog about.  Currently, the focus is on food, cooking, and eating.

 

In 2012, I became a vegetarian.  Before some of you read that and hurriedly click off to another page, worried that I am here to convert you, let me preface this post by saying that I am not going to tell you why you,too, should become a vegetarian or why you should not eat meat or anything like that.  I’m simply going to talk about plants – why I eat them and why, just maybe, you should, too (even if you eat meat, also!).

I can’t even count the number of times in my life that I said something like, “I would love to be a vegetarian, but I just don’t think I could do it.  I just couldn’t give up [insert various meaty food here].”  The reality is that I just wasn’t ready.  Not only did I not have the proper incentive or motivation to do so until recently, but I didn’t have the creativity and adventurousness with food, either.  As I started to change my eating habits to follow a much healthier lifestyle, I started to naturally eat less meat, mainly because I wanted to eat more plants.  I took very, very small steps at first.  I traded quarter-pounders for turkey subs and eventually all veggie ones.  I started beginning each lunch and dinner with a bowl full of salad.  Homemade pizzas were topped with plenty of peppers, onions, and tomato slices, rather than pepperoni.  I added a piece of fruit to every breakfast and lunch that I ate.  And so along I went, making small shifts here and there.

Vegetable Starters

Before I knew it, meat was starting to comprise an increasingly small amount of my daily food intake and fruits and veggies were piling up on my plates.   This was coinciding nicely with my increased activity levels, extra energy, loss of excess weight, less instances of colds, allergies, and other ills, and overall increase in general good vibes.  And, once that ball got rolling, it was hard to stop.  Who needs chicken burritos when I can make delicious bean and zucchini ones?!  Why take up room in my belly with fatty bacon when I can have a delicious, fresh, ripe bowl of fruit?!  Some may scoff, but few flavors can match the pure deliciousness of a nicely ripened piece of fruit.

Plus, I should note that I have had a roommate this whole time who happens to be vegetarian.  Sometimes I wanted to ensure I made a meal everyone could have, so meat got left out and vegetables took its place.  Other times, I had a meat-centric dish, but was intrigued by what my friend was eating and wanted to give it a try.  My surprise at how many delicious preparations there were for vegetables (and grains and legumes) was constant.

Over time, I craved plants.  Roasted carrots, please!  Minestrone soup? Yes and thank you!  Aloo gobi (Indian cauliflower and potatoes)?  Oh goodness, I will take seconds!  And, please do not even think about having me go a day without a big, green, leafy salad.  Perish the thought!

I was starting to adore plants.  Then one day, I realized I hadn’t touched a piece of meat in a couple of months.  Just like that, I was done with it.  It had become that easy.  And it felt wonderful, because when I used to say “I would love to be a vegetarian, but . . . “ I had actually meant that first part.  In order to eat a hamburger, I often had to actively work to shut out the reality of what it was.  Finally, my behaviors matched my values and intentions.  I love it when that happens!

Carrots

Now, further helping me along this path was the incredible amount of learning I did about the health benefits of plants.  Seriously.  Many of you probably have no idea – I sure didn’t.  I mean, we all know on some level that fruits and vegetables are good for us, but huge amounts of information about the extent of this hangs out in the dark corners of the library, the deepest of web page domains, and the highest numbers on the television dial.  This information just doesn’t get shared widely.  If you’re not seeking it out, you won’t ever learn most of it.

Case in point:  The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.  This book changed my life.  I mean really, truly changed my life.  It’s not a book about one small research project or a ‘miracle diet’ or anything of that sort.  It is a well-explained, meticulously documented summary of years and years of expansive research on the benefits of plant-based diets.  The information in it is invaluable and I cannot recommend this book enough.  When I was reading it, I must have bugged Mr. Move Eat Create about fifty times with the phrases “Did you know?” and “I had no idea!” and “Why are we not taught this in school or by our doctors?”

That last one is critically important and is worthy of a blog post in its own right.  Why aren’t we taught this in school or by our doctors?  Why don’t doctors ask about our daily habits?  Why don’t we learn in school about the correlations between plant-heavy diets and longer life spans, less heart disease, less diabetes, LESS CANCER?  Yes, cancer –  that horrible, nasty disease that we just seem to accept as inevitable to us all.

I eat plants for a number of reasons these days.  I feel better.  I get sick less often.  I have more energy.  My blood pressure has lowered.  I reduce negative environmental impacts of food production.  They TASTE GOOD.  I’ve mentioned before another blog/website that I love: No Meat Athlete.  Well, Matt Frazier over at that blog has a catchphrase:  Runs on Plants.

That’s me these days.  I’m Shannon and I run on plants.

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Previous Entries in This Series:

#2 – Why I Eat . . . With Reverence

#1 –   Why I Eat  . . . Thoughtfully