Tasty, Easy Bean Main Dishes
Prepared polenta provides an easy way to add variety to the dinner repertoire. I often use it sliced and sautéed as a side dish, but occasionally, it will become an intrinsic part of a recipe, as it is here, topped with a simple combination of black beans and spinach. Look for this kind of polenta in natural foods stores, as well as in supermarket Italian or gluten-free foods sections. This is also nice as a change-of-pace hot appetizer. Adapted from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. Photos by Rachael Braun. more→
Since my family loves lentils, I keep a few cans of organic canned lentils on hand to use when we want a meal with this nourishing legume in a hurry. If you prefer to cook your own, the dish will also come together in a snap if you have them cooked ahead of time. To make this dish a little fancier, try using beluga lentils. There diminutive, gleaming black lentils contrast attractively with the greens and dried tomatoes. Green or brown lentils will taste just as good, though they’re not as pretty. This is great served with Cauliflower Rice Pilaf, Quinoa with Cauliflower, Cranberries, and Nuts, or another grain dish, plus a simple salad.
With the addition of sweet potatoes, this easy chili is filling and warming. Baking or microwaving the sweet potatoes ahead of time cuts down on both the preparation as well as the cooking time. Enjoy leftovers for a thermos lunch or subsequent dinners. Serve with stone-ground whole grain tortillas — they’re great for dipping into the chili, or even for grabbing some of it, soft taco style. Or, fresh corn bread is a wonderful companion as well. Serve with a simple salad or any of VegKitchen’s coleslaws and/or a side of sautéed greens or steamed broccoli. Adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. more→
Black beans are delicious prepared with lots of garlic. This is a great accompaniment to vegan quesadillas or soft tacos that don’t themselves contain beans; it’s also a fantastic filling for soft tacos. These also go nicely with most kinds of simple meals that needs a little protein boost.
Here’s a hearty skillet dish that combines black beans, potatoes, and tortillas with lively southwestern flavors. If you have the potatoes done ahead of time, it’s a meal that can be on the table in 30 minutes. Serve with garlicky sautéed greens and a big salad. Adapted from The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.
While this bakes, you will be enchanted with the aromatic mingling of nutty coconut sauce infused with lime, ginger, and curry. It is a deeply flavorful dish that is also almost effortless in preparation. Everything comes together lickety-split and you have an exotic bean entrée to serve over rice. Recipe reprinted from Let Them Eat Vegan* by Dreena Burton (Da Capo, ©2012), by permission. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky.
This deliciously different dish of black-eyed peas and brown rice features plantains, which look like bananas and taste a bit starchier and less sweet. They’re very easy to cook. Boil them for about 5 minutes, or until the seams split open, peel, and cut into chunks. Recipe from The Oldways 4-Week Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Menu Plan, © 2014. more→
If you want to dress up a simple grain-and-bean pilaf in an instant, a good-quality, prepared tomato salsa is the answer. This is truly an emergency dinner, but a hearty and healthy one, at that! Vary the type of grain and/or bean you use each time you make this, and serve it with a simple salad or coleslaw and a steamed vegetable like broccoli, or fresh corn on the cob. Adapted from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet. more→