GREEN & BLACK OLIVE BEAN DIP

½ cup pitted black and green olives
¼ cup sundried tomatoes
½ cup water
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1.5 cups home cooked beans)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped scallions


Place the olives, sundried tomatoes and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the olives, sundried tomatoes and their cooking water into the bowl of a food processor. Add the cannellini beans, garlic and vinegar and pulse until very smooth. With the motor still running, pour in the olive oil and process until fully incorporated. Taste and season with pepper. Transfer the puree to a serving bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Garnish with chopped scallions. Enjoy with bread, chips or vegetables.

FLOURLESS BLACK BEAN BROWNIES

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1/3 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the black beans, cocoa powder, eggs, butter, vanilla, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until puréed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the brownie until a toothpick comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Serves 6 to 8

Adapted from wholefoodsmarket.com

CHICKPEA & COUSCOUS SALAD

For the chickpeas
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup finely diced celery (about 2 stalks)
1/2 cup sliced green olives
1/2 cup golden raisins
15 basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup cubed feta cheese (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the couscous
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup instant whole grain couscous


Prepare the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, and mustard in a large bowl.

Add the chickpeas, celery, olives, raisins, basil, feta (if using), cumin, salt, and pepper to the dressing. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate.

Bring water to a boil. Stir in the salt, oil, and couscous. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Mix the couscous into the salad. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Serves 4

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SPICY CHICKPEAS IN TOMATO SAUCE

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large tomato, peeled and diced

1 medium yellow onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon harissa, Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce

1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup water

Finely chopped cilantro, for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the tomato, onion and garlic. Saute until withered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, salt, pepper, cumin, mustard powder, chili and harissa. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the chickpeas and water and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook on low heat for 10 to 20 minutes.

Serve hot.

Serves 4 as a side and 2 as a main dish.

FALAFELS WITH CUCUMBER YOGURT SAUCE

For the falafels

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

30 sprigs fresh cilantro

1 small onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

5 tablespoons cornstarch (or wheat flour)

½ cup cornmeal

1 cup vegetable or canola oil, for frying

For the cucumber yogurt sauce

½ cup peeled and chopped cucumbers

5 ounces plain yogurt

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Place the chickpeas, cilantro, onion, and garlic in a food processor and process until reduced to a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne and flour until well blended.

Heat the oil until very hot. Place the cornmeal in a shallow dish. Shape the mixture into patties and dredge them into the cornmeal. Fry the patties until golden brown and crispy, 2 to 4 minutes per side.

Process the cucumbers, yogurt, salt and pepper in a food processor until puréed. If you prefer a more unctuous sauce, mix in a teaspoon of olive oil or mayonnaise.

Serve the falafels hot alongside the cucumber yogurt sauce, some pita bread and tomato slices.

Makes about 8 falafels

NAVY BEAN STEW

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white part only, minced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
3 cups precooked navy or cannellini beans, drained *


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium pot. Add the leek, garlic, salt, chili powder, onion powder, cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Saute until the leeks are wilted, 5 minutes. Add the stock and bay leaves and bring to a gentle boil.

Add the cooked beans. Cover and simmer over low heat 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the liquid is reduced and the beans are soft and buttery.

Serve warm with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs.

*To cook the beans, first pre-soak them for several hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. Place them in a pot with enough water to cover them by two to three inches. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for one to hours until cooked.

Serves 4 to 6