Ricotta and Spinach Frittata; Black Bean, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

By Ira,

This frittata is very creamy and easy to make. You first cook the onion, then add spinach, pour the eggs on top, add the ricotta in dollops and finish cooking it in the oven. You can put together the salad while the frittata is cooking.

Ricotta and Spinach Frittata 

Serves 4 – adapted from Clean Eating magazine

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, grapeseed oil, or coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag baby spinach (about 4 cups)
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set it aside.

In a 10-inch nonstick oven proof skillet over medium heat, add the oil, then the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes.

Add the garlic, and stir for 30 seconds.

Add the spinach in batches, and stir until each batch wilts down. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the spinach and onion mixture evenly across the skillet,

then pour the egg mixture evenly on top.

Add the ricotta in tablespoon dollops across the frittata. Let it set on the bottom for about 3 minutes, then transfer it to the oven and

cook for about 8 to 12 minutes or until eggs are firm.

Black Bean, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, or 2 small ones, diced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients together and stir gently. Taste for salt and add accordingly.

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Black Bean and Corn Pizza

By Ira,

This is a very easy weeknight meal. You can use store bought salsa and top it with the beans and corn, and while the pizza is cooking, you can quickly mix the salad.

Serves 4-6 – Adapted from Eating Well

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh (about 2 ears) or frozen corn kernels
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pound prepared or store-bought pizza dough
  • 1/2 – 1 cup shredded or torn mozzarella
  • salt and pepper

Salad

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, diced
  • Rest of the canned black beans
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450F.

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, corn, green onions, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Stretch out the dough to a round or a rectangle.

Spread the salsa on top. Depending on the thickness of the salsa you have, you can use 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup.

Spread the black bean mixture on top,

followed by the mozzarella.

Place in the oven and cook for 6-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad by mixing all the ingredients together.

Black Bean, Corn and Zucchini Enchiladas, with a Romaine, Cilantro and Avocado Salad

by Jennifer

I think this recipe came from Cooking Light (I adapted the sauce a bit), but wherever it came from, it’s great.  Like Mexican-style comfort food great.  You need to make the Enchilada Sauce first, either right before, earlier in the day, or even the night before.  Serves 4 – 6.

Enchilada Sauce:

  • 1 TBS neutral oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 26 – 28 oz. tomato puree or sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Enchiladas:

  • 1 TBS neutral oil (grapeseed again)
  • 1 medium – large zucchini, finely chopped
  • 10 oz. package frozen corn
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 8-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • 8 oz. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat;  add zucchini and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in black beans.

Coat a 13 x 9” pan with cooking spray, then spread 1 cup of Enchilada Sauce over bottom of pan.

Take a tortilla, arrange 1/2 cup filling down the middle of the tortilla, and sprinkle with 2 TBS cheese.  Fold left side of tortilla over filling, then right side, and place seam-side down on one end of the pan.

Continue with remaining tortillas and filling until pan is filled.

Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Tent foil over pan, sealing at edges (so foil doesn’t stick to cheese),

and bake for 30 minutes.

Romaine, Cilantro and Avocado Salad – serves 4

  • 10 oz. package pre-washed romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Combine lettuce, cilantro, avocado and tomatoes in a serving bowl;  add dressing and toss to coat.

Grilled Corn, Black Bean, and Mango Salad with Avocado Pizza

by Jennifer

The salad recipe, adapted from Cooking Light (I think), is very good but spicy, so tone down or omit the chipotle chile in adobo sauce if you’re not a fan of spicy food.  The pizza recipe was passed on to me from my friend Andy.  This dinner serves 4.

Grilled Corn, Black Bean, and Mango Salad

  • 4 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
  • 1 Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 mangoes, cubed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 TBS chopped cilantro
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 7 – 8 cups salad greens

Prepare grill.  Grill corn, onion slices and red pepper for 10 minutes, flipping onions and peppers over halfway through, and rotating the corn once or twice.  Remove from grill and let cool.  Meanwhile, combine mango through chipotle chile in a large bowl.  Chop onions and peppers;  holding each corn cob perpendicular to a cutting board or bowl, cut off the kernels, adding kernels, with onions and peppers, to the bowl.

Toss well.  To serve, divide salad greens among four plates and top with corn and bean mixture.

Avocado Pizza

To make garlic oil, combine a good amount of olive oil and a few chopped garlic cloves in a small saucepan and warm over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.  Keep what you don’t use in the fridge for another pizza, garlic bread, salad dressing, or pasta.  Feel free to cook your pizza on a pizza stone in a 450 – 500 degree oven (brush with garlic oil first, then cook crust), or use a pre-baked crust (brush with garlic oil before warming).

  • 11 oz. pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
  • garlic oil
  • 2 TBS chopped jalapeno
  • 2 TBS chopped cilantro
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 avocados, thinly sliced

Prepare grill.  Combine jalapeno through pepper in a medium-size bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.  Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to about 14” across.  Place dough on a cornmeal dusted paddle and slide dough onto grill.  Cook about 3 – 4 minutes, or until it’s puffed and there are grill marks on the bottom.  Slide crust back onto paddle, flip it over so the grill marks are on top, brush with garlic oil and slide back on the grill for another 2 – 3 minutes.

Add avocado to jalapeno mixture, toss gently,

then scatter mixture over pizza crust, slice and serve.

Black Beans and Toasted Coconut Rice

by Jennifer

This black bean recipe is my brother’s, modified with actual measurements (a true cook, he creates dishes without the use of measuring cups or spoons), but still delicious.  I like to serve this with diced, roasted sweet potato, and avocado tossed with lime juice, for sprinkling on top.

Serves 4 – 6.

Black Beans

  •  1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 29-oz. can black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat;  cook onions and garlic until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Deglaze pan with the vinegar and cook for 1 minute.

Add the beans, lime juice, salt and pepper, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

Toasted Coconut Rice – adapted from Cooking Light

  •  1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 cups basmati rice (I prefer brown), rinsed
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBS chopped cilantro

Heat a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat.  Add the cardamom and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 10 – 15 seconds.

Transfer cardamom to a bowl and add the coconut to the pot, stirring, until it starts to turn golden brown.

Transfer coconut to the bowl with the cardamom.

Return the pot to heat and add the olive oil.  When it shimmers, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant.

Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Add the coconut and cardamom, the water and salt and bring to a simmer.  Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes if white rice, 35 minutes if brown.

Fluff with a fork and stir in cilantro.

Roasted Sweet Potato

  •  1 small to medium sweet potato
  • about 1 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper

While the rice and beans are cooking, preheat oven to 400.

Peel and dice the sweet potato, toss with the olive oil, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes, or until tender.

Black Bean Soup with Pimento Corn Muffins

By Jennifer 

I hate cold weather, and I live in Massachusetts where it seems to be cold most of the year, hence all the hot soups I’ve been making lately!

Serves 4 – 6, possibly with some muffins left over for lunch the next day.

Black Bean Soup

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 15.5-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Non-fat sour cream and chopped scallions, or shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, carrot, green pepper and garlic;  cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the spices (cumin through black pepper) and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Add the broth and beans and bring pot to a boil.  Lower heat to simmer and let cook for 15 minutes.

Puree the soup, using either an immersion blender or by transferring, in batches, to a blender (pouring pureed soup into a clean pot).  Serve, if you like, with non-fat sour cream and scallions, or shredded cheddar cheese, on top.

Pimento Corn Muffins – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably whole grain medium grind
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 4 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained and patted dry
  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425;  spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients (cornmeal through salt) in a large bowl.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs and buttermilk.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry, add the pimentos, and stir until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin tins.

Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the tallest muffin comes out clean.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice and Fennel-Radish Salad with Queso Fresco

By Jennifer

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice and Fennel-Radish Salad with Queso Fresco

Both of these recipes are new ones for me, and I’ll tell you, the black bean patties were delicious.  I toned them down so my kids would eat them (I’ll tell you where I changed the recipe) and my 9 year old ate more than I did…next time I’m doubling it!  Next time I’m also going to make the black bean mixture ahead and chill it for a while to make the patty step a little less smushy and sloppy.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice – adapted from Cooking Light

Pineapple Rice

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • good handful of cilantro, chopped

Cook the rice according to your rice cooker directions or the directions on the bag.

Sauteing pineapple

In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium-heat, add the pineapple and cook until it starts to brown.

Pineapple rice

Remove from heat, and when the rice is ready, toss in the pineapple and cilantro.

Black Bean Patties

  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (this was supposed to be with jalapeno peppers)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • peanut oil
  • fat-free Greek plain yogurt or sour cream

In a small food processor, blend together 1/2 cup of beans and the egg white.

Partially mashed black beans

In a bowl, partially mash the remaining black beans and stir in the cumin, salt, processed bean/egg mixture, cheese and onion.

Black bean mixture

(If possible, chill in the fridge for an hour or so.  When I made the recipe in one go, as directed, the patties were sticky and sloppy, though tasty!)

Dredging patties in cornmeal

Dredge both sides in cornmeal.  Heat 1 – 2 TBS peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and cook patties for about 4 minutes per side, or until browned.

Frying patties

Flip!

Serve on top of the rice with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top.

Fennel-Radish Salad with Queso Fresco – adapted from Mark Bittman’s Fennel-Jicama Salad recipe from the New York Times Magazine

  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 6 – 7 radishes (original recipe calls for 1/2 pound jicama, which my grocery store rarely carries)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • generous 1/2 cup of crumbled queso fresco

Chopping fennel

Trim bottom of fennel bulbs, discard outer layer if bruised, halve lengthwise, cut out the leafy heart, then cut in half crosswise and thinly slice.  Slice the radishes into half-moons.  Toss together the fennel, radishes and jalapeno.

Tossing salad

Add olive oil and lime juice and toss well.  Before serving, gently toss salad with the queso fresco.