Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Country Lima Beans

Sure, you could just buy frozen packaged lima beans at the grocery store, but there's something infinitely more satisfying about doing it the old-fashioned way.

Buy 1/2 pound (1 cup) dried lima beans, and place in a bowl covered with water to two inches above the beans. Let stand for 8 hours. (It's kinda like the grown up version of watching sponge toys expand in the bathtub!) Drain the beans, then place in an 8x8 glass baking dish. Sprinkle with a dash of black pepper and a 1/4 tsp salt.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Add one and a half slices of chopped 'bacon'.

Wait, what? Bacon? you ask. Yes! Dear reader, having become a vegetarian at the age of thirteen for purely ethical, animal-rights reasons, I never understood the allure of fake meats. Being a vegetarian was supposed to be a sacrifice of sorts, solidarity with the animals for their suffering, as well as a personal renunciation for those who could not speak for themselves. Besides which, the lingering fear lurked in my mind that, should I eat one of these imitation meats, I would, well, miss the real thing.

It was not until last summer, eleven years into vegetarianism (and five into veganism), that I wanted to make a potato salad recipe that called for one slice of crumbled bacon. What harm, I decided, after all these years, to finally try the vegan bacon lurking near the tofu in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. These little slices of mostly soy protein do look, disturbingly, like the real thing, and when heated in a skillet (it only takes 3 minutes to cook them), they give off a very bacon smell and a very bacon sounding sizzle (at least to a vegan). And yet it had so many years since I ate the real thing that I wasn't disturbed by it! Although I minimize my 'bacon' consumption (i.e. eating the leftovers of a package if I need to buy it for a recipe), it is a nice addition to the vegan diet every once in a while. And gosh, it goes without saying that even if you're not an animal rights activist, this is healthier for you than the real thing! Buy yours from Lightlife here:
http://www.lightlife.com/product_detail.jsp?p=smartbacon (The bacon is certified vegan, but careful; not all of their products are; some have eggs.)

So anyway, heat your chopped 'bacon' for three minutes until lightly crisped. Remove it from the pan and set aside. Add 1/2 cup chopped carrot and 1/2 cup chopped onion to the pan and saute for five minutes.

Add the onion mixture, the 'bacon', one cup of water and one tablespoon of butter substitute, softened (i.e. Earth Balance: http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html#p2). Stir gently to combine.

Cover the dish, and bake at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, stirring at the one hour mark and the two hour mark.

Each hearty, one-cup serving contains 250 calories (4 servings total).

lima beans $0.97
smart bacon $2.69
carrot $0.42

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
  • Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html