Monday, May 18, 2009

White Beans with Roasted Red Pepper and Pesto

I'm playing with my pressure cooker for the second time tonight; this recipe involves two stints under that tight-fitting lid. In general, pressure cookers make quick work of dried beans, which normally have to soak for 8 hours before you can cook them, so use your pressure cooker for any other dried bean recipes you have, too!

To begin with, however, make the pesto topping. In a food processor, combine 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (such as the vegan mozzarella block from Galaxy Foods), 2 tablespoons pine nuts (toast them first, if you like), 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper and 1 crushed garlic clove. Process until smooth, then set aside.

(Note: to crush garlic, lay on a cutting board under the flat side of a butcher's knife. Pound your fist down on the knife, flattening the clove beneath - the skin will peel right off. Coarsely chop the clove, and add to the recipe as directed).

For the beans, sort and wash 1 pound of dried Great Northern beans. Combine in a 6-quart pressure cooker with 4 cups of water. Securely close the lid, then bring to high pressure over high heat (see your manufacturer's instructions for the indication that high pressure has been reached). Reduce the heat to medium, maintaining high pressure, and cook for 3 minutes.

For the quickest way to release the pressure, run the lid under cold water. Remove the lid, and drain the beans.

Return the beans to the pressure cooker, along with 6 cups water, 1 and 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion, 1 tablespoon chopped sage, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 crushed garlic cloves. Make sure the lid is secure again, then return to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, maintaining high pressure, and cook for 12 minutes.

(A random note on the onions - normally I would use yellow onions for this recipe, but when I peeled mine, it had gone brown and, well, yucky. Rather than go out to the store at 10 pm, I used a Vidalia onion which was in my fridge, which worked fine in a pinch).

You know the drill - run the lid under cold water, and then remove the lid carefully because there will still be steam inside. Let the beans stand for 10 minutes.

Drain the bean mixture over a bowl, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Combine the bean mixture, the reserved cup of liquid, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, 1 cup of bottled roasted red bell peppers (chopped), and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.

3/4 cup of beans plus about 1 and 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of pesto is a hearty vegan entree of 300 calories - you'll have 8 servings, but I found this makes for great leftovers, too. It's even yummier if you serve with crusty bread to sop up the bowl at the end.

basil $2.99
vegan cheese $3.39
garlic $0.48
dried Great Northern beans $2.10
onion $0.41
sage $2.49
bottled roasted red bell pepper $5.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance