Category Archives: main dish

Black Bean Southwest Salad Bowl

Black Bean Southwest Salad Bowl 2Black Beans, White Beans, Red Beans, I like ’em all.  People ask me all the time how I stand to eat beans almost every day.  What can I say? I guess I am just a creative cook: Bean burgers, bean smash, bean dips, hummus, pintos and cornbread, lima beans and cabbage, read beans and rice, chickpea stir fry, and white bean chili or roasted tomato chili.  Sometimes just beans and sometimes a southwest dish like this.  A southwest salad with guacamole and sour cream (okay, not really, but read on to find out something I use that is just as good).

After studying the longest living, healthiest people in the world, I found that all of them enjoy a serving of beans every day.  We spent almost two weeks in the mountainous OGLIASTRA REGION in SARDINIA.  Met many centenarians and found that their bean of choice happens to be the fava bean(a pain to prepare) and chickpeas.  Favas are delicious with fennel and tomatoes, and of course chickpeas are wonderful in stews, soups, stir fries and spreads.  I have many recipes for those, too; however, my bean of choice today is the black bean.  It is my favorite!

I have to show you some my bean collection. I have ten canisters of assorted beans sitting on my counter top to remind me to prepare a crock pot of health every morning before work.

Beans in Cannisters

To make this salad, you will need these ingredients:

Black Bean Southwest Salad Bowl Ingredients

My sister, Kayla, inspired this salad.  She adds brown rice to hers. I prefer mine without it.  I have thought about trying quinoa, but it’s so darn delicious the way it is that I hate to try it any other way. This salad is so moist and saucy that it requires no salad dressing.  The white glob of sour cream-looking stuff is really plain Greek yogurt.  Of course, if you can stand the extra calories, go ahead with your sour cream, but I can’t tell the difference so I use yogurt. The avocados are smashed down to create my special guacamole with jalapenos. The recipe is on my blog if you’re interested in making your own.  Or, you could just buy already made quac to save time.  We do that with the Salsa.  It is from a jar.  We like the Chili’s brand, but you can make your own.  You can also save even more time if you open a can of black beans instead of dry beans.

Start with a bed of cut romaine.  I like to chop it up in bite sizes.  Grill the onions and yellow bell peppers in a skillet with olive oil.  Toss those onto the lettuce, add a spoonful of warm black beans, a dollop of Greek Yogurt, and huge dollop of guacamole and salsa. Sprinkle on a few green onions if you like.  I use the fresh tomatoes in my guacamole, but if you use store bought, I would add a few and throw in a little extra finely chopped jalapeno.  This seems too simple to be this good, but believe me, you will not leave one bit in your salad bowl.  You may even lick it clean!

Black Bean Southwest Salad Bowl

Black Bean Southwest Salad Bowl
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: Southwest
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 bowls
A delicious bowl of romaine lettuce topped with grilled onion, peppers, fresh black beans, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa.
  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce (chopped into bit sized pieces)
  • 2 cups Black beans (16 oz can)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt (or use sour cream)
  • ¾ cup of guacamole (my recipe on this blog)
  • ¾ cup of medium or mild salsa (I use Chili's from a jar)
  • ¾ cup grape tomatoes, sliced (optional if you use my guac)
  • sprinkle of green onions or cilantro (optional)
  1. Chop romaine lettuce
  2. Spread on the grilled red onion and bell pepper
  3. Add a large scoop of warm black beans.
  4. Add a spoon full of yogurt or sour cream
  5. Add a heaping spoon of guacamole (I like a lot)
  6. Add a heaping spoon of salsa (James likes a lot)
  7. Sprinkle with cilantro or green onions (optional)
  8. Enjoy


Continue reading Black Bean Southwest Salad Bowl

The Best Black Bean Burger Around

Black Bean Burger 2When Daddy says it’s better than a ground beef patty, it’s got to be good.  Daddy, the barely-living heart patient, is definitely a dedicated carnivore who listens to no one when it comes to modifying his diet.  But, I keep trying.  What can I say?  I am a hard-headed, persistent, never-give-up kind of gal. I keep inviting him over for scrumptious vegetarian lasagna, bok choy and walnut stir-fry, black bean taco salad, and the best darn chili you’ll ever eat.

He eats every bit of it, smacks his lips, swears it is the most delicious food he’s ever eaten. I think I have him convinced.  I send him home with new recipes, a link to my blog, and big hug.  I am so happy, and I just know I have converted him to my way of eating. I call the next day to check on his progress.  Nope!  (Me: a very sad face)  He’s browning meat for a gravy.  I can just see that animal fat dripping down the sides of his lips.  The thing is: Daddy is just has hard-headed as me!  UGH!!

It is true that Daddy does love all my vegetarian dishes; however, he just doesn’t love them as much as he loves meat, but with this burger, he can pretend he’s eating fresh ground sirloin. This burger reminds him of a “real” meat hamburger.  After his first bite, I can tell that I have his attention because he does his little “umgh”…that’s the “darn!., this tastes sooo good groan”.  I feel very hopeful this time.

The next day I make the usual call…  Yes!!!  Daddy is cooking black beans, and he has my brother trucking to the grocery store to pick up the quinoa!  Of course, I find out later, he had to put his own twist to the recipe (a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce), and according to him, his black bean burgers are better than mine.  He thinks he is a better cook than me, and for his honor, I will leave that ingredient in my recipe.

So, enjoy my delicious black bean burger recipe with Daddy’s splash of Worcestershire sauce.

NOTE: enjoy the pics or scroll to the bottom for the recipe print out.

Start with this:

Black Bean Burger Ingredients

Mix it up until it looks like this:

Black Bean Burger blendedAdd this:

Black Bean Burger sauteed onion

Make patties and cook them like this:

Black Bean Burger pan

Slice some of these:

Black Bean Burger lettuce tomato

And dress it up like this:

Black Bean Burger Open-faced

Fold it over like this:

Black Bean Burger close

Don’t forget to bake healthy oven fries with spicy cayenne pepper like this:

Black bean burger best

Here’s the recipe:

4.0 from 1 reviews
The Best Black Bean Burger Ever
Recipe type: Burgers
Cuisine: Vegetarian Dishes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
This is an easy, delicious black bean burger that tastes just as good a real burger. It is packed with protein and doesn't skimp on flavor. You will never go for that nasty ground beef again.
  • 2 cups black beans (I cook organic dry beans, but a 16 oz can will work, especially in a hurry)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup bread crumbs (use more or less to get the correct consistency)
  • 1-2 eggs, enough to hold the ingredients together
  • ½ cup sauteed onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves sauteed garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • dressing:
  • mayonnaise or very ripe creamed avocado (I stir a little olive oil with ¼ of an avocado)
  • dijon mustard
  • fixings:
  • red onion, sliced
  • ripe tomato
  • romaine lettuce
  • Serve with oven baked fries!
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add cooked black beans and cooked quinoa. Mix thoroughly and mash with a fork until mushy. Most of the time I use a food processor for this step. Just pulse until blended.
  2. Fold in the bread crumbs and egg. If it isn't yet the consistency of ground beef, let it stand a few minutes to allow the bread crumbs to soak in the extra juice. After five minutes, add more breadcrumbs if necessary.
  3. Add the cooked onions, garlic, and seasonings. Mix until well blended.
  4. Scoop up a handful of mixture and form into patties.
  5. In a skillet, cook the bean burger patties on medium heat.
  6. Cook until it is slightly hard on top and held together. Be careful not to cook too long. Bean burgers do not take as long as beef burgers.
  7. Slice red onion, tomatoes, and tear romaine lettuce.
  8. Toast the buns side down on a hot skillet.
  9. Smear on the dressing and add the fixings and enjoy!


Delicious Creamy Vegan White Sauce

Creamy White SauceThis sauce is absolutely delicious and can transform any vegetable into an irresistible dish. Others will think you spent hours in the kitchen preparing it.  It’s easy and it’s guilt free.  It has a butter flavor without any butter.  It It looks creamy, but there is no cream, no cheese, and no milk.  It’s all organic and super healthy.  I use this sauce to make creamy collards, guilt-free broccoli casserole, Alfredo fettuccine, healthy mac and cheese, potato soup, and so much more.  I’ll post all of these recipes eventually, but today I’m putting it over quinoa pasta and sauteed spinach with roasted bell peppers. Continue reading Delicious Creamy Vegan White Sauce

Squash Fettuccine with a Creamy Spinach Sauce

Squash Fettucine with Creamy Spinach This was thought to be Michelangelo’s favorite pasta.  Well, not the pasta made with squash and a Veggetti slicer, but fettuccine with creamy ricotta and sauteed spinach tossed with pine nuts and raisins.  I’ve prepared it both ways and it’s absolutely delicious made with real pasta, but it is equally as good made with my squash pasta.  When I’m trying to be easy on carbs, I use squash instead of real fettuccine. And it’s gluten free! I think you should try it both ways to compare the difference. Continue reading Squash Fettuccine with a Creamy Spinach Sauce

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I like to clean out the fridge before I leave town. I can’t bare to come home to moldy, wilted vegetables. Such a waste!  Today I realized I had a dozen colorful peppers that would no longer be crisp and crunchy when I return from New York.  I’m leaving in two days so I decided to cook everything, mix it with quinoa, and stuff it into peppers. It worked! These were delicious and there’s nothing left except a few tomatoes and cucumbers on the counter. Mission accomplished and it was a success! Continue reading Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Sicilian Caponata

CaponataYesterday I received two beautiful eggplants from a dear friend’s garden.  It will probably be the last fresh eggplants of summer so I thought I’d better make the best of them. When I think of eggplants lately (I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say this), I think of Italy, especially Sicilia or as you know it: Sicily.  It was Sicily that rekindled my childhood love of eggplants. I guess because I grew up eating things fresh from the garden, I didn’t know eggplants could take on such a horrible bitterness. Later on in life, when I was unable to walk out to the backyard to pick fresh vegetables, I started to hate eggplants because they were always bitter, horribly bitter.  Actually, my whole family hated them so when I cooked eggplants, I had to disguise them in tons of tomato paste or sauce with too much salt.  Lasagna and Eggplant Parmesan are perfect disguises for grocery store eggplants you’ll have in the winter.  I’ve come to realize that eggplants that are not fresh, will just be bitter. You can soak them in salt water, soak them overnight in milk, remove the seeds and peelings, or hang them in the shower (okay, the last one is a joke..hehe). These things will disguise the bitterness, but the best thing to do is have fresh eggplants. And that’s what I have today thanks to my buddy, Diane 🙂 Continue reading Sicilian Caponata

Homemade Manicotti Pasta

Homemade Manicotti

The deliciousness of this recipe comes from the homemade manicotti pasta I learned to make in the village of Sant’ Ambrogio, Sicily.  I’m calling these crepe-like pasta manicotti, but they’re not actually called manicotti in Italy.  Some Americans may also call them cannelloni, but  the Sicilian cook called them crespelle.  Call them whatever you like, but they are the easiest, tastiest pasta you’ll ever eat.  Just try them.

Continue reading Homemade Manicotti Pasta