Black Bean Sopes with Guac Pico

Sopes with black bean puree

Black Bean Sopes with Guac Pico

This is a tasty dish that is sure to please anyone who loves southwestern style cooking. Or, actually, for anyone that loves to eat! This recipe came about because I was trying to find more uses for masa harina. I can only get the 5 pound bag of Maseca, so I have bunches to use up. I use the corn flour in my cornbread recipe, but I don’t make nearly enough corn bread! I know, shame on me.

Other uses for masa harina are tamales and corn tortillias. However, I don’t make enough of those either. After I was served sopes at a little Mexican restaurant, I knew what I would use that Maseca for! Sopes!

I was never fond of the plain, masa dough sopes. They needed lots more flavor. I worked on that until I achieved a taste that my family liked. Using broth instead of water and jazzing it up with some spices was an easy fix. Give this dish a try. Maybe with a nice cerveza or margarita.

The ingredient list –

Sopes ingredients

Black Bean Sopes ingredients

You’ll need instant corn masa flour – Maseca is a readily available brand, 2 cans of black beans, vegetable broth, onion, tomato, avocado, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and, salt & pepper.

First, make the sopes. Combine the masa with the cumin, salt,

masa mix

masa, cumin & salt

water and vegetable broth. Fold until it’s mixed well. It’s a light and fluffy dough.

mixed masa

masa mixed

It’s ready when you can shape it into a large ball and it stays like that.

ready masa

holds it’s shape

Add more broth if it doesn’t hold together. Pinch off chunks and roll them into golf ball sized, dough balls. You should get 12.

masa dough balls

Masa dough balls

Cover a flat, sturdy surface with a piece of parchment paper.

masa ball

ready to mash

Place a masa ball in the center, cover with another sheet of parchment paper

covered masa ball

cover it up

and mash down with a heavy pot or cast iron skillet.

masa harina

Flatten it

You don’t want to mash it paper thin. You want about a 1/4 inch thick.

flattened sope

Mashed sope

After you flatten it, it should be about 4 inches around.


4 inch sopes

Now, you’re ready to fry them. Add a small amount of oil to a large skillet. Using medium heat, fry the sopes in batches of 4.

sopes in skillet

Four sopes in a skillet

Turn after 3 or 4 minutes, or when golden brown.

golden sopes

Flip when golden brown

Repeat the process, adding more oil as needed, until they’re all done. Drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan and keep warm in a 200º oven.

Tray of sopes

All fried up.

Now, onto the black beans. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large saucepan. Drop in 1 cup of diced onions. Saute them over low heat until they’re clear, about 3 minutes.

onions sauteeing

saute the onions

While the onions are doing their thing, drain and rinse off the black beans.

rinse and drain the blackbeans

drain and rinse the black beans

Back to the onions, add in the diced garlic and cook another minute.

sauteed garlic

add in the garlic

Add in the drained and rinsed black beans, the cumin, salt and pepper.

spiced black beans

add in the spices

Pour in the vegetable broth and stir it all up.

black beans

Add in the broth

Take a masher and mash the black bean mix slightly, leaving some whole beans.

mashed black beans

mash the black beans

Simmer the mashed beans over low, until needed to assemble the sopes. Add small amounts of broth to keep the beans from drying out, if necessary.

Finally, we make the guac pico. Regular pico or salsa would be fine here, too, but adding an avocado just makes it extra special. Dice a half cup of sweet onions.

diced onion

Dice the onion

Chop up a tomato.

chopped tomato for pico

chopped tomato for pico

And the cilantro, too.

chopped cilantro

chop the cilantro

Dump them all into a bowl with the garlic – I use jarred garlic, but, please use fresh if you want. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

guac pico

the bowl for the guac pico.

Remove the pit and peel from an avocado. Chop it up and add it to the pico bowl.


Chop up and avocado

Cut a lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half, over the guac pico.

lime half

Half a lime

Stir the guac pico with a fork, mashing it slightly as you do.

pico guac

guac pico

Time for assembly. Place on or two sope patties on a plate. Top with a half cup of mashed black beans, then finish up with a healthy dollop of guac pico. Serve with additional lime slices, if desired. Chow down. I served this with zoodles. Zucchini noodles made with a handy vegetable spiralizer.

Sopes with black beans and guac pico

Sopes with black beans and guac pico

Black Bean Sopes with Guac Pico
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Southwestern cuisine
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
A delicious introduction to Sopes and the many, wonderful flavors of the Southwest.
  • For the sopes:
  • 2 ½ cups instant corn masa flour, such as Maseca
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • oil for frying
  • For the black beans:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons diced garlic
  • 2 cans -15.5 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For the guac pico:
  • ½ cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 diced tomato
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon diced garlic
  • 1 diced avocado
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Combine the masa, cumin, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the vegetable broth and water. Fold over until well combined. The mix will be light and airy, but will hold together when gathered into a ball. Pull off chunks of the masa mix, and roll into about 12 golf ball sized, dough balls. Cover a flat surface with a piece of parchment paper. Place a ball of masa on the paper, cover with another sheet of parchment paper and flatted with a heavy pot or skillet. You want them to be about ¼ thick and a 3 to 4 inch circle. Repeat with the other masa balls, keeping both covered to prevent drying out. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry sopes in batches of four, turning after 3-4 minutes, or when golden brown. Drain on paper towel and keep warm in a 200º oven, while cooking the remaining sopes.
  2. While sopes are frying, make the black beans. In a saucepan, over a medium heat, add in the tablespoon of olive oil and the diced onions. Saute about 2 to 3 minutes, until onions are clear. Add in the diced garlic and saute for another minute. Then, add in the black beans, the broth, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix well. Mash the bean mix until mostly mashed, with some whole beans remaining. Simmer bean mix over low, until needed for sopes assembly. Add more vegetable broth, if the bean mix dries out.
  3. For the guac pico, mix the diced onion, tomato, cilantro, and garlic together. Add in the diced avocado and lime juice. Mash mixture lightly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To assemble the sopes – place one or two, hot sopes on a plate. Top with a half cup of the black bean mixture. Finish with a generous spoon of the guac pico. Serve with additional lime slices, if desired.
Plate of Sopes with black beans and guac pico

Sopes with black beans and guac pico plated

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Gnocchi, Greens and Beans

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans

Last year, I was in the hardware store and decided to pick up some plants for the garden. It’s Florida, we garden year around. On a whim, I grabbed 2 kale plants. This, I thought would give me a head start, while I waited to plant seeds. It gave me such a head start, that I never planted those seeds! Eight months later, those two plants still produce a boat load of leaves. I bought Lacinato or Dinosaur kale.

Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale

Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale

Get your kids into gardening. Go buy some fun Dinosaur kale! Your kids may be more open to trying new things, if they are active in choosing and growing their own food. So anyways, the kale grew. And grew! We have all kinds of kale to eat and the plants show no signs of slowing down!  That means it’s time to dig out all the kale recipes, because sauteed kale got old after the first 16 times we had it. Of course, we had scalloped potatoes and kale, all kinds of soups, kale chips and this dish with gnocchi. I’ve based my recipe on one I found at

What you’ll need –


The ingredients

You’ll need a 16 ounce package of gnocchi, a can of cannellini beans,  a can of diced tomatoes, some dry Italian seasoning, garlic, onion, bell pepper, mozzarella cheese, and a bunch of kale. Enough to yield 8 cups of chopped leaves. I used about 20 leaves. The plant grew that many again, before I got to my front door.

Start by cleaning the kale. Pull off the stems and tear the leaves into smaller pieces.

cleaning kale

Get the kale ready

Time to cut up the veggies.

diced bell pepper

Chop chop

Cut the bell pepper into about 1 inch square pieces.

diced onion

chop chop, sniff sniff

Dice the onion into about 1/4 inch pieces.

minced garlic

mince mince

Mince the heck out of the garlic. Tiny, tiny pieces. Now, time to cook.

This is a simple one pot dish, so get out a big skillet! A covered one, please. Over medium heat, put a tablespoon of oil in the skillet and add the gnocchi.



Let them cook, stirring them around.

saute gnocchi

Get some color going

When they’re all nice and toasty, remove them to a platter and set aside. (just between us – I wiped that plate off and used it for dinner. who needs more dirty dishes?)

cooked gnocchi

Toasty gnocchi

Pour some more oil in the pan and dump in the bell pepper and onion.

cooking Bell pepper and onion

Bell pepper and onion

Cook these for a couple of minutes, just until they start to soften. Add in the minced garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

saute garlic

the garlic is surrounded

Push the pepper mix to the side of the pan and pile the kale in.

cooking kale

add the kale

Cover it and cook for 2 minutes.

pot lid

Cover it up

Open it up, give it a stir

wilted kale

it’s getting there

and then, cover it up and cook for 2 more minutes. While all the opening and covering is going on, drain and rinse the cannellini beans.

drained white beans

rinse the beans

Open the can of diced tomatoes and pour them into the skillet. Add in the white beans and the dry Italian seasoning. Sprinkle on some salt & pepper, too.

add the beans and tomatoes

add the beans and tomatoes

Give it a good mixing. Cover it and bring to a simmer, about 2 to 4 minutes.

combine the dish

mix it up

Time to grab the plate of sauteed gnocchi and add it to the mix.


little pillows of pasta goodness

gnocchi in the skillet

Almost dinner!

Combine all the skillet ingredients and return to simmering. After another couple of minutes, turn off the stove. Sprinkle the gnocchi mix with the shredded mozzarella.

topped with cheese

top with cheese

Cover and let the cheesy goodness melt all over. That’s it! All done. Pretty it up with some chopped parsley and serve it right from the skillet.

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Grab a spoon, it’s dinner!

We had ours with a simple salad featuring some green zebra tomatoes, fresh from the garden. Life’s simple pleasures.

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Gnocchi with greens and beans

Gnocchi with Greens and Beans
Recipe type: casserole
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A simple, delicious, one pot meal that uses ready made gnocchi, canned white beans and fresh kale in a chunky tomato sauce.
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided.
  • 1 – 16 oz package of ready made gnocchi
  • 1 – bunch of fresh kale, stems removed and chopped, about 8 cups of leaves.
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – can diced tomatoes, 14 to 16oz.
  • 1 – can of cannellini beans, 14 to 16oz. Drained and rinsed.
  • 1 Tablespoon dried italian seasoning mix
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • shredded parsley for garnish
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil. Add in the gnocchi. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often. When the gnocchi have browned, remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to skillet. Add in the red bell pepper and white onion. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Move the garlic, onions and pepper mix to one side of the pan and add the kale, packing it in. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove lid and stir kale. Return lid and cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove lid and add the canned tomatoes, rinsed and drained white beans, the dry Italian seasoning mix and salt & pepper. Combine well. Cover and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes. Remove lid, stir in the cooked gnocchi, return to simmer and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and let melt. Garnish with shredded parsley. Serve directly from the skillet, family style.
Gnocchi with Greens and Beans


Tomato and White Bean Salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Spring has sprung. Although most of the country is still covered up with snow, the calender says that Spring is here. I know it has sprung here in Florida. Everything has a golden layer of pollen on it. Allergy season is here. Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, I’m sniffling and sneezing. Yup, it’s Spring.

To welcome the change in seasons, I made this light and refreshing salad. It’s been a particularly hot past couple of days and I wanted something easy. Something I could whip up and let chill in the fridge while I was out mowing the grass. That, is this bean and tomato salad. So, while I’m waiting for my allergy pills to kick in, I’ll teach you how to make it for yourselves.

White bean and tomato salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Here’s the fixings.

white bean and tomato salad

Let’s get started!

You’ll need 2 cans of cannellini beans, a pint of cherry type tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, agave sweetener (or honey or any sweetener), some salt and pepper, and some white balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have any white balsamic vinegar, got ahead and get some. This stuff is so good. Sprinkle a little bit in with the yolk mix, the next time you make deviled eggs! You’ll be amazed at how good this stuff makes them. If you’re sure you don’t want to go out and buy the white balsamic vinegar, use a white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar. Stick with something clear. Regular balsamic vinegar will make the salad an unpleasant dark color. We don’t want that.

Start off by draining the cannellini beans. Rinse them off, if they have a lot of bean starch in the can.

drain beans

Drain the beans

While they drip dry, get out your cutting board. Time to cut the tomatoes in half.

halving the tomatoes

Slice the tomatoes in half

Get out a large bowl and dump the drained beans into it.

Bowl of beans

Put the beans into a bowl

Dump the tomato halves in there, too.

add the maters

Add the tomatoes

Measure out a half cup of feta cheese and dump it in also!

adding feta

Add in the feta

Stack up about 20 basil leaves, roll them up and slice them thinly. That’s called a chiffonade.  I learned this from the television cooking shows. They love to chiffonade things!

Chiffonade the basil

Chiffonade the basil

You know what’s next, don’t you? That’s right, add them to the bowl.


Pretty colors!

Now, to make the dressing. You’ll need a small jar. I just reuse an old salad dressing jar. Measure out the white balsamic vinegar.

making dressing

White balsamic vinegar

Then, pour it into the jar. Measure out the extra virgin olive oil. Oh, do yourself a favor. Find one of these tiny measuring cups. They make measuring multiple table/teaspoons so much easier. They’re easy to find. I found this one at my grocery store.



Pour it into the dressing jar, too. Measure out the agave sweetener.


agave syrup

Pour it into the dressing jar, too. Measure out the salt and pepper. I’m into Pink Himalayan salt right now. Why? It’s pretty to look at. That’s why. It’s supposed to have more minerals and be better for you than regular table salt, but, salt is salt, use it sparingly. Too much salt is a bad thing. I also use a four color peppercorn blend. It’s pretty, too.

salt and pepper

pretend this picture is in focus

Add it to the dressing jar. It makes a cool glop in the bottom. Hey, I’m easily amused!

dressing mix

See the salt & pepper glop?

Close it up and shake it up!

Dressing mix

Dressing mix

Pour the dressing over the tomato & bean mix.

dressing the salad

Mix in the dressing

Pour the salad into a pretty serving bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

put into serving bowl

Put into a serving bowl.

This mix travels well, if you have a covered dish dinner to go to. To serve, place a few lettuce leaves on a plate and add about a cup of tomato bean salad mix over it.

tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and White Bean Salad
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
A light and fresh salad. Perfect for lunch, brunch or a light dinner.
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 -15 ounce or 19 ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh basil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves. Place halves in a bowl. Add in the drained cannellini beans, basil and crumbled feta cheese.
  2. Pour vinegar and extra virgin olive oil into a small jar. Add in the salt and pepper. Cover and shake vigorously. Pour over bean and tomato mixture. Combine well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Arrange a few lettuce leaves on a plate. Top with ¾ cup of the tomato and white bean salad.

This tomato and white bean salad also pairs will with fresh cooked orzo pasta. That makes a tasty dinner.



Cannellini al Gratin

Cannellini al Gratin

Grab a spoon!

Winter has decided to wrap her icy fingers around Florida (and the rest of the country) for what I hope, is the last time. Enough with the cold already!

Cold weather means comfort foods. Hearty, stick to your ribs casseroles, flavorful soups & stews and crock pots full of all manner of tasty things. It also means I can run my oven as much as I want! When it’s 100 degrees outside, the last thing I want to do is stand in front of a blazing oven. So, I take advantage of the cold weather to fire it up and enjoy the extra heat.

Since our temperatures dipped down into the low 30’s (hush, this is sub-tropical Florida, 30 is COLD), I decided to make my favorite bean casserole. It is so easy. Minimum effort for maximum flavor. It uses cannellini beans. These beans are a good for you inclusion to your diet. They are high in magnesium, fiber, iron, folate and a good source of protein. If you can’t find cannellini bean, you can substitute great northern or any white bean.

On with the show –

cannellini fixings

cannellini ingredients

Gather all your ingredients. Get out a cutting board and knife, so you can dice up all those veggies. Did you know that the celery, onion and carrot mix is called a mirepoix? You do now! Not only do we provide good eats, you get to learn new things, too.

Do you see that? Wait, here it is –

kitchen kitty 2

kitchen kitty is watching you.

There she is. Kitchen kitty is making sure I do this right.  Anyhow, onward. Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Get out your dutch oven. Now, lets dice up some mirepoix. Do the celery

diced celery

dice the celery

The carrots – which btw – I don’t peel. I use organic, so it’s wash, dry and eat.

diced carrots

dice the carrots

Dice up some onion. You’ll need a cup of each. Oh, and dice up 3 tablespoons of parsley.

diced onion

dice the onion

Put your pot of the stove, over medium – high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump in the mirepoix.

add the mirepoix

Add the celery, carrot & onion to the pot.

Cover the pot and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft. Turn the heat off and add in the white wine vinegar, scraping up the browned bits off the bottom.

adding vinegar

add the vinegar

Now, dump in 2 cans of cannellini beans with their juices. Add in the chopped parsley, thyme and some salt & pepper. Give it a stir.

add beans parsley and other ingred

add the beans and things

Add in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I used Boars Head Gouda. You can use whatever vegetarian friendly cheese that you like or can find.

add cheese

add in some cheese

In a large measuring cup or small bowl, add 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, the remaining parsley, cheese and tablespoon of olive oil.

crumb top

making the crumb topping

And mix it well.

crumb topping mix

mixed up

Spread the crumb topping in an even layer over the top of the casserole.

Cannellini al gratin ready

Ready to bake

Place it in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. When it’s all bubbly and the crumb top is golden, you are ready to pull it out of the oven.

Finished Cannellini al gratin

All done

Let it rest for 5 minutes to let that bubbling, bean brew settle down. Serve it up with a nice crusty bread or a focaccia. We had a whole wheat focaccia. Yum!

Cannellini al Gratin dinner

Dinner is served!

Recipe below.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cannellini al Gratin
Recipe type: casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
An easy, fast, delicious cannellini bean casserole with a crunchy crumb topping.
  • 2 – 19 oz cans cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cups diced carrots
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup coarsely grated Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the diced carrots, celery and onion, and cook, covered, 6 to 8 minutes, or until onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat, and stir in the white wine vinegar, using a spatula to scrape up any browned bits stuck to bottom of pot. Add beans with juices, chopped thyme, chopped parsley, ½ cup shredded cheese, salt & pepper. Stir well to combine.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining 1 Tbs. chopped parsley, and remaining ¼ cup shredded cheese in small bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbs. oil into crumb mixture, and combine to moisten breadcrumbs. Spread breadcrumb mixture over bean mixture. Bake gratin, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and the top is browned. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.
  4. Makes six generous servings.
  5. Adapted from Vegetarian Times Jan/Feb 2011







Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow chard

Isn’t this pretty


The nice thing about the produce co-op, is we get exposed to new stuff. Good stuff. This week’s new stuff was Rainbow Chard. It was new to me, anyway. I’ve seen it in the market but shied away from it. What was this technicolor mutant celery? It looked like rhubarb gone wild. I’m not a fan of rhubarb, so, no way was I going to try this stuff. Well, since I’m typing this, we all know I lied. I did try this stuff. And this stuff is good. The stalks cooked tender and the leaves had a peppery bite to them that I really liked. Chard is quite healthy for you! A half cup serving of chard packs in 28% of your RDA of Vitamin A, 26% of Vitamin C, 22 % Magnesium and 20 % of the iron you need.  So, don’t be like me and fear the chard. Embrace it. Then, clean it and eat it.

Today, for you, I will prepare Pasta with Rainbow Chard and White Beans.

pasta, rainbow chard and beans

Dinner’s ready!


You will need, hmm, PASTA! Any kind will do. Chard don’t care. I used Campanelle. They look like little flowers. Nice.

chard ingredients

Your dinner fixings.

Then you’ll need cherry tomatoes, garlic, cannellini beans, some shaved or grated parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, and some pretty, rainbow chard.

Cook the pasta according to the box directions. Drain, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

campanelle pasta

campanelle pasta


Swirl some oil in a pan and toss in the quartered cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes, quartered

quartered cherry tomatoes

Saute them for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another minute.

rainbow chard

So colorful.

Add in the chard stems and cook, covered for three minutes.

Then, pile on the chard leaves. Really, pile them all in, they’ll cook down to nothing.

Chard leaves

That’s a big pile of chard!

Cover and cook two minutes until they wilt down some. Uncover and add in the beans, red pepper flakes. Sprinkle on the salt & pepper.

add the white beans

add the white beans and spices.

Keep the cover off and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are fully wilted, about another three minutes.

Pour the cooked pasta in a large serving dish and top with the chard and bean mixture. Toss to combine fully. Top with shaved cheese.

bowl of pasta chard and beans

Big bowl of pasta, chard and beans

Sprinkle a little more cheese on each serving, just because you can.

pasta, chard and white beans

Good stuff!


Rainbow Chard
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
A tasty dish of pasta and rainbow chard with white beans.
  • 12 ounce box of pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 bunches rainbow chard, stems and leaves separated and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup shaved Cabot monterey jack cheese
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Return to pot, toss with 1 teaspoon oil and keep warm.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the chard stems and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves, packing them down, Cover and cook until partially wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the cover and fold in the cannellini beans, ½ teaspoon each of salt & pepper, the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the chard leaves are tender, another 3 minutes..
  3. Place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl and top with the chard mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle shaved cheese on top.


Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Beans

Aduki beans

Beans. We don’t give them enough respect. They’re easy to grow and available year around. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried. So many varieties. Limas, lentils, kidney, black eyed, garbanzo, soy and many, many more.

Not only are beans good for your heart, they also contain saponin compounds that appear to protect cells from cancer causing damage. Cancer facts. Women who eat beans two or more times a week have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. They’re full of flavonols for antioxidant activity and fiber for, well, you know what fiber does. Beans are on the low end of the glycemic chart, so are better for diabetics. Dark beans have the added bonus of being loaded with iron. Beans – is it any wonder they’re called the magical fruit?

This recipe pairs dried aduki beans with rice to form a complete protein. Throw in a mashed potato topping, covered in cheese and man, you’ve got it made. The aduki bean is also called the red dragon bean. If you eat them, you are blessed with the strength of a dragon. Couldn’t hurt, could it. Then, you could really mean this – Meddle thee not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and tasteth good with ketchup!

Crunch, crunch.

slice out of a Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Pie

Let’s get to cookin’! Start with a ½ cup of beans in four cups of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. After they have simmered for 20 minutes, add in ¼ cup of brown rice and stir. Continue cooking until the beans are tender and the rice cooked. Drain over a bowl to save the broth. You’ll need to save one cup of broth.

aduki beans and brown rice

cooked aduki beans & brown rice

On to the mashed potatoes. Peel and dice up 4 medium to large potatoes. Add to a pot and cover with salted water. Boil until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add some butter and cream. Mash away! If you like some lumps, leave some lumps. Lumps mean it’s real stuff, man.

mashed potatoes

mashed potatoes

Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Pour in a little oil and add in a diced carrot, diced onion and some quartered white mushrooms.

Sauteed carrots, onions and mushrooms

Sauteed vegetables

Saute for about 5 minutes until they’re softened. Add in the beans and rice mixture. Sprinkle with the italian herbs. Add in the tamari sauce, the tomato paste and chili sauce.



Tomato paste in a tube. The world is a marvelous place. Pour in the reserved bean stock. Mix it all up. Add in some pepper and salt, if it needs any more salt. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the juice is absorbed.

dragon beans and rice mix

Mix it all up.

Preheat your oven to 350º. Get out a nine inch pie dish and butter the sides and bottom. Spread the bean mixture in a even layer over the bottom.

dragon bean mix

layer the bean mix

Spread a layer of mashed potatoes over that, covering the beans completely and sealing to the edges with the mashed potatoes.

layer of mashed potatoes

add a layer of mashed potatoes

Lick potato spoon.

Shred 1 cup of cheese. I used fontina but you can use any hard cheese. Cheddar would be dandy! Sprinkle the cheese all over the top of the dish.

top with shredded cheese

top with shredded cheese

Bake for 30 minutes at 350º. If the top is not nicely browned after that time, run it under the broiler for a few minutes. You just gotta have a crunchy, toasty, cheesy pie top. You just have to!

Aduki Cottage Casserole

Toasty goodness!

Red Dragon Pie
Recipe type: casserole
Cuisine: vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
A savory sheppard type pie featuring aduki beans.
  • ½ cup dry aduki beans
  • ¼ cup brown rice
  • 4 medium to large potatoes. Butter & cream to mash.
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • ½ cup carrot, quartered, then diced
  • ¾ cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 - 8oz package whole white mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp mixed dried italian herbs
  • 1 Tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup of aduki/rice stock - reserved
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  1. In a medium sauce pan combine ½ cup of aduki beans in four cups of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. After they have simmered for 20 minutes, add in ¼ cup of brown rice and stir. Continue cooking the remaining 40 minutes, until the beans are tender and the rice cooked. Drain over a bowl to catch the stock. You'll need to save one cup of stock.
  2. Peel and chop 4 medium to large potatoes. Add to a pot and cover with salted water. Boil until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add some butter and cream. Mash them up.
  3. Heat a large skillet pan over medium heat. Pour in the oil and add in the diced carrot, diced onion and quartered white mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes until they're softened. Add in the drained bean and rice mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with the italian herbs. Add in the tamari sauce, the tomato paste and chili sauce. Pour in the reserved bean stock. Mix it all up. Add pepper and salt to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the juice is absorbed.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350º.
  6. Get out a nine inch pie dish and butter the sides and bottom. Spread the bean mixture in a even layer over the bottom. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes over that, covering the beans completely and spread to the edges.
  7. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350º.
  8. If the top is not nicely browned after that time, run it under the broiler for a few minutes.


Finally Poblanos!

What was going to be a simple supper, turned into an ordeal. Right after I got started with preparations, we were hit with a humongous thunder storm! The rapid fire lightening and thunder gave us quite a show. It also cause me to have multiple, short, power outages. That makes cooking a bunch of fun! Plus, take one very storm frightened dog and you get double your fun. A calming pill, his thunder shirt, and his dad protecting him got us through. It was, to say the least, a very long night.

But, enough of that, it’s FOOD TIME!

What we have here is, roasted stuffed poblanos with polenta topped with a black bean hummus & guacamole.

Do ahead: Turn your oven to high broil. Take the washed and dried poblanos, spray them with oil and put on a foil lined baking sheet.  You’ll want to adjust the oven racks so that the top of your tallest pepper is 2 to 3 inches away from the heat. Place your tray of peppers under the broiler. As the skins start to cook, you’ll hear them popping. Don’t be afraid, that’s what it’s supposed to do. Now, you know your oven better than I do, so times will be approximate. Check them after a few minutes. If you have some nicely blistered skin, flip them over and do the other side. You want a nice char on the poblanos, Not a flambé. Do not let them catch fire. Your night will be even worse than mine. When both sides are charred,  remove tray and turn oven off. Place the peppers into paper bags. If you don’t have any bags, you can put them into a heat proof bowl and cover it. You want to let the poblanos steam the skins loose. So, bag or bowl them and walk away. Come back in 30 minutes and check to see it they are cool enough to handle. Time to peel off all that blistered pepper skin. Now the bags can multi task. It’s a good place to pile all the skin that you peel off the peppers. The skin should come off easily. If you have some tough spots, don’t fret about it. Leave them on.  The next step is to open the peppers up and remove the seed cap. I use scissors for this. I just find that it’s easier. Cut half way across the cap at the top, then cut down, lengthwise of the pepper, almost to the end. You are making a T shaped cut. Open up the pepper, trimming the side wall veins as needed. Cut the seed pod off at the stem. Leave the stem part. Set them in a greased 9 x 13 pan and get ready for the next step.

Gather your ingredients. Most people stuff their poblanos with beans, jalapeños, tomatoes and onions. I say – Hey, all stuff is in this handy, dandy can of hoppin’ John. So, I use them. Open and drain the canned beans. Toss them into a bowl with the cumin, cilantro and lime juice.  Mix it up.

Open the pack of Queso Blanco. This is a soft white cheese that won’t melt. If you like fried cheese, this will hold up to the heat. I like the soft cheese and not the melty kind for this. If you want melty cheese, use quesadilla cheese or monterey jack. Cut the cheese into strips. Lay a couple of strips on the bottom of the open pepper. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the hoppin John mix. Don’t over pack the peppers. Fold the sides of the peppers closed and add a couple of the cheese slices.

Fire up the broiler again on high. Broil the poblanos a couple of inches away from the heat, until the cheese is browned. Remember, it won’t melt. The peppers cooked when you blistered them, so all you want to do is heat the food and brown the cheese.

Now, we move onto the polenta rounds topped with black bean hummus and guacamole.

The ingredients for this dish. Rinse and drain the black beans, reserving 1/4 cup of bean liquid. Put beans into the work bowl of a food processor. Add in the chopped cilantro, diced garlic, olive oil, the chipotle pepper from the adobo sauce, cumin and lime juice. Hummus recipes call for tahini, a sesame seed paste. That stuff is expensive and hard to find around here so I do what my son taught me. I use peanut butter. I can’t tell the difference. Add the peanut butter in, too.Process the mixture into a moist paste. If it seems to dry to you, add some of the reserved bean liquid. You want it to have a soft, moist dip like quality. Scoop it into a bowl and garnish with some chopped cilantro.

My produce co-op offers these tubes of prepared polenta in different flavor varieties. I get them because they’re convenient and easy to use. Open it over a dish because they’re water packed. Remove wrapper and slice the tube into 1/2 inch slices.  Place the slices into a fry pan coated with 1 tablespoon of oil. Fry over med-high heat until browned, flip and fry the other side. Drain on paper towels.

Plating time. Place a poblano on the plate and put two polenta rounds beside it. Top with some black bean hummus and a scoop of guacamole. Yum!

Roast Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Serves: 4 Prep time: 30 min Cook time: 5 min


  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 2 cans of Margaret Holmes Hoppin’ John, drained.
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • juice of one lime


Coat poblanos with cooking spray, place on tray and broil until skin is charred all over. Remove and place in paper bags to steam. When cool, peel away outer skin and cut pepper open. Start with a T cut across the top and continue lengthwise until almost the bottom tip of the pepper. Cut off seed pod, leaving top intact. Set pepper aside in a greased 9 x 13 backing dish.

Put drained hoppin’ John in a bowl. Add in the chopped cilantro, cumin and lime juice. Mix well.

Open and slice Queso Blanco cheese into strips. Place two strips of cheese into the bottom of each opened poblano. Fill pepper with hoppin John mixture, careful to not overfill. Fold poblano sides up and top with two more cheese slices.

Turn oven on to Hi-broil. Place peppers into oven a couple of inches from heat source. Broil Five minutes or until cheese is browned. It will not melt. Serve and enjoy.

Black Bean Hummus

Makes about 4 cups


  • 2 – 15 ounce cans black beans, drained, reserving 1/4 cup of liquid
  • 3 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 pepper from a can of chipotle poppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons diced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • the juice of one lime


Place drained black beans into the work bowl of a food processor. Add in the peanut butter, cilantro, chipotle pepper, garlic, cumin and lime juice. Process until smooth. If too dry, add in the reserved bean liquid. Salt and pepper to taste.

Simple Guacamole


  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon diced garlic
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Slice avocados in half, removing and discarding pit. Holding avocado, run a knife tip lengthwise and then across – without cutting through the peel – dividing it into little cubes. Using a spoon, scoop the cubes out into a bowl. Repeat with remaining halves. Using a fork or masher, give the avocados a rough mash. Leave some cubes whole.

Add remaining ingredients into the bowl. Mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.