Monday, June 14, 2010

Delicious and Simple Healthfullness: Sauteed Cannellini Beans with Fresh Chard

A little over a year ago, I was researching and writing an article on Hollywood vegans for The Food Magazine.  What stood out to me then, and what still does, is that in each of the interviews with actresses Emily Deschanel, Lake Bell, and Vanessa Lengies, and with writer (of Skinny Bitch fame) Rory Freedman, each raved about the deliciousness of vegan food and also how your tastes change when you start eating more healthfully.

It seems to good to be true, I know.  I once had a torrid love affair with butter, so believe me, I wanted to believe this magical prophesy even as I was skeptical.  Gotta say, folks, it's true.  If you give your taste buds and your body a chance to adjust to healthful eating, you won't crave anything (unhealthy) that you're not eating.  Seriously.  Just ask my husband who once said he'd never give up hamburgers and one day found himself simply not wanting to eat them.  Wowzers.

A while back, I read an article about how our brains can influence our tastes, and why when people make the switch to vegetarianism, meat becomes totally unappealing to them (where it wasn't previously).  I wish I'd made a note of that article, but if I can track it down, I'll post it.  The point is, whether it's a healthful or a happy life we want, we're in control!  We just have to choose it.  And once we do, it's not hard to stay there, if we eat well and take care of ourselves.

So here's to delicious, simple, and satisfying food and health-full, happy living!

And on that note, here's a quick and delicious dish that I was dying over the other day it was so good: cannellini beans sauteed in olive oil until they get golden and crispy on the outside, then tossed with ribbons of fresh chard.  

This recipe is a combo of one I got from my CSA and the recipe for "Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens" from Heidi Swanson's gorgeous Super Natural Cooking, with my own tweaks and twists.  Feel free to do the same.

Here's what you need:

-- 1 (15 oz) can Cannellini Beans (or other large white beans), drained and rinsed
-- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon and more extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
-- 1 bunch fresh chard (rainbow or green), cut into strips, with tough stems removed
-- 4 cloves garlic, minced
-- 1/4 c. chopped walnuts (optional)
-- 1/2 lemon
-- salt and pepper

Here's what to do:

1.  Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Add drained, rinsed beans to the skillet and stir to coat with oil.  Then spread them out into a single layer and let them sit for 3-4 minutes to brown.  Then stir and flip the beans to brown on the other side, another 3-4 minutes.

2.  Nudge the beans to one side of the pan, and add one teaspoon of olive oil on the empty side, and add the garlic and walnuts to the oil, and let sizzle for about 30 seconds.  Then stir it all together.

3.  Add in the chard, and toss with the beans, garlic and walnuts.  Let cook for a minute, then drizzle with the juice from 1/2 lemon.  Season with salt and pepper, then stir.  Cook for another minute or two until the chard begins to wilt.  

4.  Pull the pan off the heat, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and taste for seasonings.  Add more salt and pepper, olive oil, or lemon juice as needed.


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