Being told something is good for you as a kid is often a mighty good reason to run far away from it. Beans were always one of those foods for me—pretty boring, oddly shaped, and depending on their origin slimy and smelly and just unappealing in all sorts of ways.
Then I became vegetarian, and later vegan, and my relationship with beans changed. Not only were they a necessary source of vital nutrition—protein, complex carbs, iron, fiber…you know the drill—but they were far less expensive than the “fancy” vegan foods like tempeh and seitan that weighed in with similar nutritional labels. All of a sudden, the world’s centuries-long obsession with beans made sense, and I welcomed them (and the fun mason jars I’d store them in) into my home.
But kids have a tendency of knowing deeper truths than we give them credit for, and after years of spooning plain beans onto salads the whole “boring” thing came up again for me. How else could I enjoy these versatile little gems? Like Jack’s magic beans, those in my cabinets became a blank canvas for spices, sauces, and cooking techniques galore. I still swear by the cumin roasted chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen as a topper for almost any meal, which you could also eat like popcorn or M&Ms or whatever your mindless-snack-food of choice is (and not feel as guilty for it).
Mashing beans, however, has been something I reserved for hummus and dips—until now. The dreariness of the weather outside plus a need to use up some stock in my kitchen before buying more (hello, freelance life) guided me to this recipe. Rather than a mere side, these pureed beans are a star in their own right. Seasoned with bright sumac and bitter herbs, and paired with broccoli’s more astringent rabe cousin, they’re perfectly balanced to combat kapha-related heaviness—and so good you might forget they’re good for you, too.
Gigante Bean Puree with Roasted Broccoli Rabe
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 1-½ cups cooked gigante beans with soaking liquid
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ½ teaspoon sumac
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place broccoli rabe on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the edges are brown and crisped. You can add a bit of water halfway through if they look extremely dry but aren’t yet cooked through,
- Meanwhile, in a saute pan, add the garlic, sage, and thyme to a thin layer of water. Cook until the water is absorbed and the garlic is browning, 3-5 minutes.
- Using an immersion or small blender, puree the beans and the almond milk together until smooth. Add to the saute pan and stir to incorporate. Keep stirring gently until heated through. Remove from heat, add the sumac, and stir to combine.
- Serve broccoli rabe over a spread of the bean puree, and sprinkle with additional thyme, salt, and pepper if desired.