Category Archives: Grains
We’re well into soup season and I can’t believe it took me this long to share with you what I imagine to be the first of many versions of my favorite combo, that I share with you here; beans & greens!
If it was up to Skyler, soup season would be everyday, all year, no matter the outside temperature, she just loves it and asks me to make it all the time. This soup is so versatile and can really be adapted to whatever beans you like and whatever greens you have on hand.
Very much like the Italian classic pasta fagoule, but instead of pasta I like to use wheat berries. The wheat berries cook up nice and al dente and hold up well as leftovers unlike pasta which continues to absorb the broth and can get a bit mushy. I also really like the way the red lentils melt into the broth while the white beans just soften a bit but still hold their integrity.
The soup is then finished with a big pile of chopped greens, in this case chopped Swiss or rainbow chard, stems and all. Lastly a drizzle of good olive oil, a sprinkling of grated cheese if you like, and a nice hunk of bread…soups on!
Beans & Greens Soup with White Beans, Red Lentils and Chard
Author: SweetGreenKitchen’s Jen Jones
2 large leeks or 4 if they’re skinny – chopped
4-6 cloves garlic – rough chopped
2 stalks celery – diced
2 large carrots – diced
½ cup wheat berries – rinsed
½ cup red lentils – rinsed
1 15 ounce can cannellini beans – drained and well rinsed
1 small bunch Swiss or rainbow chard – washed and chopped – leaves & stems
6-8 cups water
Optional: 1 boullion cube – I use Rapunzel vegan boullion
Optional: grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
Heat a large pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add in the chopped leeks and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until softened. Next add in the garlic, celery and carrots. Cook a few more minutes and then toss in some thyme, rosemary and sea salt, plus the boullion cube if using, stir around to mix the herbs with the veges and break up the boullion cube. Add in the wheat berries and stir into the veggies and seasonings. Next add in the lentils and white beans then 6-8 cups of water. Partially cover and bring to a low boil, then fully cover, lower the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 30 minutes to an hour or a few hours if you have the time. After the soup has cooked for awhile and the wheat berries are mostly cooked and the lentils have melted into the broth, add in the chopped Swiss chard and cook for another 10-20 minutes.
Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top with grated Romano or Parmesan cheese if you like, plus an extra drizzle of olive oil. Serve with chunks of crusty fresh bread. Enjoy!
Recipe notes: This recipe makes a nice big pot of soup, easily serving 4-6 for a main dish. If your crowd is a bit smaller, don’t despair, make the full pot and stock your fridge with leftovers for the week. Leftovers make a great workday lunch or quick dinner on a busy night, just reheat and serve. This soup also freezes perfectly, just wait for it to cool down and then pour into individual freezer safe containers. If you have time, defrost for the day and then warm up in a small pot on the stove. If you forget to defrost, no worries, just run some luke warm water over the sealed container until it begins to soften a bit, add the partially thawed chunk of soup to a small pot and slowly rewarm over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the soup as you go.
Wheat berries take awhile to cook, a good hour to one and a half hours. If you plan ahead, you can soak your wheat berries in a bowl of water overnight to speed up the cooking process. Otherwise, save this soup for a weekend or one of our many snow days!
Wheat berries are dense and chewy with a slightly nutty flavor, packed with protein and fiber and a decent amount of iron, they make for a filling and healthy base to this delicious salad. Raw Brussels Sprouts have a mild flavor, so different than cooked sprouts, if you’ve never had them this way I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I also love how the grapes along wth the fruity vinegars add some brightness to both the taste and look of this salad. The almonds, aside from being super healthy; protein, fiber and vitamin packed, add a really nice crunch. This salad is so filled with flavors, texture and nutrition, I hope you love it as much as I do!
Wheat Berries and Sprouts Salad
With Grapes & Almonds
Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries – rinsed and cooked in about 1 ½ cups water for about an hour
1 container or large handful of Brussels Sprouts – outer leaves & stem ends removed, sliced very thinly
1 – ½ small red onion (about ¼ – ½ cup) – slivered or diced
A handful of red grapes – halved
A small handful of parsley – chopped
3-4 Tablespoons slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar or similar
A few shakes of dried Rosemary – about ¼ – ½ teaspoon
Sea Salt to taste
Optional add ins: crumbled bleu cheese or goat cheese
Stir together the dressing either in a small bowl or right in the bottom of your serving bowl.
Add to the serving bowl cooked and cooled wheat berries, dressing and remaining salad ingredients. Stir well to combine.
Optional, crumble in cheese of your choice.
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Author: Sweet Green Kitchen’s Jen Jones
To so many, parsley is thought of as just a garnish, but not I. To me, parsley is an ingredient to be celebrated as much as other favorite herbs like basil or salad greens such as arugula, field greens and others. It shows up regularly, pretty much daily in my meals, sprinkled atop sliced eggs on toast or over pasta or mixed into any number of recipes, it adds a freshness like no other to just about any savory dish. But here, parsley becomes the star, no longer a mere garnish, parsley is the main ingredient in this simple lovely salad. This truly is traditionally a parsley salad with bulgur, mint and tomatoes playing the supporting roles. I like my tabbouleh with extra lemon, so feel free to add less if that’s not to your liking. Either way, this is a quick, simple, yet wonderfully delicious dish that itself could be the star of the meal.
2/3 cup fine Bulgur wheat (medium or coarse grain can be substituted) *see notes – or Quinoa for a gluten free option
Zest of 1 Lemon
About 4 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice, from about 1- 2 lemons (less if you prefer)
About 4 -6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large bunch (about 3-4 cups) Flat Leaf Italian Parsley (so much more flavorful than curly parsley)
1 small bunch Mint (about ½ – 1 cup)
About ½ – 1 whole pint of small Tomatoes, such as grape or cherry
Optional: 2-3 chopped Scallions
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Rinse bulgur in a tight mesh strainer under cold water and then drain thoroughly. Pour into a medium bowl. *See notes below if you wish to use Quinoa. Zest your lemon (before juicing). Add lemon juice and olive oil to the bulgur, add less to start with as you can always add more lemon juice after tasting, but you can’t take it out. Allow to sit for a few minutes to absorb the dressing. If using medium or coarse grain bulgur, you’ll need to add a little hot water to soften the grain, before adding the dressing.
Meanwhile, wash and dry parsley and mint leaves and chop. Add to the bulgur along with the lemon zest, salt and pepper and scallions if using. Stir to combine.
Cut the tomatoes in half or quarters, depending upon the size and what you like. Add the tomatoes to the salad and gently stir.
Taste, adding more lemon juice or salt and pepper as you like.
It’s best to let the salad sit for a bit of time before eating to allow the grain to soften and fully absorb all the flavors of the dressing, herbs and tomatoes. If I have time and actually think ahead, I mix the bulgur with the olive oil and lemon juice and leave in the fridge overnight, before adding the remaining ingredients, but this is not necessary.
Tabbouleh can be served in so many wonderful ways. I like it simply in Romaine lettuce cups or added to a hummus wrap or falafel sandwich or atop a larger green salad or served alongside your favorite fish. It was also my contribution to the family Easter brunch, served along side my dad’s amazing quiche and goat cheese tart.
Parsley has numerous health benefits. It is an excellent source of Vitamins K (one half cup serving provides over 500% of your daily value!) and C and also a very good source of Vitamin A, folic acid and iron. It is high in numerous healthy flavonoids. All of which means parsley is good for your heart, joints, digestion and more.
Bulgur wheat also goes by the name cracked wheat, it is high in protein and fiber and low in fat and calories, an excellent substitution for other grains such as brown rice or oats.
*BUT, if you can’t find bulgur or wish to make this wheat/gluten free, I find Quinoa makes a perfect substitute for the bulgur. If you do use Quinoa, you’ll have to pre cook it, I would probably use about 1/3 cup uncooked to 2/3 cup water, brought to a boil and then covered on a low simmer for 15-20 minutes. Quinoa increases in volume by a lot, so don’t be concerned by the small amount at the start.