August 21, 2011

French Bean & Spelt Berry Salad ~ The Perfect Vegan Meal

I've made it a habit to shop the liquidation stores in town.  We have about four or five in the area and often there are many items I use to cook with that are marked down considerably.  Sometimes the packaging is damaged or the original price was just too high and the items didn't sell well in the local markets.  That is a big deterrent when people are just beginning to incorporate plant based cooking in their diet.  Organic fruits, vegetables, and many products are more expensive in the grocery stores.  It doesn't have to be that way though.

Yes, if you shop in the conventional grocery stores, it will be more expensive to eat whole foods. But, shopping the local farmer's markets and buying what's in season, getting to know the local gardeners and farmers, shopping the discount stores like the liquidation stores, and growing your own veggies, are good ways to keep the cost low.  Many items seem to be more expensive at first glance.  For example, Celtic Sea Salt usually costs about $6-$8 a pound.  But, that pound lasts me for months and months.  I use coconut milk quite often, the only thing I use from a can, and the brand I like is usually $2.29 a can.  I can find it now & then at the liquidation store for sometimes as low as $1 a can.  I usually buy all they have and stock up. I use pre-made organic, low sodium vegetable broth for cooking my beans.  I used to be happy when it was two for $5.  I've found it in the liquidation store as low as ten for $1.

Recently there were a lot of Bob's Red Mill products on the shelf.  I picked up some French beans I'd never seen before, Flageolet Beans, and there was a great recipe right on the back of the bag.  It's the perfect vegan meal, "protein, greens, & grains". The original recipe calls for Kamut berries, but I used some spelt berries I have already.  Any whole grain or combination of grains can be substituted for the Kamut berries such as:  whole oat groats, hull-less whole barley, wheat berries, long grain brown rice, or spelt berries.  I substituted fresh beet greens for the spinach and a fresh white onion from the garden for the green onion.

French Bean & Kamut Berries Salad

2 cups cooked Kamut berries or other whole grains
2 cups cooked Flageolet Beans
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 cups spinach or other fresh greens, chopped


1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 TB white wine vinegar (I used organic apple cider vinegar.)
2 TB Dijon mustard
1/4 cup shallots, minced
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Tarragon (I used fresh rosemary)
1 TB fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper.

Soak beans, about 1 cup, overnight.  Drain water and rinse off beans.  Place beans in a pot covered with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer placing lid on pot.  cook beans until beans are soft, about 1 hour.

Place Kamut or other Spelt berries, about 11/2 cups in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and place lid on pot.  Cook until berries are soft, about 1 hour.

While the beans and berries are cooking, mix vinaigrette ingredients together in a large bowl.  Chop veggies and place in bowl.

Drain beans and berries and rinse in cold water. Measure out 2 cups of both the beans and berries and add them to the other ingredients in the bowl.

Blend together  all ingredients and chill for a few hours or overnight.  Serves about 10.


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