Counting on Beans

I was inspired by a post on that talked about how to use beans to manage the food budget. I have to confess that I tend to shy away from cooking with beans – so far. I love lentils but I generally use beans only to make chili.

My hesitation with beans might be slightly based on my first experience – about four years ago – when Ken and I decided to cook chili with dry beans. We soaked them for maybe an hour and then added way too much chili powder to the mix. The dinner ended with us trying to politely eat around the beans and at the same time consuming enormous amounts of milk to cope with the extreme spiciness of the dish…

So I decided that a good way to begin my “second” bean discovery would be to modify my chili recipe – making the bean more a center piece… and hopefully a little more tender.

Lenten chili:

  • 3 cups of mixed beans and lentils.  – I never really paid enough attention to how beautiful and colorful beans are. So I tried to make the nicest looking blend possible.
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 can tomato sauce

Sauk bean/lentil mix over night. Than simmer for two hours.

Heat some olive oil in large pot. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until soft. Add spices. Mix in tomato sauce and cooked beans. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. Garnish with whatever you like. Delicious.

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