I’m talking about all types of beans: string beans, black beans, Greek Gigantes beans, chick peas (better known as garbanzo beans), white beans, navy beans, and ranch-style beans. You get the point; they are indeed a very versatile legume. Here in Texas we even eat them for breakfast. I have a fantastic black bean brownie recipe that will amaze you, so “Please Join My Table” as we dive right into my favorites and not so favorite!

Garbanzo bean hummus is a pretty easy recipe. You can always buy dried beans and soak them overnight, then cook and drain them. I buy canned organic garbanzo beans, drain and rinse them, and remove the skins, then use them for my favorite recipe. Make this and you will never want store bought again.

My Easy Creamy Hummus

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, skins removed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, the best you can find
Juice of 1 large lemon or two tablespoons
2 tablespoons tahini (optional)
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS: In a food processor, blend together the chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (if using), cumin, oregano, and salt until smooth and creamy. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time to reach your own desired consistency. Pour into a serving bowl and top with a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika for color.


Grandma Grace’s Ham Bone Soup

This recipe was made for us several times by a good friend of mine that our daughters adopted as their grandma! She was Grandma Grace to us all. I am so glad she shared the recipe with me; we think of her every time I make it.

2 cups of mixed, dried assorted beans
2 quarts of water (You may substitute 2 cans of chicken broth for some of the water for a richer broth)
I meaty ham bone or 1 pound of ham pieces and/or ham hocks
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno

DIRECTIONS: Place beans in a bowl and soak overnight in water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Drain. Place the beans in a large 6-quart pot. Add 2 quarts of water or water/broth mixture. Add the ham bone or ham pieces/ham hocks. Simmer for 3 hours. Add Rotel tomatoes, onions and garlic. Pierce one jalapeno all over with a fork and add. Simmer 2 more hours. Sprinkle with Tabasco to taste. Serve with hot French bread. Best when reheated. Grace Garrison was from Corpus Christi.


My Not-So-Favorite BBQ Lima Beans

There is just something about the texture of Lima beans; I can’t seem to enjoy them. I made this dish hoping to disguise the taste for me and my family really enjoyed them!

2 1-pound cans Lima beans, drain and reserve the juice
1 tablespoon red miso paste (this adds a umami flavor)
2-3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely diced ginger
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt|
1 cup tomato puree
1 4-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
2 tablespoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon rice or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup applesauce or apple butter

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine red miso paste, tomato paste, tomato puree, Liquid Smoke, dry mustard, sea salt, rice or apple cider vinegar, and applesauce or apple butter. Set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the ginger, garlic, onion and salt for 2-3 minutes in the vegetable oil. Remove from heat and add the tomato mixture to make barbecue sauce. Put the beans in 9x12 or 13x18 ovenproof glass or ceramic pan/roaster/ lasagna pan. Mix in the barbecue sauce and the bay leaves. Pour the reserved bean liquid over the beans. Bake 1 1/2 hours uncovered until hot and bubbly. Remove bay leaves and serve.


Amy Travioli’s Amazing Black Bean Brownies

I added a bit more chocolate and some cinnamon; it gives the brownies another layer of flavor.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate squares
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups cooked black beans, drained well
1 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated instant coffee
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light agave nectar or honey

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 11x18 rimmed baking pan with parchment paper and lightly oil with vegetable oil spray (I use a coconut-oil spray). Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2-2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a few spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until light and creamy with an electric mixer, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside. Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well. Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. Note: They will be soft until refrigerated. The brownies will slice better if they are refrigerated several hours. Amy is from Kingwood.

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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