Tomato Free Black Bean and Green Pepper Salsa Recipe

This is a take on a tomato free salsa my mother in law created for me because I can’t eat tomatoes while I am still nursing R due to his tomato allergy.  I have been having people find my fresh tomato salsa recipe while searching for a “tomato free” version probably because I wrote in that post that I had recently discovered R’s allergy.

Feel free to adjust to your personal taste but remember that this is one of those recipes that really gets better once the flavors have a chance to meld for a few hours.  Do I wait that long to dig in?  No, but that is what doubling recipes is for, isn’t it?

Supplies

Cutting board, knife

Bowl/sealable container (I love lock & locks (amazon affiliate link))

Ingredients

1 cup of diced green pepper (I think red pepper and yellow pepper would look really pretty here, and taste good, but my husband has had reactions to fresh red pepper)

1/2 cup of diced onion

1 cup of rinsed canned black beans (I used the Eden Organic variety that I buy via Amazon (amazon affiliate link) but the cans do arrive dented most of the time so take that into consideration)

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 a fresh large lemon, limes would be tasty here as well)

1-2 teaspoons of fresh minced cilantro

1 teaspoon of agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt (start with 1/2 a teaspoon) and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions

Rinse your black beans, you won’t use the full can but I am sure there are other uses you can find for some black beans!  Prepare your other ingredients and combine in a bowl, mix and adjust the flavors to taste.  It is a very mild recipe because I serve it to the kids but some chopped up jalepeños would perk this up, or maybe some chipotle peppers?   As I wrote above, you can experiment with other kinds of bell pepper and the like but this is a tasty base.  It is crunchy with a hint of both sweet and sour.  I especially like to eat this with corn free Beanfields Rice and Bean Chips, another reason not to make the salsa too salty is if you plan on eating it with some sort of chip.  The juice at the end of the bowl when the salsa has been consumed is great with those end-of-the-bag chip crumbles mixed in, by the way.  Just eat it with a spoon, which I may or may not be doing as I type this.

In the picture above I served the salsa with Mediterranean Brown Rice Couscous from Lundberg Farms as well as some fried mushrooms, garbanzo beans, onions, garlic, spinach, and spices for a nice spring lunch.  If you try this out, I’d love to hear your thoughts or adjustments!   Also, if you like the flavor and texture mix, try Gena Hamshaw’s Cucumber Guacamole – I have made it without the tomatoes in her recipe and the crunch from the cucumbers is particularly awesome.  Is it time for a picnic yet?

Tomato Salsa Recipe

(Linked to CybelePascal.com’s Allergy Friendly Friday 8/19/11, click through for other recipes!)

So I can’t eat this anymore at the moment, this photographed batch was actually still in the fridge when I realized R had issues with me eating tomatoes so I never got to finish it.  What I did have was yummy, though!  This isn’t a saucy salsa, it is a little more like a pico de gallo style.  Just good lime and cilantro flavors all mixed together.  I used to eat salsa for breakfast, is that weird?

Anyway, this is adapted from The New Best Recipe (amazon affiliate link) from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine.  I actually discovered Cook’s Illustrated (amazon affiliate link) which is still a favorite book even with our dietary restrictions.  The original one is on page 25.  I love reading the story behind each recipe.  I didn’t have all their ingredients when I first made it so my version was then born (no tomato juice, no jalapeno, white onions instead of red, and a lot more of everything else).  E loves this, she will ask for salsa for breakfast, I wonder who she got that from?

Supplies

Cutting board, knife

Large bowl/sealable container (I love lock & locks (amazon affiliate link))

Ingredients

4 lbs. of ripe tomatoes (I used roma here but you can try other kinds)

1 1/2 white onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced

1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (I have tried bottled lime juice and it was not good)

Salt and pepper to taste (the best part is “checking” for the right amounts)

Directions

Some people like to seed their tomatoes but I love tomato seeds and since I leave out the tomato juice here I just chop the tomatoes small and toss them with the other ingredients.  It is good to let the flavors meld awhile but you can still enjoy this right away.  I shake the container around so everything is evenly mixed.  The salt will bring tomato juices out of the tomatoes which is nice.  Enjoy with potato chips or, if you can have corn, corn chips.

Potato chips are a staple snack at our house due to the lack of many other options but I have always eaten salsa with potato chips, even as a kid.

Vegan Black and White Bean Mushroom Chili Recipe

This recipe is a variant of one I found during the great cookbook checkout phase of January 2010.  I reserved and checked out every single allergy or gluten free cookbook I could get my hands on at the library and searched for things that would be “safe” for us to eat.  Some I’m sure were great for someone but they were devoid of recipes that met my criteria.  Others had one gem, like “Gluten Free Sugar Free Cooking” by Susan O’Brien (amazon affiliate link).  On page 131 there is a recipe for bean and mushroom chili and I have had good luck adapting it into a good option to serve with rice or potatoes (the usual suspects in our household).

The first time I made this I worried it wouldn’t be thick enough so I added arrowroot powder (bad idea for lots of reasons, it is not a thickener I can make work for me without being gross texture wise, now I use potato flour to thicken but not for this recipe).  If you just trust the recipe a little bit you’ll see it has a nice thick consistency after you cook it long enough.  It stops being soupy and becomes more like a thick sauce.

Supplies

Large frying pan or saute pan (I use a 3 quart saute pan from all-clad, amazon affiliate link)

Knife, cutting board

Measuring spoons

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chile powder (sometimes I have chili, sometimes I have chile powder, I use them interchangeably though they are different)

1 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds (I had never used them before this recipe but they’re worth seeking out)

1 large onion, minced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

12 ounces of mushrooms, sliced (I use an egg slicer sometimes to do this, E loves to help and you can see in the photos I posted earlier that you can just do it over the pan as you cook, amazon affiliate link)

1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 ounce can of white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 6 ounce can of tomato paste

1/2 cup water

3 cups vegetable broth

Fresh cilantro (to garnish, optional)

Directions

Heat your pan on medium and add your oil, it should shimmer before you add your spices.  This is different than my usual strategy for recipes, I normally fry my onions and then add spices but you want to add your mustard seeds, chile powder, cumin, and cardamom and when the mustard seeds start to make a popping sound you’ll add your onions.  Stir to coat them a little bit and then after a minute or two add your garlic and let that fry for a minute.  Now you’ll add your chopped mushrooms.  I like to give them two or three minutes to cook before adding the 1/2 cup of water but you may need to deglaze your pan at this point so if things look like they’re sticking, go ahead and add some of the water.  If you haven’t added the water you can add it after the mushrooms cook a little bit.  Now cover the pan and let everything cook while you prepare your other ingredients.  Check on the mushrooms periodically, you want to cook them for about 10 minutes.

Now add your beans, tomato paste, veggie broth, and tomato paste.  Stir everything and keep heating it on medium until it has  some simmering/bubbling going on and now reduce it to low and put the pan lid on slightly off kilter to allow some steam to escape.  Stir and check on it periodically but it should cook together and meld after at least 30 minutes.  It is different every time I make it.

This obviously needs salt but the beans still carry some saltiness and you can salt it when all is said and done.  You can use a mix of white and brown mushrooms or all white or all brown.  Both have been good with this but I think the brown mushrooms are more flavorful while the white mushrooms can be too chewy if not sliced thinly enough.  It is a pretty flexible recipe.

See more photos here, I used my rice recipe from here without the lima bean mixture and the fresh salsa?  I have pictures ready but have to type the recipe up soon!

(I shared this post at Allergy Friendly Friday 6/3/11 at CybelePascal.com)

A Visit to Star Nursery

This is a great outing for kids, we went to Star Nursery this weekend (go early, it is warming up fast and it gets busy there as well).  They have a small fish and turtle pond and you get to pull your kids and purchases around in a red wagon.  They love it!

We planted garlic, carrots, tomatoes (better boy, early girl, and cherry varieties – this article suggested some but we had luck with early girl last year), pumpkin, snap pea, strawberries (two varieties), cilantro, basil, dill, parsley, and apple mint.  We also planted two flowering plants (cassias) and a nectarine and peach tree.  I love fruit trees, we have a pomegranate working along already and a large fig tree.  You can see the peach tree blossom in the shot above with the nectarine we bought behind it.  I also splurged (ok, it was $3.99 and we had a 20% off coupon off the back of the water authority 2011 calendar) on a kneeling pad so I can kneel on it for weeding.  It is awesome!  Oh, and a pair of gardening gloves so that I can work with R watching me and grab him with clean hands if he suddenly wants to be picked up.

I put the herbs in a container but if one of them takes over I’ll do some moving around.  Won’t it be great if I can just grab a handful when I’m cooking?  I had luck with mint last year and basil the year before that.  Here’s hoping!

We also took the kids out in the bike trailer to the park and had a great time.  R actually fell asleep both ways and we got some good family exercise in.  I love my new bike, my husband got it for my birthday and it is a Specialized Ariel (not the same model, mine is blue but maybe bike shops have a different selection?).  The shop in boulder city gave us 10% off which really helped and I found a helmet at Costco this past week.

I will take some pictures of the tomatoes, etc. once I am done putting the mulch down around them.  The article I linked to above said to pick varieties that mature in 70 days or less because you don’t want to hit the high heat.  Then you can encourage fruiting again later in summer for another crop but at above 90 degrees the flowers will fall from the tomatoes so you have to plant now and buy the bigger plants, not the little 6 packs.  Of course if I planned better I could have started my own seedlings for cheaper on the porch a while back but I don’t have that much time.

I love spring!

Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe

I adapted this recipe from one I found online here because of our particular restrictions both with allergies and with toddler tastes. Do check out the original if the idea of some ginger and jalapeño are appealing to you! We use this in a salad with a base of brown rice couscous or quinoa (amazon affiliate link), include various veggies and lettuce, and top with roasted curry chickpeas (recipe to follow). Here is a link to additional photos.

Supplies

Food Processor (or Blender)

Bowl, Funnel

Knife, Cutting Board

Citrus Juicer/Reamer

Ingredients

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup lime juice

1/3 cup agave nectar

2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Put a peeled garlic clove and cilantro into your food processor run until chopped well, maybe 20 seconds. Add the lime juice, vinegar, salt, and agave nectar and turn on the food processor. Place the funnel over the food processor and slowly add the olive oil.

I leave it in the food processor if I’ve made it a little early so I can give it a final spin before putting out to be added to the salad but it does keep pretty well sealed for one day. You’ll want to bring it to room temperature potentially if the oil has made the dressing a little goopy in the fridge.

E likes to dip her veggies or quinoa/brown rice couscous in the dressing. She also loves to help add the ingredients to the food processor and press the buttons!