Cooking Club: Whole Grains & Beans Bonanza

This month's Cooking Club ladies had fun trying out some new experimental "super natural" foods. In other words, we looked for yummy-looking recipes that included whole grains and beans of all varieties. Paula through a tri-tip in her crock pot and the main entree was taken care of while the rest of us worked on the sides and salad.


-White Bean-Sun dried Tomato Crostini
-Edamame Hummus and Pita Chips
-Wheat Berry Salad
-Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens
-Crock pot Tri-tip
-Chocolate Dairyless Mousse

Here are some of our faves from the Cooking Club experiment...

White Bean-Sun dried Tomato Crostini
Adapted from Holiday Theme Parties cookbook


1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons finely chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon oregano

18-20 slices whole wheat French baguette

Chopped fresh parsley

1. Combine beans, vinegar, oil and garlic in blender or food processor. Process until smooth and transfer to a small bowl.

2. Stir in tomatoes, salt, oregano, and pepper.

3. Cover bean spread and chill at least 1 hour to let flavors blend.

4. Toast French bread under broiler.

5. Spread bean spread on each slice of toast.

6. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Makes 18-20 appetizers.

Wheat Berry Salad
from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

2 cups soft wheat berries, rinsed
6 cups water
2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt, plus more as needed

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 generous handfuls spinach, stemmed and well rinsed
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Salt & freshly-ground pepper

1. Combine the wheat berries, water, and 2 teaspoons salt in large saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until plump and chewy, about an hour or so. (The berries should stay at al dente, and the only way to be sure they're done is to taste a few.) Drain and season to taste with more salt.

2. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts by placing them in a single layer over medium heat. Toss them around every few minutes until fragrant and toasty. Don't walk away or you will burn the batch.

3. Dressing: Combine the orange zest, juice, lemon juice, and shallot. Whisk the olive oil and season with a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

4. Toss the hot wheat berries with the spinach and pine nuts, citrus dressing, then top with the feta. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle with a bit more salt if needed.

Serves 6.

Dairyless Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
12 oz. silken soft tofu
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract, optional
Fine-grain sea salt

1. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer.
2. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. Slowly melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally, in a double boiler (or in a glass bowl over a small pot of boiling water).
4. Add the warm soy milk and silken tofu to the chocolate.
5. Puree with a hand blender or transfer to a food processor and process until silky smooth.
6. Stir in almond extract (if desired) and a generous pinch of sea salt.
7. Taste and adjust the flavoring as desired.
8. Chill in a large serving bowl or individual bowls for at least 1 1/2 hours.

Makes 6 servings.

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