Friday, April 20, 2012

cajun pinto beans with roasted capsicum dressing

This weeks weather has really turned around for the better - just in time for the weekend!
With the brighter skies I always find myself wanting big salads.
Today's was a bit of a winner.

But, before I get into this recipe, I just want to talk about pests.

Garden pests.
Seriously devastated when I woke up this morning to see that something had been into my lettuce.
How dare they.
Maybe I'm a bit precious when it comes to my garden, but when you've watched something grow from a seed and something other than you gets to enjoy it... it gets me a little fired up.

But on the flip side, it's survival of the fittest out there.
I think back to the many times Joel and I foraged for our food.
How many times have I taken figs, chestnuts, pine nuts, nettles etc.. out of the mouths of little animals.
It's simply karma.

Well, I was going to use my nice sweet cos lettuce with this recipe.
But instead had to result in using my abundant supply of rocket and mizuna.
So, really you could substitute any kind of green into this salad.

Something that hasn't been touched my pests are my marigolds. 
They look and taste great!
Yes, taste.. add marigolds to anything - I love them as a garnish on salads.

Out of the garden now and into the kitchen.
We love our legumes.
I keep a large stock of every kind of dried bean in the cupboard.
When rifling through my stash, these pinto beans were at the bottom of the basket, so dug them out and starting soaking.

With no real recipe in mind I started digging in the refrigerator and pulled out this capsicum.
Growing up we never really ate these peppers, so I'm still getting used to adding capsicum to recipes, but you can't go wrong with roasting.
Peppers plus beans lead me to cajun.
Dinner is sorted.


(serves 2-3)

Pinto Beans
1 c pinto beans, soaked for 6-8 hours
1 tblsp coconut oil
2 tsp cajun spice
couple of generous pinches of salt

Rinse and strain the beans after soaking and combine with enough water to cover in a heavy based pan. 
Simmer for 20-30 mins then drain.
Heat oil in a fry pan add spices, beans and salt and fry for 5 - 10 mins until fragrant and starting to brown.

Capsicum Dressing
1 medium red capsicum
1 tblsp tahini
1/4 medium lime juice
couple of pinches of salt to taste

Heat oven to 220 degrees and poke the capisum all over with a fork for even cooking.
Roast in hot oven for 50 mins - 1 hour.
Remove from oven and cool.
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and process until well combined.

Pan Polenta
1/4 c polenta
1 c water

Combine water and polenta in a small jug.
Heat a not stick pan and pour the polenta mixture in.
Let it simmer down for about 5 - 10 mins.
When polenta becomes firm and starts to lift off the pan, flip and cook for a further 5 - 10 mins.


Arrange some green lettuce leaves on a plate.
Scoop the pinto beans on top.
Top with some sliced red radish (the pests hadn't got into these either!).
Drizzle the capsicum dressing over the top and serve with the polenta.

Dressing on the side? No thank you! x

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