Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Easy lunch or superfast dinner: Beans a la paprika:

This works with any bean white, black, lentils or chickpeas - it is quite addictive and if using canned beans, takes all but five minutes to prepare. How about for a quick lunch? Can also be assembled and eaten cold - if you have to bring lunch to work. Go easier on the garlic then or omit all together!

Beans a la Paprika - Total cost: $8.65 serves 3 ½ - or add another can of beans (no need to up the other ingredients) and for an extra dollar it will serve four comfortably. Of course this is a bit of an extravagance in the winter, when in summer this dish would easily be 2 or 3 dollars cheaper - but I had a craving!

You will need:

2 cans beans or equal amount prepared dried beans = $2.00
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes or if those are off season - 1 cup cucumbers chopped - or both! = $1.79 for organic cuke - ouch! plus $2.16 for the organic tomato - sigh!
1 onion - chopped finely = $0.55
2 tablespoons olive oil = $0.60
1 cup plain yogurt $0.90
2 - 3 cloves fresh garlic, or as much as you can handle and the people around you will let you get away with - it will not cook, so it will be quite strong - proceed with caution = $0.10

fresh parsley - only if you can get it cheap, otherwise omit - dried parsley is a waste of money in my opinion =$0.40
1 teaspoon - cumin seeds - if you don’t have seeds, powder will do, but you need to add it later - not directly into the oil or you will have a clumpy mess = $0.05
1 teaspoon paprika - kind of essential - if you omit, you will have to come up with a new name = $0.05
salt and pepper = $0.05

1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seed over low heat. When they start jumping and crackling immediately reduce heat and add the onions. Saute lightly until the onions soften. Add the chopped tomatoes if you are using them. If using cucumbers add them at the end. Add the drained and rinsed beans.

2. In a bowl mix yogurt with the freshly grated garlic (cheese grater works best) some salt and pepper and the paprika.

3. Chop parsley roughly and add to beans - this would be the point where you can add the cucumbers. Season with salt and pepper and stir to make sure everything is mixed and heated. Turn off the heat and fold in the yogurt sauce - again mixing thoroughly. Serve immediately with some crusty whole wheat bread.
This can easily be made vegan - simple omit the yogurt - obviously and use tofutti cream cheese or vegan sour cream.I for one am not a big fan of vegan yogurt, but love vegan cream cheese!

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