Simple Herb-Marinated Beans

How was your Easter? Did you eat yourself into a frenzy? We came precariously close 🙂 As such, this pot of simple, herb-marinated beans is definitely needed this week. It’s light and fresh (because spring is trying to appear), full of protein (to keep you away from all the leftover chocolate) and it lasts all week in the fridge (making your lunch or dinner choices so much easier). | Simple herb-marinated beans

I was working from home one day last week and didn’t have any leftovers to eat up for lunch, which sent me on a minor food-hunt around the apartment. Aside from some herbs and tomatoes, the fridge was looking fairly bare. But a quick nose around the pantry turned up a few cans of beans, and some shallots. From that, this bowl of really tasty herb-marinated beans was born, just in time for lunch! | Simple herb-marinated beans

I started with one can of butter beans (those gigantic ones) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough, so tossed in a can of cannellini beans as well. I love how big and meaty these beans are, and this salad makes a great base for many additions. Cucumber or peppers would be great, or even thinly sliced mushrooms. Just don’t skimp on the herbs. Everything is marinated in a fragrant herby vinaigrette which, when piled on a piece of toasted bread, makes for a perfect lunch. | Simple herb-marinated beans

The beans have been sitting in our fridge for the last 4 or 5 days and everyday, they always seem to taste just a little bit better. That’s what I love about salads like this – they’re easy to make and last more than an hour in the fridge.

We’ve eaten them on toasted bread, on their own as a salad, and even tossed in with roasted veggies for a tasty kick. I love it when an almost-empty fridge surprises me like this 🙂 | Simple herb-marinated beans

Simple Herb-Marinated Beans
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These healthy herb-marinated beans are easy to make, full of protein, and bursting with flavour.
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cans of beans (398 mL each), drained and thoroughly rinsed (I used butter beans and cannellini)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (I used cilantro and mint)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chopped shallot, fresh ginger, dried red chili flakes and white wine vinegar. Leave it to sit for 5 minutes while you are prepping the rest of the salad.
  2. Place the beans, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to combine.
  3. Add the shallot mixture to the beans and mix thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Serve as a side salad, or on top of toast or bread.
In a tightly-sealed container, this salad will last in the fridge up to one week.

Enjoy these simple herb-marinated beans! | Simple herb-marinated beans

Easy One-Pot Farro Jambalaya

We have made this easy, one-pot Farro Jambalaya a few times, and the flavour never disappoints! It’s quick enough to make on a week night, and is also a fantastic freezer-meal. Make it on the weekend, and you can have lunches for the week!

We were craving a nice warm “bowl food” dinner but wanted to load up on protein and good complex carbohydrates. I did a quick search online for a jambalaya or gumbo recipe, and decided to wing it with a mish-mash of various recipes.

Traditionally, jambalaya is usually made with Andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, white rice and a few different spices. We branched out and used Hot Italian sausage instead of Andouille, pinto beans instead of chicken, and farro instead of white rice.

While the Pearson-ified version is a bit of a deviation from the traditional, we were more than happy with the end result! We have been on an ancient-grain kick, adding either quinoa or farro to our meals. I love the nutty taste and chewy bite of farro, and it added the perfect texture to this meal. | One-pot farro jambalaya

The combination of farro (which, incidentally, has the same amount of protein per cup as quinoa), sausage, beans and shrimp give this meal a whopping 18 g of protein per bowl! Adding in the good carbs, from the farro, and this meal will keep you full, with your energy levels up, all day. Are you hooked yet? | One-pot farro jambalaya

If you’re still battling with cool / wet / white spring weather, and you’re not sure what to have for dinner tonight, give this easy weeknight farro jambalaya a try. It is the perfect healthy comfort food to warm up your day or evening 🙂

Easy One-Pot Farro Jambalaya
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6 - 8 bowls
  • Serving size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 15.7 g
  • Saturated fat: 5.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33 g
  • Sugar: 7.1 g
  • Sodium: 600 mg
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Cholesterol: 64.8 g
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
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  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 - 4 red thai chili peppers, optional depending on your love of spicy food
  • 2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup white wine, optional
  • 1 - 796 mL (28 fl oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 medium (~350 g) Hot Italian sausages
  • 1 - 398 mL can pinto beans, drained and rinsed very well
  • 1 cup dried farro, rinsed under running water and drained
  • 200 g prawns or shrimp meat
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
The spice mix
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Prick the sausages with a fork and cook under the broiler until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting the sausage into thick slices.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pan.
  3. Add the onion and saute until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, red thai chilis, bell peppers, and spices (thyme, cayenne pepper, paprika and oregano), stirring to combine everything. Continue to saute another 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and brown.
  4. De-glaze the pan with the white wine, if using, then add the can of diced tomatoes (with its juices) and 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.
  5. Add the chopped sausage, pinto beans and farro, and stir to combine.
  6. Bring the jambalaya up to a boil then add the bay leaves, partially cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the farro is tender, but still has a bite, about 25 minutes.
  7. In the last 5 minutes, add the prawns or shrimp meat and stir to combine.
  8. Just before serving, remove the bay leaves and add the chopped cilantro.
This jambalaya tastes even better the next day, and also freezes well.

Enjoy! | One-pot farro jambalaya

10-Spice Chocolate Chicken Chili

This 10-Spice Chocolate Chicken Chili is a flavourful, filling meal that is guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly, rainy (if you live in Vancouver!) evening. | 10-spice chocolate chicken chili

We were off on vacation last week, and spent our days cooking, eating, cycling and climbing. The two warm, sunny days we had, which were great for cycling, quickly morphed into cold days with heavy rain, so we made the best of it and did a lot of indoor climbing! On those days, we gravitated towards warm comfort foods, and this was one of those meals.

For some time, I have been eyeing a 10-Spice Chocolate Chili recipe from the My New Roots cookbook, and I finally got around to making it. I modified the recipe to accommodate our pantry stock, and upped the protein by-way of a roasted chicken, which we picked up the day before. | 10-spice chocolate chicken chili

The chili was really easy to make, requiring only a bit of chopping. I would say it took just under an hour to get dinner on the table, and most of that time was just letting the chili simmer away, leaving it to generate a great flavour. | 10-spice chocolate chicken chili

If you are concerned about using cocoa powder in a savory stew, don’t be! Just make sure to use a good-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder. Although I’ve never had it, I think the 10-spice chocolate combo would be along the same lines of a Mexican molé sauce – spicy, with a great depth of flavour 🙂 | 10-spice chocolate chicken chili

If you lead a very active lifestyle, this 10-Spice Chocolate Chicken Chili is a great meal for a few different reasons:

The sweet potatoes:

  • These little power-houses are a rich source of vitamins and minerals (A, C, D, iron, potassium, to name a few). They are also high in fibre, making them a slow-burning carbohydrate – perfect for keeping your energy levels up during the day!

The chicken and beans:

  • If you are vegetarian or vegan, the chicken can be left out and replaced with tofu or another variety of bean or lentil.
  • You will get a major boost of protein in one bowl, which will keep you full for the afternoon.

The flavour factor:

  • The chili tastes great the day you make it, and even better the second day. It freezes  well too, so make a big batch and portion the leftovers for those rushed days when you need dinner on the table quickly. | 10-spice chocolate chicken chili

We served this with a sprinkle of cilantro and a squeeze of lime, along with a few unsalted tortilla chips; it worked surprisingly well!

Whether you are still in the depths of winter or not, this is a great one-pot meal to have in your recipe book, and can be customized endlessly, based on your taste preferences – gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or meat-filled – anything goes 🙂

10-Spice Chocolate Chicken Chili
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 8 - 10 bowls
  • Serving size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 175
  • Fat: 3.2 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Sugar: 9.1 g
  • Sodium: 175 mg
  • Fiber: 9.4 g
  • Protein: 12 g
  • Cholesterol: 18.8 mg
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Based on the vegetarian chili recipe in My New Roots cookbook.
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium bell peppers (any colour), diced
  • 3 small sweet potatoes or yams, cubed
  • 2 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chipotle powder (less, if you don't want it too spicy)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (less, if you don't want it too spicy)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 - 5 dried bay leaves
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large on-the-vine tomatoes, diced
  • 1 (398 mL) can unsalted diced tomatoes
  • 2 - 3 cups water
  • 1 (398 mL / 14 fl oz) can black beans, rinsed well and drained
  • 200 g cooked chicken, cut into cubes (we used a good-quality roast chicken from the grocery store)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 limes, zest + juice
  • ¼ cup (handful) fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat a dash of oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the diced onion and garlic to the pan and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the ground cumin and ground coriander and stir to completely coat the onion. Saute for a few more minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add the remaining spices (cinnamon, chipotle powder, black pepper, ground cloves, cayenne pepper, salt, thyme, oregano, bay leaves and cocoa powder) and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes with their juice, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, black beans, maple syrup and 2 cups of water. Stir to combine. You want enough liquid in the pot to just cover the vegetables. If necessary, add more water.
  5. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
  6. About 5 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the cooked chicken, lime juice and zest, and chopped coriander. Taste and season to your liking, adding more salt, if necessary.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with additional cilantro and a few unsalted tortilla chips.
This recipe tastes better the longer it sits, so feel free to make it the day before serving. It also freezes well.

Enjoy! | 10-spice chocolate chicken chili