Easy Economical Vegetarian Main Dishes

Last week I printed the testimonial about a “poor” woman raised in a large family of 12 children who were fed beans, cornbread, and greens two meals a day most of the year. In her adult life, the doctors, and particularly the dentist, pronounced her extremely healthy.

I’ll admit it; at times I hesitate to serve beans and legumes as often as I could for fear I’m serving poor man’s food, and not pleasing the family. I need to remember, I’m the mom and I do know what’s best for the family’s nourishment and finances.

I hope you were encouraged to learn that this “poor” woman enjoyed vibrant health as an adult. I thought we could all be inspired if we shared with one another family favorite, tried and true recipes for beans and legumes.

New Blog Contest:
To get started I will publish one of my tastiest lentil recipes, Curried Lentils. It goes together quickly and easily, especially if you pressure cook the lentils first, which takes just 15 minutes.

Several months ago I asked readers to share their family friendly recipes that rely mostly on beans or legumes to encourage struggling homemakers who are trying to stretch their paychecks while adopting a healthier lifestyle.

My husband Duane passed away shortly thereafter and I am now, just geting to award  the best recipes/creative/versatile recipes with a complimentary bottle of safe and effective Norwex Fresh Wash for cleaning fruits and veggies ($26.99 value), or Norwex Carpet Stain Buster ($26.99), a complete carpet cleaning solution used for shampooing, spot cleaning, and deodorizing effectively without harmful residues.

The winners  have been notified by email and will receive their prizes shortly.  The winners are:

Jenny, Amy, Jackie, and Hope.  I hope you will read their winning recipes and try them out soon.
I liked Jenny’s idea for adapting basic bean recipes to Italian, Chinese, Indian, and Mexican seasonings.  I loved Amy’s recipe for snack sprouts made with lentils dried in a dehydrator -this is a very unique idea.  Hope gets  the award for the most complete and extensive recipe collection of main dish legume recipes, and Jackie posted a recipe for Lebanese Vegetable Salad

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36 comments to Easy Economical Vegetarian Main Dishes

  • Jenny

    Recipe for lentil cheese casserole in pressure cooker:
    2 and 2/3c broth
    3/4c brown lentils (uncooked)
    1 chopped onion
    2T olive oil
    1/2c brown rice (uncooked)
    4oz shreded Swiss cheese
    2t basil
    1t each: salt, oregano, thyme, garlic powder
    pepper to taste

    Saute onion in olive oil, then add rice and lentils and the rest of the ingredients. Cook on med-high heat in the pressure cooker for 15 mins. Serve with salad or cooked greens, and tomatoes (fresh or canned).

    Boston Baked Beans in Pr Cooker
    Soak 2-3c dried pinto or red beans for at least 8 hr, rinse well.

    Fry a few slices of bacon in the cooker (this is optional), add
    7T brown sugar or natural equivalent
    1t mustard
    1 onion, pureed
    4T ketchup
    1t salt
    enough water

    Pressure cook everything for 20 mins. let pressure drop naturally. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

  • Jenny

    i hit the button too soon. :-)
    We eat legumes for protein much of the time and there are so many ways to make them yummy. A basic ‘formula’ i use goes like this:

    1. saute onions and garlic, add some chopped tomatoes
    2. add seasonings (some days Italian–oregano, basil, thyme, Indian–curry, chili pepper; Mexican–cumin, pinch of cinnamon, pinch of cocoa, oregano, chili; Chinese–soy sauce, ginger, sesame seed or oil)
    3. add legumes (some you need to soak, some you don’t, here’s a great chart! and cook with enough water till they are done

    serve over any cooked grain, with flatbread, yeast bread, or quick bread

    add a salad or other vegetable and a lovely vegetarian meal awaits!

  • Our family’s favorite “poor” woman’s recipes…Enjoy! Tami Maloney, Decatur, AL

    Italian Lentils

    3 T olive oil
    1 C shredded carrot
    ½ C shredded celery
    ½ C chopped green or red pepper
    2 T minced garlic
    ½ C fresh basil, cut into strips
    3½ C water
    1½ C lentils
    1 quart diced tomatoes
    1 lb. penne pasta
    2 C shredded colby or cheddar cheese

    In large dutch oven heat olive oil and vegetables over medium heat, simmer 5 minutes. Add garlic, basil, water, and lentils. Cover and bring to boil. Add tomatoes; cover and reduce to simmer for one-hour * (or longer). Meanwhile, cook pasta and shred cheese if necessary. Serve lentils over pasta and top with lots of cheese. *Reduce cooking time using a pressure cooker.

    A great make-ahead recipe because the flavors blend well the next day. Recipe freezes well, too.

    South of the Border Mexican Casserole

    1 packet taco seasoning
    1 C salsa
    1 1/2 C black beans
    1 C pinto beans
    1 10-oz frozen corn
    1 C monterrey jack cheese (divided)

    Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, combine taco seasoning and salsa. Blend well. Add both types of beans, corn and ½ C cheese. (Can make freezer meal at this point). Place in glass baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and stir. Top with remaining cheese and bake additional 5-10 minutes uncovered.

    If freezing, place mixture in gallon size ziplock bag. Remove as much air as possible when sealing bag. Freeze in flat square shape for quicker defrosting later.

    To make from freezer meal, place frozen bag in sink of cold water for 20 minutes to thaw slightly. Break apart large frozen pieces and place mixture in glass baking dish. Bake 25 minutes in 350° oven (cover with foil). Remove foil, stir, top with cheese, and heat 5 additional minutes.

    Serve as soft tacos:
    Place casserole mixture on small flour tortillas and top with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, avocado or guacamole…

    Can also be served as ‘dip” with tortilla chips. Remove casserole from oven, and top with sour cream, lettuce, tomato….

  • Amy

    I couldn’t choose which one I wanted to post, but this recipe is a real winner with my kids, even the picky one!

    Snack Sprouts

    1/2 cup lentils
    2 tablespoons onion powder
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
    1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

    Soak 1/2 cup lentils 8 to 12 hours, drain. Sprout 3-5 days. Rinse 2 times daily, grow until the length of shoots equals the seed length.

    Place sprouts in a bowl and mix in 2 tbls. onion powder, 1 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 tbls. tamari soy sauce and a pinch of cayenne pepper (if desired). Spread out thinly on a baking tray, and bake at 250°F until brittle and crispy, which takes about 1 hour.

    Alternatively, the snack sprouts can be dried in a food dehydrator.

    When the sprouts have dried out, store in a container with a lid, which will keep them dry and crisp. Enjoy!

  • I love to can my beans. This makes them much more likely to end up in our family dishes. If I can grab them from the pantry ready to eat, then they get used much more frequently. They are cheap too!

    I love beans! There are so many different varieties and so many different things you can do with them. My love for beans began when budget cuts were demanded and the first thing to get cut was the grocery bill. I researched many ways to use beans and discovered how to can my own beans.

    You will need a pressure canner, preferably one with a weighted gauge, pint canning jars with new lids and rings, beans of any kind, a ladle, potholders, tongs, plastic knife, and salt, if desired.

    First, in a large mixing bowl, pour one bag of beans and fill with water. Let soak for at least 2 hrs. The bigger the bean the longer it will need to soak.

    Second, fill your clean pressure canner, a little over half way, with water and heat to a boil. Warm jars in a 200° oven and lids in the boiling water. I use 8 jars because that is how many my canner holds.

    Next, drain and rinse beans. Ladle beans into hot jars only 3/4 full. Then ladle the hot water over the beans. Add 1t salt to each jar if desired. Using plastic knife release air bubbles in the jar. Using tongs remove lids from the boiling water and place on each jar. Using potholder, tightly apply rings.

    Lastly, carefully place jars into what is left of the boiling water. Make sure the jars don’t touch. Follow manufacturers directions for using your canner. 10 pounds pressure for 60min.

    When jars are cool, you have your own canned beans just as if you bought them from the store! Of course with the exception that you know exactly what is in your beans and it cost much less. If you want Ranch Style Beans just add chili powder when you add salt. Use white navy beans and a little brown sugar and you have baked bean style.

  • Adriel Brown

    I recently requested this recipe from my pastor’s wife. We eat a lot of dried beans at our house and this recipe for Black Eyed Peas was a tasty change. It has a delicious broth and spicy kick.

    1 lb dried black eyed peas
    6 cups water
    2 tsp salt
    3 tbsp dried parsley
    3 tbsp dried onion
    6 cloves chopped garlic
    1 bay leaf
    pepper to taste
    1 can petite diced tomatoes
    additional red pepper flakes if desired

    Throw it all into a crock pot or a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, and simmer for a couple of hours.

  • Rochelle E

    Ham and Bean Soup

    2 cups pinto beans (clean and soak overnight)*
    1-2 cups cubed ham (turkey ham substitutes well)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3-4 cans of water
    2 (15.5 oz) can tomato sauce w/no salt added
    salt, if needed

    Rinse beans after soaking them and combine them with rest of ingredients (except tomato sauce ) in a crock pot. Simmer on low or high depending on when you want to eat. Add tomato sauce during last 1-2 hours of cooking. If you want thicker soup, mash some of the beans. Of course, you could just cook it on the stove, if you don’t have a crock pot, for 2-3 hours (I think). Serve with homemade whole wheat tortillas.

    *I sometimes substitute one cup of black beans for one cup of the pinto beans.

  • April

    One of our favorite (and simple!) legume recipes is Black Beans and Rice:

    1 lb. Black beans, picked over (to remove stones) and rinsed
    Soak overnight – beans covered double with water
    Bring to gentle boil/simmer in ~3 cups (to cover and then just a bit) chicken
    broth (water is fine, but it tastes richer in chicken broth) Watch
    carefully, add more liquid as needed to keep moist.
    Simmer until soft, 1 1/2 – 2 hours
    Drain if desired – reserve liquid to add later if needed.
    Add cilantro (1-2 Tbsp dried), juice of 1 small lime, and salt to taste.
    Mix with one pot of cooked rice (starting with 1 cup uncooked)
    Return liquid or add chicken broth to desired consistency.

  • Jackie Spencer

    Bean & Legume Recipe Contest

    Lentil-Rice Pottage

    1 Cup Lentils 1/2 Cup Olive or Canola Oil
    3/4 Cup Rice 3 Large Onions, slivered
    1 Tbsp. salt 4 or more cups water

    Pick and wash lentils and place in a deep saucepan. Cover with water. Add salt and cook for about 20 minutes. Add uncooked rice and cook for another 20 minutes. In the meantime, saute slivered onions in oil. Cook until onions are a deep golden color. This will take 30 or more minutes. Drain the oil off onions onto the lentil-rice mixture. Cook the pottage until all moisture is absorbed. To serve, turn on a platter and arrange sauteed onions on top. Serve with the following salad, putting the salad on top of the pottage with each serving.

    Lebanese Vegetable Salad

    1 small head lettuce 1/2 bunch green onions
    2 large tomatoes 1 bell pepper
    1 medium cucumber 4 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
    1 clove garlic 1/3 cup oil
    1 bunch radishes 1 lemon
    1 tsp. each salt and pepper

    Wash, drain, and cut all vegetables in bite size pieces. Mash garlic with salt and add lemon juice. Add this, spices and mint to vegetables. Pour oil over salad and toss lightly. Serve immediatly.

    This is a lebanese meal that my grandmother made almost every Friday, as she did not eat meat on Fridays. She came from Lebenon alone when she was 19 years old to join her brothers and sister who had come earlier.
    Hope you enjoy the meal, it is one of my favorites!

  • Karen Henrikson

    We have a family favorite bean recipe I have been making for years as my “quick” meal (one I can throw on in minutes before I go shopping and know my kids or husband can turn on the fire and oven, and it will be all ready when I come home), and as a kid friendly meal I always know will go over big with all my kids (now ages 3 – 12, but even when they were infants just beginning table food, they all always liked this one). I always serve this meal with a fresh green salad. It is also a great meal for dieters. I was on Weight Watchers for a time and just eliminated the cheese, and made the lower fat version of the cornbread, and it was great! Also, these recipes make a great gift idea. Layer the lentils and rice ingredients in a jar and it makes a wonderful “gift in a jar” or meal for a shut in. I mix all the cornbread ingredients (with dry milk powder) and include the recipe with it. We did this for Christmas gifts one year for teachers. Everyone loved it!

    Lentils and Rice Stew (you can multiply this as much as is necessary for your family. We do it 3x)

    In a large pot combine:
    3 c. chicken broth or water with chicken boullion
    3/4 c. dry lentils
    1/2 c. brown rice
    3/4 c. chopped onion (or 1/4 c. dry minced)
    1 tsp. dry minced basil
    1/2 tsp. dry minced oregano
    1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1-2 fresh minced cloves)
    1 tsp. salt

    Bring to a boil and let simmer for one hour or until water is absorbed. Top with grated cheddar cheese (optional). We serve this with corn bread.

    Country Kitchen Cornbread (fresh ground is best)
    In large bowl, mix together:
    1 c. corn meal
    1 c. whole wheat flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/3 c. sugar (or fructose)
    1 T. baking powder

    In separate bowl mix together:
    3/4 c. milk
    1/2 c. sour cream (or yogurt)
    2 eggs
    6 T. melted butter (or canola oil)

    combine the two sets of ingredients, pour into a greased 9X9 baking pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve with a mixture of half honey and butter whipped together.

  • We are a family of 7 ~ dad, mom, 4 boys from 14-6 and 1 girl in the mix. Every week or so I cook 4 pounds of pinto beans in my electric roaster oven. We use these throughout the week for a variety of meals. I rarely presoak the beans simply because I usually don’t think about putting the beans on until late morning and we usually want the first helping that evening! I sort through the beans (or my children do) to make sure there are no pebbles then I rinse them. I put them in my roaster and fill it up with water, and turn it on to 400 degrees. After about an hour I will drain the water and fill it with fresh water, this tends to keep them from being so, shall we say “potent”. When they have cooked for a few more hours I will add garlic (either fresh or powder), chopped onions, chili poweder, cumin, salt and pepper. When they are completely soft I will often add some canned tomatoes, picante sauce or tomato sauce or paste it just depends on what I happen to have in the pantry and what I feel like doing. Just don’t add any tomato products until the beans are as soft as you want them, the acid in the tomatos stops the beans from getting any softer.

    That night I will usually serve the beans with cornbread. I will also put the remainder of the beans in containers and freeze them. This is very important as beans tend to get more “potent” the longer they are in the refrigerator.

    For lunch I make bean burritos by heating up the beans and mashing them. We put them in either corn or flour tortillas and add lettuce, tomato and cheese to them.

    We will sometimes make chalupas. To make chalupas (or tostados) you fry a corn tortilla until crispy and put mashed beans, lettuce, tomato and cheese on top.

    One of our favorite meals is taco soup. I put some of the beans in a pot, add about 1 pound of cooked ground beef (or deer), a can of tomato paste, a can of corn, a can of diced tomatoes and a packet of taco seasoning. Although I ususally skip the packet of taco seasoning and just add more chili powder, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper.

    With the exception of the taco soup, all of these meals costs about $2. We will usually also have vegetables from our garden and fruit to round out the meal.

    This has really helped my grocery budget and my family really enjoys these meals. As my oldest says, “Burritos beat peanut butter and jelly anytime.”

    Only by His Grace,

  • This Lentil Soup is orginally from a church cookbook that I changed to be gluten free for my house.

    2-4 strips bacon
    1/3 cup chopped onion
    1/3 cup chopped celery
    1 Tbl oil
    1/3 cup gluten free flour
    7 Cups water-I like to do half water/half beef stock sometimes
    1 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp gf beef bouillon
    1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp pepper
    3/4 cup lentils
    1 bay leaf
    1 cup diced potato
    1/2 tsp nutmeg

    In a soup pot, cook bacon, onion and celery in oil until veggies are transparent. Add flour stirring constantly. After the flour has blended in, slowly add water, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 2-3 hours.

  • Black Bean soup/stew – great with corn bread!

    1 T olive oil
    1 onion, chopped,
    4 cloves of garlic, chopped
    3 celery ribs, chopped
    a large handful of baby carrots, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped, seeds removed
    1 Jalapeño pepper, chopped, seeds removed
    1 15 oz jar of chopped tomatoes with chilies
    2 T cumin
    1 bay leaf or Garni Bouquet (see recipe below)
    1 quart vegetable stock
    3 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed, mash one can’s worth

    -In a large soup pot, cook onion, garlic and celery in olive oil a few minutes
    -Add the rest and simmer 20-30 minutes.
    -Remove bay leaf or Garni bouquet before serving

    Bouquet Garni- for use in soups

    12 dried bay leaves
    1/4 C dried thyme
    1/4 C dried parsley
    2 T dried celery leaves
    -Crush the bay leaves and mix with remaining herbs.
    -Cut a double layer cheesecloth into 12, 3 inches squares
    -Place 1 T of herb mix onto cheesecloth square and tie with string
    -Store in an airtight jar.

  • 13 bean soup(Bob’s red mill) or any combination of dried beans
    Soak beans and cook beans according to Nourishing Traditions recipe book.
    Any combination of beef, chicken, vegetable, tomato stock and or broth, using water to make up the difference if you don’t have enough on hand. I simmer with the top off the pot so it reduces. I as always cook it different amounts of time, I sometimes run out of broth. If I don’t have extra diced tomatoes on hand, I will just use water. I do think I often go through more than 4 cups of liquid, though. I also find that beef broth and/or stock does add a richer taste. But, I just use whatever I have.
    Can or 2 of diced tomatoes depending on how many you have on hand and how much liquid you need.
    Raw or cooked sausage and/or bacon and/or ham. I have tried them all and in combination. What I have learned the hard way is boiling the beans with a hamhock is a pain as you have to drain off the grease. Fully cook and drain all raw sausage and bacon before you put it in or you will have the same problem. My favorites to use are buffalo or chicken Italian or andouille sausage. Yours included precooked chicken Italian sausage that I just diced and threw in. I rarely add the sausage until the last 2 hours or so. I want the flavors to blend in, but don’t want the soup to rob the meat of all flavors.
    Garlic, and there is no such thing as too much in my book. Just track it to your audience. IF I am baking something the evening the beans are soaking and IF I have a full head or close, I will roast the head and squeeze a full head in the day the soup is cooking. It lends a rich, sweet taste.
    Sea Salt
    Herbs and spices: Whatever you are in the mood for on a given day. Yours had coriander and cumin. I have used bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cayenne, red pepper, black pepper, you name it. I usually only put it in during the last few hours
    Variations: 1 bag of frozen green beans, left over veggies in the fridge, roasted chilies
    Add it all together and simmer.

  • Hope Ware


    Here you go! Some of our favorites include:

    Honey Baked Lentils
    From: More With Less Cookbook
    VERY versatile! I serve it with fresh muffins, raw veggies, and fruit for a complete (and often vegetarian) meal!

    Serves 8

    Combine in dutch oven or saucepan:
    1 lb. Lentils (2.5 cups)
    1 small bay leaf
    5 cups water
    2 tsp. Salt

    Bring to boil. Cover tightly and reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes. Do not drain. Discard bay leaf. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Combine separately and add to lentils:

    1 tsp. Dry mustard
    1/4 tsp. Powdered ginger
    1 Tblsp. Soy sauce or (2 Tblsp. Braggs aminos)
    1/2 chopped onions
    1 cup water

    Cut into 1 inch pieces:

    4 slices bacon or 1/2 cup small, diced ham (Turkey bacon will work great!) I precook the bacon a bit before adding.

    Stir most of the bacon into lentils and sprinkle remainder on top.

    Pour over all:

    1/2 cup honey

    Cover tightly. Bake 1 hour. Uncover last 10 minutes to brown bacon.


    – 1/2 lb. Browned ground beef or sausage instead of bacon.
    – Make it vegetarian. It’s VERY good without any meat at all.
    – Serve with hot rice and pass the soy sauce.
    – Replace ginger, soy sauce, and 1 cup water with 2 Tblsp. Sugar, 1 tsp. Oregano, 2 cups tomato sauce. Omit honey.

    Poor Man’s Chickpea Soup
    From: Nick Stellino’s Mediterranean Flavors

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this soup! I make it all the time! I often make it vegetarian. I use a crockpot. 7-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Also, if you pre-cook some beans in a pan while the soup is cooking in the crockpot, you can puree the beans and add them at the end. When I cook beans, I like to soak a LOT of them. I often cook them in batches on the stovetop and then freeze them in freezer bags. Then, when I’m ready to make soup, I just unthaw and add – much like you would canned beans. If you puree several cups of beans separately, you can add this puree to thicken the soup at the end. This eliminates the step of pureeing 1/2 of the soup.

    1 carrot
    1 white onion
    1 stalk celery
    4 garlic cloves
    3 Tblsp. Olive oil
    1/4 tsp. Red pepper flakes (I omit this. It was too spicy for the children)
    1 bay leaf (I usually add 2 or 3)
    1 – 2 inch sprig fresh rosemary (We found the rosemary a little bit of an overwhelming flavor. We like it better without it.)
    1 tsp. Thyme
    1 1/2 cups chickpeas (soaked overnight) or 3 (16 oz.) cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    1 smoked hamhock (I have made it with ham chunks, bacon, or turkey bacon would be good, too.)
    5 cups chicken stock
    1 cup tomato sauce
    8 oz. Arugula or mustard greens, stems removed, chopped. ( I use fresh spinach)

    Cut the carrot, onion, and celery into chunks. Transfer to a food processor, add the garlic, then process until finely chopped, but not smooth. Set aside. (Okay, in all reality, I skip the processing at this point. I just chop it small and leave it that way.)

    Heat the olive oil in a small stockpot or Dutch oven set on high heat until sizzling (about 2 minutes). Add the chopped vegetables, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chickpeas, ham hock, chicken stock, and tomato sauce and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour. (If using canned beans, simmer for 30 minutes). Remove the ham hock, pull the meat from the bone and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary (if you used fresh rosemary).

    Process 1/2 of the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pot and add the reserved ham and the arugula (I use spinach). Stir well.

    To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and sprinkle with some chopped parsley and fresh grated parmesan cheese.

    My Vegetarian Lentil Soup
    from: Hope Ware
    This fills a 6 quart crockpot nicely.

    2 pounds of lentils (4.5 – 5 cups) Rinse and sort for rocks before using.
    1 chopped onion
    2-3 stalks celery – sliced
    2-3 carrots – sliced
    1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
    2 cans diced tomatoes (I like fire roasted ones from Glen Muir – but any will work)
    1-2 Tblsp. Italian seasoning (I get mine in a big container from SAMS)
    chicken stock or water or vegetable broth to fill the crock pot (Not quite to the top).
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Add all ingredients to crockpot. You may need to add water as it cooks. The lentils expand quite a bit.

    Cook for 8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. I sometimes cook it overnight on low and it’s perfect in the morning.


    Cook different colors of beans. Try garbanzos, navy, and kidney beans. It’s the color variations you want. One or two kinds of beans would work just as well.

    Dump beans in a BIG bowl. Add some canned veggies. Green beans and corn work well. Add some chopped garlic and chopped onion.

    Add dressing:

    1/4 cup balsalmic vinegar
    1/4-1/2 cup honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
    3/4 cup olive oil
    2 Tblsp. soy sauce

    Wisk dressing together and add to salad. Marinate. It gets better the longer it lasts!! It will last at least a week in the fridge. This salad gets even better when it sits in the fridge overnight. It’s like a three bean salad.


    I make these on my large electric skillet/griddle. They look just like hamburgers when you put them on the buns! Top them with traditional burger toppings and they will have a hard time telling the difference!

    1/2 cup green lentils
    1/4 cup bulgur wheat
    2 cups water
    1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. celery seed
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1/4 tsp. cumin
    1/4 tsp. sage
    pinch cayenne (I leave out)
    1 medium onion, minced
    2 eggs
    3Tblsp. Nutritional yeast (optional)
    Approx. 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

    In a good sized pot, bring the lentils to a boil with water. Reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add bulgur and seasonings. Simmer another 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. Remove from heat, add onion, and stir (or let sit) until cool enough to handle. Mix with egg, then add flour a bit at a time, mixing to distribute flour evenly. Use just enough flour to enable mixture to be made into patties. (They’ll be a little sticky). Wet hands, and form into patties about 1/2 inch thick. Fry in lightly oiled skilled over medium heat a few minutes on each side. I have used just lentils and no bulgur wheat and they turn out fine, also. If you are not using whole wheat flour, you might add some wheat germ for some additional texture and cut down on the amount of white flour you are adding.

    Makes 10 burgers

  • Vegetarian:
    13 bean soup(Bob’s red mill) or any combination of dried beans
    Soak beans and cook beans according to Nourishing Traditions recipe book.
    Any combination of vegetable, tomato stock and or broth, using water to make up the difference if you don’t have enough on hand. I simmer with the top off the pot so it reduces. I as always cook it different amounts of time, I sometimes run out of broth. If I don’t have extra diced tomatoes on hand, I will just use water. I do think I often go through more than 4 cups of liquid, though.
    Can or 2 of diced tomatoes depending on how many you have on hand and how much liquid you need.
    Garlic, and there is no such thing as too much in my book. Just track it to your audience. IF I am baking something the evening the beans are soaking and IF I have a full head or close, I will roast the head and squeeze a full head in the day the soup is cooking. It lends a rich, sweet taste.
    Sea Salt
    Herbs and spices: Whatever you are in the mood for on a given day. Yours had coriander and cumin. I have used bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cayenne, red pepper, black pepper, you name it. I usually only put it in during the last few hours
    Variations: 1 bag of frozen green beans, left over veggies in the fridge, roasted chilies
    Add it all together and simmer.

  • Ginny Mendez

    Gloria’s Lentil Soup

    This is a wonderful recipe from my mother-in-law who was one of 22 children (only 9 survived!) who grew up in a very poor home in Chile. Her mother died when she was only 13 and she took over cooking for her family. She had to work with whatever was on hand, and this is one of her recipes.

    1 -16 oz bag of lentils or split peas (cleaned and rinsed)- they require no soaking
    ½ of an onion, chopped
    1 clove of garlic
    3 or 4 strips of bacon, cut up
    1 small tomato, chopped
    pinch of salt
    2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (small)
    1 bullion cube
    Oregano and Cumin to taste
    1 cup cooked rice (optional)

    Cook lentils in 6-8 cups of water, simmering gently for 20 minutes. While lentils cook, sauté the onion, garlic, bacon, tomato and salt in a frying pan. When onions look clear, add the potatoes, bullion cube, oregano, and cumin and enough water to cover. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. When done, add onion mixture to lentils and cook another 10 minutes. You may add cooked, left over rice if desired. We sauté some cubed, whole wheat bread in olive oil and garlic to make yummy croutons to top soup.

    Ginny Mendez

  • Yolanda Griffin

    3/4 C each of chopped onion and celery
    1/4 olive oil
    1-2 crushed garlic
    6C (more if needed) chicken broth
    28 oz tomato (either homemade, canned or Italian)
    1 C lentils
    3/4 C pearl barley
    1 C sliced carrots
    1/2 tsp fresh crushed rosemary
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    salt and pepper to taste

    Saute onions, celery and garlic in oil. Add broth, tomatoes, carrots and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour (until lentils are soft). This is easily done in a slow cooker, and ingredients can be adjusted to taste. Serve with grated swiss cheese and hard crusted bread. Even my kids – age 9 and under – love this. (serves 5-6)

  • Yolanda Griffin


    5 Cups boiling water
    2 1/3 C (1 lb) lentils
    Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Do not drain.
    16 oz tomatoes (homemade or canned, chunk or sauce)
    1 pkg dry onion soup mix (or homemade onion seasoning of choice)
    1 – 2 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    Simmer 30 minutes more. Serve with Marilyn’s fabulous cornbread!

  • Mary Pouch

    Lentil-Barley Stew- Very Easy, Economical, And Tasty!

    Saute’ in large pan:
    1/4 Cup butter
    3/4 Cup chopped celery
    3/4 Cup chopped onion

    Then add:
    6 Cups of water
    3/4 Cup lentils
    Bring to a boil, turn down heat, cover and cook 20 minutes.

    Then Add:
    1 quart. diced tomatoes, canned
    (blend if your family prefers no tomato chunks)
    3/4 Cup barley or brown rice
    2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/2 teaspoon rosemary
    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    Cover and Simmer 45-60 minutes.

    Then Add:
    1/2 Cup shredded carrots (optional, but adds some color)
    Cook 5 minutes and serve

    A favorite for our family! I like to serve it with homemade cornbread!

  • Brenda Kremer

    As the prices of groceries goes up I find myself cooking with beans and rice more and more.
    Last year a friend from Brazil came to visit and taught me to make beans and rice Brazillian style.
    In a pressure cooker you brown a whole onion in enough oil to cover the bottom, be sure to make them quite brown as this adds to the flavor.
    After the onion is brown add 3-4 cloves of minced garlic and saute for a short time as garlic can burn easily. Add 3 cups of of dried beans (any type) and cover with approx. 2 quarts of water, it takes a lot of water so the beans will not be dry. Add to this about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Let beans come to a boil then cover with lid and let them cook under pressure for 35 min. Let pressure release then add salt, enough to season the beans well. We put beans over rice that has been cooked with onion and garlic and sometimes we will add corn. My children love this meal.
    Another tip I have found is that my husband prefers to only have beans and rice once a week. Since I homeschool I have found that I can cook my more economical meals for lunch and this keeps husband and children both happy.

  • Brenda Kremer

    A tried and true recipe I use is lentil rice casserole.
    In a casserole dish put 3 cups lentils and 2 cups rice. Add, chopped onion, green pepper, minced garlic, chicken or beef boullion, salt,pepper and 2 teaspoons cumin. You can add any other flavoring you prefer. Add enough water to cover lentils and rice with an inch of water and cook for 1 and a half hours. When all the liquid is absorbed we put a spoon full in a flour tortilla and top with cheese, salsa, sour cream, and black olives and have burittos. Yum Yum

  • It seems like all of my recipes are approximations only! But here is something I’ve been making a lot of lately, it is cheap, and tasty.

    Beany Tomato Stew
    2 cups beans (any type you have on hand, assorted, etc)
    1 cup brown rice
    1/4 cup – 1/2 cup Tomato paste or concentrated crushed tomatoes (we buy this in a approx 1 gallon can for around $3 – $4)
    3 Carrots
    3 Sticks Celery
    1 Onion
    1 Bell pepper (any colour)
    Salt and pepper to taste, normally I put 1 – 2 tsp. of salt, it can take a lot
    Hot sauce – a few dashes
    Celery seed
    All of the above dried spices just sprinkle in liberally until it tastes good :). Maybe 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1 tsp each basil, oregano, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. But taste it and see.

    Put the beans on to soak the day before, and the rice in a separate container. The night before throw the beans into the crockpot on low with more than enough water to cover, and leave on overnight. In the morning, if you are ambitious you can sautee your onion in a large pot until it is golden, (or just chop it up and throw it in with everything else) transfer the beans to a large pot with some of the soaking water if there’s some left. Drain the rice, and put it in, chop the veggies, put them in, make sure there is enough liquid to keep the food moist so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato paste/crushed tomatoes and spices and stir.

    Bring to a boil, then reduce to low to cook througout the morning. And it should be done by lunch! Yummy, and cheap :). It also freezes well for reheating – you may just need to add a bit of water to prevent sticking. Easy peasy to double the recipe for freezing!

  • Shauna Brentana

    Re: Recipe Contest

    We used to dislike “bean burritos” until I came up with a way to make a homemade bean filling. It’s now one of our standby meals! It’s not only economical, but extremely easy, and you’ll never want to used canned refried beans again! You can also stir in a little leftover taco meat, or just a half pound ground beef, seasoned with taco seasoning if you want to stretch the ground beef you have on hand. We eat it with or without the meat.

    Homeade Bean Burrito Filling:

    3 T coconut oil, lard, or olive oil
    1/4 c very finely chopped onion
    2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 28-oz can of plain pinto beans, rinsed and drained
    1/2 c water, more or less as needed
    1 4-oz can chopped green chilies (or fresh chopped jalapenos)
    1/2 c shredded monteray jack cheese
    sea salt, to taste

    Heat oil in large saucepan or small stockpot. Saute onion and garlic until tender. Add beans to the pot and “fry” for a few minutes. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistancy. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, stirring, to desired consistancy. (The water will make the beans smoother and more spreadable). Stir in chilies and cheese (and cooked taco meat, if desired). Season with sea salt, tasting and adding until you reach your desired tastes.

    We like to use sprouted corn or flour tortillas, and I serve this with homeade salsa, homeade guacamole, and real sour cream and tortilla chips. I also usually will put out a tray of cut up raw veggies and dip, and usually a quart of our applesauce and/or a quart of home-canned pears.


  • Leann Howell

    Black Eyed Pea Casserole

    2C washed black eyed peas
    8C water or beef stock and water to = 8 C
    1T apple cider vinegar
    2T olive oil
    1/2 stick of butter
    1 onion, chopped
    1 green pepper, chopped
    4 cloves of garlic, chopped
    1 can of chopped tomatoes, or fresh to = 14.5 oz
    1C tomatoe juice
    1t italian seasoning
    1/2t salt
    1/3Cparsley, chopped
    1t hot sauce (optional)

    In a large pot bring 8 C liquid, peas, vinegar & itallian seasoning to a boil. Let boil 3 min reduce to a simmer. simmer for 90 minutes.
    In a sautee pan melt butter and olive oil at a medium temprature being careful not to scortch; ad onions, green peppers and garlic. Sautee until onions and peppers are nearly soft.
    Ad onions to the peas along with all the butter and oil from the pan. Also ad tomatoes, juice, & salt simmer for 30 minutes. in last 15 min add the chopped parsley and ad hot sauce in larger or smaller quantities if desired.

  • I make a lot of bean dishes. Lately I’ve come up with a very popular and flexible bean soup “template” (more flexible than a recipe) and an old standby, Chinese stir-fried beans. (We like black-eyed peas and lima beans the best; no matter what I do with them lentils seem to cause all kinds of intestinal distress.)

    Both recipes I’m submitting both start out the same way, and in fact make enough beans to have enough for both recipes plus some extra for another meal later. Beans freeze well after being cooked. The extra soaking and cooking steps require some planning, but since I have “bean night” every Thursday, I’m in the habit of starting this on Tuesday. It works very well in our home.

    2 days before you want to serve them:
    Soak 2 lbs. of your favorite beans in a very large pot or a gallon glass jar with plenty of purified water. Soak for at least 12, and up to 24 hours (adding more water if your beans soaked up a lot). Drain and rinse thoroughly.
    Put beans into a very large stockpot or a crockpot — in the crockpot you can let them slow cook on low for a day without any concern, or if you want them faster, put in a stockpot on the stove and simmer gently for 1-2 hours. Check the beans while cooking. They cook at different speeds depending on many factors.

    When soft but not falling apart, drain and rinse the beans again. They can now be frozen, or used in our favorite recipes below:

    Good Bean Soup template (makes about 1 1/2 gallons soup)
    Brown 1-2 chopped onions, 3-6 garlic cloves, 3-4 celery stalks, 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, and 1/4 tsp. dried sage in your largest stockpot. Adding dried herbs to the browning step makes them much more flavorful. Add chopped green or red bell pepper if you like. Add 2-6 chopped tomatoes, 1-2 cans of tomatoes, or “some” tomato paste. Add meat stock, vegetable stock, and/or water and bring to a low boil, cooking until vegetables are tender. Add as many beans as you like for a thinner or very stew-y soup. Done! Serve with sour cream, yogurt, shredded cheese, hot sauce, etc.

    Chinese Stir-Fried Beans
    Have all ingredients ready to go when you begin to heat the pan. In a hot wok or frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. lard/chicken fat/oil until it just begins to smoke. Add a 1-2 inch cube of ginger (minced), a dash of dried red pepper, and 4-5 minced cloves of garlic and stir quickly so it doesn’t burn. Add beans to the pan and toss regularly to keep them from burning.
    The original recipe calls for adding pickled greens before you add the beans, but pickled greens are hard to find in the USA. I make them! You could, however, toss chopped greens such as spinach in with the beans. Less flavor but would still be good.

  • Karen in RI

    Can’t wait to read all of the recipes listed here!

    I have a bean tip to share that I just learned. You can soak your dry beans and then freeze them so they are ready to cook at a moment’s notice! I soaked beans this week and now my beans are good to go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use the quick method. I like this better!

    My Grandma’s Baked Beans

    1 lb dry beans, soaked and cooked (I use yellow eyes or kidney beans)
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup molasses
    1/2 cup chopped bacon
    1/4 tsp. dry mustard
    1 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. pepper
    2 cups boiling water

    Mix all ingredients together. Bake in bean pot in preheated 350 oven for 3 hours stirring occasionally.

  • Marie Dempster

    This is one of my favorite lentil recipe. Not only is it loved by my family but I have had many compliments from other women I have shared it with. Enjoy!

    Lentils and cheese
    4 1/2 cups broth or water
    1 1/2 cups green lentils
    3/4 cups brown rice
    1 chopped of each : onion, celery, and carrot
    herbs to your taste:
    garlic powder

    Put all ingredients in 9×13 pan. Cover and cook on 350˚ for 1 hour. Remove cover, top with mozzarella cheese, and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese begins to golden.

  • Marie Dempster

    This is my all time favorite recipe, not only is it absolutely delicious but very colorful and festive. And it goes into to crock pot to boot!

    Winter Squash and White Bean Stew
    1 cup chopped onions
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. cinnamon
    1 garlic clove minced
    3 cups peeled, butternut squash, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    2 1/2 cups cooked or canned white beans, drained
    14 1/2-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
    1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

    Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on High 1 hour. Reduce heat to Low and heat for 2-3 hours. Makes 6 servings.

  • Katie Strawn

    Dry Bean Recipe Contest

    Haitian Beans and Rice
    This recipe is inspired by our visit to Haiti and subsequent attempts to duplicate the wonderful flavors of the food there! So it does not claim to be authentic :)
    We like red beans like kidney beans best for this recipe, but other beans can be used instead.

    Soak 2 cups dried beans overnight in water (add 1 TBS yogurt, buttermilk, or lemon juice as per Nourishing Traditions if desired)
    The next day, drain and rinse beans. Add water to cover, bring to a boil and cook till soft. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. This should yield approximately 5 cups cooked beans.
    Fry 1 small onion, chopped (~3/4 cup), in 1-2 TBS coconut oil or butter. (I like to use a cast-iron frying pan but any heavy pan will do.)
    Add to softened onions and fry briefly, stirring:
    3/4 tsp ground cloves
    1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger or 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    In a food processor, pulse all but 1 cup of the beans till chopped to a chunky paste, adding some of the cooking liquid to keep things moving. Add this and the remaining whole beans to pan.
    Or, simply pour all beans into frying pan and mash with a potato masher. Some beans will be left whole or partially mashed.
    Add 1 diced tomato or 1 cup canned diced tomato, drained.
    Add 3/4 cup (or 1/2 can) coconut milk. This raises the price of the dish but greatly enhances flavor and is good for you too!
    Cook, stirring occasionally, till desired thickness is reached (still pourable but pretty thick).
    Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Serve over rice. Serves 6-8 depending on appetities–I always misjudge! But freezes well and makes great leftovers.

  • sonya

    Here is a Black Bean Enchilada Casserole I just LOVE!! I also tastes great as a leftover!

    2 cups chopped onion, fresh or frozen
    1 1/2 cups chopped red pepper, fresh or frozen
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    3/4 cup salsa
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 15.8 ounce cans black beans, drained
    12 6-inch corn tortillas
    2 cups Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend cheese shredded
    3 tomatoes chopped (optional)
    1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
    1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Combine onion pepper, garlic, salsa, cumin and black beans in large skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat.

    Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes.
    Arrange 6 tortillas in bottom of 9″ x 13″ baking dish overlapping them as necessary. Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas and sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat layering process with remaining tortillas, bean mixture and cheese.

    Cover dish with foil and bake 15 minutes. Carefully remove foil and serve warm.

    Garnish with tomatoes, sour cream and olives.

  • Rachelle

    I can’t take credit for this recipe because it is based on Sue Gregg’s Middle Eastern Lentil Soup from her SOUPS AND MUFFINS Eat Better Cookbooks. What I like about it as a homeschooling mom is that I put all the ingredients in a crockpot before I leave the house early in the morning for music, art, and library day and come home at 5:30 to a pot of delicious soup that I serve over cooked brown rice, with salad and homemade whole wheat bread and it makes such a big pot that it’s great for spontaneously inviting guests over and there are leftovers for lunch or it freezes well for another busy day. Everyone who eats this just loves it!

    Place all of the following in a 6 qrt. crockpot on low for all day cooking or on high if starting at noon for a 6-7 pm dinner:

    1 lb. of lentils rinsed and drained
    10 cups of water
    1 large onion, 2-3 ribs of celery, 3-4 peeled carrots, and 4 cloves of garlic, each whizzed in a food processor till just chunky
    8 TBSP. of Braggs Liquid Aminos (or San J Organic Soy Sauce)
    2 TBSP. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 tsp. of ground cumin
    2 TBSP. of extra virgin olive oil
    1 small can of stewed tomatoes cut up w/juice or big 28 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
    1 handful of fresh Italian parsley whizzed till finely chopped in food processor

    Cook on low in crock pot for 8 hrs. You can also cook this overnight if you want it ready in the morning to transport to a meal later in the day. I cook a pot of brown rice as follows:

    Roast 2 cups of long grain brown or brown basmati rice on low till it crackle and pops, while bringing a tea kettle of water to a boil, when the rice is hot and roasted add 4 cups of boiling water, and be sure to lower the temperature as the added water will really boil and steam and you need a medium size sauce pan w/a tight fitting lid. Keep heat on low and set timer for 45 min. Turn off heat but leave pan on the heating element if it’s a heavy bottom pan and let come to room temperature. I let the pot stay out all day and the hot soup warms the rice up when you put rice in your bowl first and then top it w/the soup.

    Some in our family top the soup with sharp cheddar cheese but I like it just plain with the rice. We eat on this for about 5 days and I think it’s more flavorful on the following days.

    Hope you enjoy!!!!

  • Anne

    Thanks. I have left off most of our meats and am cooking veggies. I need some fresh ideas, for I cook a lot of beans. Can you sprout lentils that have been frozen. I have never heard of such. Thanks for the ideas.

  • […] She held a contest a few months back of all sorts of easy healthy vegetarian dishes. Check it out here! I am excited to try the black bean enchiladas, honey baked lentils, taco soup and […]

  • Mrs Hepp

    Here’s a delicious, easy, cheap, vegetarian dish with lots of vitamin C!

    Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

    (This can be made with red or brown lentils.)

    4 c. vegetable broth
    3 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 1 1/4 lbs)
    1 1/2 c. lentils, rinsed
    3 medium carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
    1 medium onion, chopped
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    1/4 tsp. ground ginger
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or ground red pepper)
    Salt to taste

    In slow cooker, combine first 9 ingredients. Cover and cook on low 5-6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Salt to taste. Serve by itself with a slice of whole wheat bread or over steamed brown rice.

  • I am so sorry for your loss, I will pray for your comfort as you are the one left here on earth…for now. rejoice that you will see each other again, and see Jesus’ sweet face, commuining with our wonderful Father God in Heaven. Soon, my frriend, someday soon! Peace be with you, I pray.

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