asparagus and black beans salad with ginger and lemon

It’s Spring! yet after a few days of lovely warm sunshine, it’s now gray out, cool and wet again. Sigh. Cooking with the seasons– and in sync with my internal energy levels based on my personal local environment and activity level– is harder when the temperatures whiplash up and down. With this in mind, for this meal I chose warming and grounding black beans with ginger and brown rice, paired with bright lemon and Spring asparagus. The peppery arugula was a perfect complement, and a nice stimulant to the liver for “Spring cleaning” too.


  • 1 lb asparagus, woody ends removed then cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 16oz can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 2/3 cup brown Basmati rice
  • 1 lb firm tofu, rinsed and cubed
  • green onions, chopped
  • 2 T fresh ginger root, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • black and red pepper, sea salt to taste
  • 1 lemon
  • mix of baby spinach and arugula



Rinse rice, cover with 1 1/2 c fresh water and a dash of salt, bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer until water is absorbed, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with fork. While the rice cooks, saute the tofu and chopped green onions in 2 T olive oil until the tofu is lightly browned. Set aside in a covered casserole dish together with the rinsed black beans and cooked rice. Melt 2 T butter (or olive oil for vegans) and saute the minced garlic and ginger for just 1 minute, then add asparagus and cook for 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the stems, turning continually until asparagus is just al dente– slightly browned on the outside and still a bit crunchy inside.  Add cooked asparagus to the casserole dish and mix all together well. This will hold well if covered and refrigerated for 1-2 days. I served this over a bed of baby spinach and arugula, dressed with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh lemon.


Quinoa cucumber mint salad with black beans and serrano pepper

“There’s mosquitoes on the river Fish are rising up like birds
It’s been hot for seven weeks now,
Too hot to even speak now, Did you hear what I just heard?”

Well maybe not yet seven weeks, but it has been many weeks now of daily temps over 90F, and with the 4th of July and Fare Thee Well concert streaming potluck dinners to attend, it’s been a time to come up with easy to make and cooling, protein rich main dish salads…


  • 3/4 c quinoa
  • 1 can organic black beans, well rinsed
  • 2-3 medium cucumbers, thick sliced into half rounds or quarters
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced, including seeds
  • 10-12 leaves spearmint, diced
  • 1 lime, squeezed for dressing
  • organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for garnish


Rinse quinoa well, then place in 1 1/2 c fresh water with a dash of salt, bring to boil then turn heat down to simmer covered for 18-20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Rinse beans well, chop and dice all vegetables and combine all. Dress with squeezed lime, and store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with organic nonfat yogurt or feta cheese for additional protein.

cauliflower & arugula quinoa winter salad

This simple winter white salad is high in protein given the quinoa and black beans, warming with the shallots, garlic and peppery arugula, and beautiful too.


  • 3/4 c quinoa
  • 2-3 medium shallots, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large or 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 can black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 large bunch arugula greens
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese


Rinse quinoa very well, then bring 1 1/2 cups fresh water, pinch salt, and well rinsed quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 20-22 minutes, cooking until water is absorbed. Remove from heat, stir with fork to fluff, and set aside. Rinse beans well, then add to cooked quinoa. Dice shallots and cut cauliflower into bite sized flowerettes (throw out tough ends, include inner stems.) Melt 2-3 Tablespoons butter over medium heat, then saute shallots, cauliflower and garlic stirring constantly until cauliflower is slightly soft. Add black pepper to taste, then mix well with quinoa and beans. Serve hot over a generous bed of arugula leaves (rip leaves from any tough inner stems). Serve dressed with a little olive oil (to enhance vitamin K absorption from arugula) and topped with Parmesan cheese.

two hot weather salads: cucumber, mint & lemon salad with jalapeno black bean salad

Cuc & Black Bean Saladingredients:

  • 2 medium cucumbers, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 lemon, juice and pulp
  • 1/8- 1/4 cup plain yogurt, greek yogurt, or milk
  • 1 T fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 cans black beans, well rinsed
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
  • olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing
  • feta cheese

instructions: Too hot to even think about turning on any heat source to cook? Refresh with these simple cooling main dish salads. Chop and grate first 5 ingredients. Measure yogurt or milk, squeeze lemon, and stir in chopped mint, add pepper to taste. Dress cucumber salad and refrigerate in air tight container.  Rinse canned black beans well, add next 4 chopped and diced ingredients.  Lightly dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, top with crumbled feta cheese.  If you’re so inclined, toast some Ezekiel pocket bread or chapati with Parmesan to use as bread crumbs on cuc salad. Serve with cold local IPA, refresh and relax.

black bean soup


  • 1 1/2 cups dried black beans
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced, with seeds for some heat
  • 1 t fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 t cardamon
  • 1 jewel yam, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 T cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cube Celifbr brand vegetable bouillon dissolved in 1 cup hot water
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 t salt (added only after beans have cooked) and black pepper to taste
  • cilantro and fresh lime juice as garnish


Inspect and rinse beans well, then soak in fresh water 4+ hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well. Using large soup pot, saute onion in 2-3 T olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add diced yam, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, spices, carrots and celery as continue to stir over medium heat. Add tomatoes and soaked then rinsed beans. Lastly add cider vinegar, dissolved bouillon and water. Bring pot to simmer, then reduce heat, and simmer partially covered until beans are soft, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste only after beans have cooked soft. Blend using immersion blender, or cool first then blend in Cuisinart or traditional blender. Serve topped with fresh squeezed lime juice and cilantro. This is a hearty warming soup high in carotene for a cold day, will make your kitchen smell fabulous. Makes 8 dinner sized servings, freezes well.

quinoa dinner salad

1 1/2 cup bulk quinoa
1 8 oz pkg tempeh, chopped, optional if your prep time is especially tight
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped, or
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 pieces celery, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped or
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
1 can organic black beans, well rinsed or 2 cups cooked black beans
1 can organic garbanzo beans, well rinsed
feta cheese
lime or lemon, optional
1 mango, chopped, optional, if it’s summer and happens to be on sale

Rinse quinoa well in cold water. Measure twice as much water as quinoa into pot with lid, add pinch of salt, bring to boil (pot will need to be large enough to leave some headroom, as quinoa will bubble some). Add well rinsed quinoa, stir, bring to boil, turn heat down to medium low simmer. Cook covered (check cooking times chart on this blog). When done, remove from heat, transfer to bowl, stir/fluff with fork.

While quinoa cooks, chop tempeh, then saute it in 2 T olive oil, stirring frequently until lightly browned. Chop all veggies. Add all veggies, cooked tempeh, and well rinsed beans to cooked quinoa, stir all together well. Serve topped with feta. Dress with simple olive oil/balsalmic vinegar, plus a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon. Dress immediately prior to eating, great with salsa. Will stay fresh in refrigerator in airtight container for 5 days.