Santiago Bean Dip

This dip is fantastic.  If you’re having a get together for Labor Day, you should definitely make this.  Everyone will thank you.

My dear friend, Becky, made this a while back for a baked potato bar dinner party, and it was super scrumptious!  I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  So since we were cooking for vegetarians and gluten-free eaters at the beach, I thought a baked potato bar with this dip would be the perfect thing.  It was a huge hit and the leftovers of this dip make an excellent snack with tortilla chips, or would be great mixed with scrambled eggs, or would be delicious eaten with a spoon!  …I think I need to make this again ASAP.

For convenience sake I left out the rice when I made it at the beach.  Next time I’ll add it in.  It’s not very noticeable, but acts as a great binder for all the delicious beans and cheese.

Santiago Bean DipSantiago Bean Dip (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 8-10

Adapted from The Kitchn

  • 2 (15oz) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15oz) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes (I used fresh, but 1 can of diced tomatoes would probably work too)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  •  1/4 cup pickled jalapeño, diced (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan or deep casserole dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix beans, rice, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, spices and 4 cups of cheese together.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Spread mixture into prepared baking dish.  Cover with foil and back for 30 minutes, until bubbly.  Remove foil and add remaining cheese.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted.   Serve with baked potatoes, chips, eggs, crackers, or spoons!


Garden Bean Salad

I love me some beans.  They’re a great source of fiber and protein.  They’re delicious hot, cold or room temperature, they place nice with tons of different flavors, and they’re easy.  Despite my bean love, I’ve never quite liked three bean salad.  There’s a weird sweetness to it that tastes kind of stale to me.  So this is my update on a three bean salad, with lots of vegetables to up the freshness (and health benefits!).  You can use pretty much whatever you have on hand.  I’m usually not a fan of raw onion, so I used shallots which have a slightly milder taste, and I soaked the slices in cold water while preparing the rest of the salad to give them an even milder flavor.  In the end I thought they added a nice subtle spiciness, but weren’t too overwhelming.  You could also mince red onion, or just slice red onion depending on your love of onions.

Garden Bean SaladGarden Bean Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 12-15

Adapted from Food Network Magazine, September 2010

  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 (15oz) cans small white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced (orange would be nice for the color, but whatever you like)
  • 3 cups frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

Soak shallots in cold water while preparing the rest of the salad.  In a large bowl, combine beans, corn, tomatoes, bell pepper, and green beans.  Mix in the drained shallots.

In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, oil and pepper.  Pour dressing over the salad, let marinate at room temperature for about an hour.  Garnish with parsley, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Spicy Vegetable and Bean Soup

My mom has a special touch with soup.  She has the power to whip up delicious soups without a recipe or a plan.  She can take whatever ingredients are laying around the pantry and create delicious hearty stews.  While I have yet to inherit this superpower,  I’ll stick to making adaptions of delicious recipes.  While the original amounts in this recipe seemed a little off, with a few adjustments the end product turned out great!  This soup is spicy but not too hot.  The vegetables and beans make it hearty and nutritious.  It’s easy to adapt with whatever vegetables you have on hand.  I’d highly recommend this soup.  I might even make it for the upcoming School of Christian Living term without the cheese for a vegan option.

Spicy Vegetable and Bean Soup

Serves 8-10

Adapted from Giada De Laurentis

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 3 0z tomato paste
  • 3 inch piece of Parmesan rind (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 summer squash, chopped
  • 1/4 cup julienned basil for garnish
  • shaved parmesan for garnish

Heat the oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic; saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add chili powder, coriander, cumin, oregano, and crushed red pepper.  Stir in the tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste, cheese rind, and salt.  Add the broth, beans, lentils, broccoli, zucchini, and summer squash.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Sloppy Veggie Joes

For Tuesday’s dinner I decided to try making vegetarian Sloppy Joes.  This was pretty challenging to get the right flavor without the flavor that the meat usually brings to the dish.  But I think I created something pretty close.

Sloppy Veggie Joes

Serves 15-20

Adapted from Rachael Ray

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3 red onions, chopped
  • 7 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans kidney beans, drained, rinsed and partially mashed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 vegan burgers, heated up and crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cans diced fireroasted or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add bell peppers, onions, and garlic.  Saute until tender.  Mix in the beans and spices, season with salt and pepper.  Add in the remaining ingredients and let simmer for one hour.  Serve with whole wheat buns and dill pickles.

Veggie Chili

This is probably the recipe I’m asked for the most.  It’s absolutely delicious and I don’t think I’ve ever made a different kind of chili.  Hard-core carnivores love this too.  I originally got this from Chris, Sister’s boyfriend, and I think he adapted it from a Moosewood cookbook.  Chili is super adaptable, so taste as you go and adjust it to your preferences.

I made this recently for an event that was being held at Seekers.  The same event had been held in the fall and it was such a hit that the organizer for the event wanted to have it again despite the warm weather.   Whether you make it now or save it for cooler weather, you’ll definitely want to keep this chili in mind!

Veggie Chili

Serves about 15 

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large zucchini (or summer squash), diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp parsley (I use the kind from the tubes)
  • 1 1/2 cups veggie “beef” crumbles (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (my favorite part!)
  • 2 large (28oz) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot, saute the onion, garlic, zucchini, and bell pepper until tender. Add the spices and mix well.  Stir in the “beef” crumbles and frozen corn.  In a large stew pot, combine tomatoes and beans.  Add in the sauteed and spiced vegetables.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about one hour to allow the flavors to meld.  Adjust seasoning as needed.

Italian Quinoa and Bean Casserole

For Tuesday’s School of Christian Living class, I tried a couple new things.  We had Italian Quinoa and Bean Casserole, Salad, Focaccia Rolls, and Triple Chocolate Brownies.

The casserole dish was based off a Mexican flavored dish that I’ve made before.  It’s a simple dish, and I knew that the flavors could be adapted very easily, so I was excited to try out this Italian variation.

Italian Quinoa and Bean Casserole

Serves 18-20

Adapted from Stepfanie’s Quinoa-Black Bean Casserole

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 large (29oz) cans cannelini beans
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 2 large bunches swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic oil (or regular olive oil)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cans Italian style diced tomatoes

Toast the quinoa in a saucepan for a few minutes.  Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.  In a large pan, heat oil and add chopped swiss chard.  Add the minced garlic and saute until chard is just beginning to wilt.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 2 large baking dishes and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, swiss chard, beans, corn, 1 cup cheese, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, eggs, and tomatoes; mix well.  Divide mixture into prepared baking dishes and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until cheese is melted and casserole is bubbly.



Taco Salad and Tres Leches Cake

Tuesday’s dinner for School of Christian Living was a pretty simple affair.  I put together one of my all-time favorite meals, taco salad.  This is one of my stand-by meals that always tastes delicious.  It was also a fun meal to put on for a group as a salad bar so everyone could pick and choose their toppings.

Taco Salad

Serves 18

  • 6 Romaine hearts, chopped
  • 1/2 small white cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 lbs carrots, shredded
  • 2 cucumbers, chopped
  • 4 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cartons grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • shredded cheese
  • 2 bags Fritos, slightly crushed
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 jar salsa
  • hot sauce
  • Honey French dressing
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 humongous can of black beans (6 lbs)
  • 3 packets of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 avocados, diced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, minced

Chop all the vegetables and set out in separate bowls.  Put out the condiments.

For the black beans, drain and rinse the beans.  Heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot.  Add diced onion to the pot and saute until starting to brown.  Add the beans to the pot, then add taco seasoning mix and water.  Mix well and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

For the guacamole, combine avocados, tomatoes, cilantro, and shallot; stir until desired consistency.

Lots of chopping, but a fun, colorful, delicious meal.


For dessert we had Tres Leches Cake.  This is a recipe from my good friend, Annie.  She made this for a couple of friends while I was living up near Boston.  I may or may not have eaten at least a third of it in one sitting.  It’s amazing.

Pastel de Tres Leches

Serves 20

From Annie


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish.

Beat 1/2 cup sugar and the egg yolks until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Fold in the milk, vanilla, flour, and baking powder.

In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, adding the cream of tartar after 20 seconds.  Gradually add in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are glossy and firm, but not dry.

Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture.  Pour this batter into the prepared baking dish.  Bake until the cake feels firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes.

Let the cake cool completely in the baking dish.  Once cool, turn cake out into a large baking dish or serving plater with sides.  Pierce the cake all over with a fork and then pour the milk syrup over it.

Milk Syrup:

  • 1 can (12 oz) nonfat evaporated milk
  • 1 can nonfat sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pour over the cooled cake and refrigerate overnight.

Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1  1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Using an electric beater, whisk all ingredients together until soft peaks form.  Spread on top of cooled, soaked cake and serve.


Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Despite the weather not cooperating, some friends came over yesterday and we had a (indoor) BBQ.  Moving indoors was really fine by me…my grilling skills have yet to be discovered, and these tender and delicious veggie burgers hold up better on a flat skillet.

These definitely aren’t trying to be regular hamburgers, but I think they’re delicious in their own right.  Because the burgers are very soft, I recommend using crusty rolls instead of regular soft hamburger buns.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Makes about 18 patties

Adapted from Simple Bites 

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 large can (29oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups cooked lentils (or 1 box of the Trader Joe’s precooked lentils)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute onion, red pepper, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Pulse sauteed vegetables, cilantro, jalapenos, beans, and lentils in a food processor in batches if necessary.  You’ll want the beans and lentils to become pasty.  When mostly smooth, mix in salt, pepper, and eggs.  Add in the bread crumbs until incorporated and the mixture starts sticking together.  Form patties.
Cook in a well-greased skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side.