A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone from Zürsun Idaho Heirloom Beans and was immediately intrigued. I’m regularly approached with requests to review (aka endorse) products and my answer is almost always the same,
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
Companies that contact health bloggers like me are usually selling energy bars, supplements or some other kind of “functional food”–the exact same junk I’m always reminding you not to bother with. Not only do I think this stuff is useless, I actually consider it dangerous and contrary to your health goals.
If it has a health claim on it, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
But heirloom beans and lentils are not junk food, and I jumped at the opportunity to sample what Zürsun had to offer. A few days later I received a shipment of assorted beans and lentils and have been thoroughly enjoying them ever since.
Heirloom beans are special, and if you’ve never tried them I highly recommend you do. The flavor and texture of high-quality beans does not compare to the cans you get at the grocery store.
To prepare, I soak my beans overnight then cook them 10-12 minutes in the pressure cooker (this is the one I use) with a bouillon cube–preferably beef flavored, but any will do. A big batch of beans can last weeks if you freeze it in 2 or 3 portions.
What has been the most surprising to me is how fantastic I’ve felt since I’ve started eating legumes nearly everyday. Though beans are famous for causing digestive problems, I have not had even the slightest issue with dried heirloom beans. I’ve read that this is probably due to the overnight soak, but I haven’t seen the science to back this claim.
My energy levels have been especially high (even for me!) and the past few weeks have been some of the best times I’ve ever spent in the gym. Oddly, I also weigh less than I have in my adult life (I was so surprised I double checked the calibration on the scale at the gym).
I don’t know if I can attribute all this amazingness to the beans, but I can tell you they have made for some tasty and satisfying meals.
My favorite bean so far has been the fawn bean. Zürsun calls these “rice beans,” probably because they are long and slender. Fawn beans are very versatile and I used them in salads, stir fries and on their own.
For me the simplest way to eat beans is to toss them in a pan at the last minute when cooking my usual vegetables. This makes for a simple, delicious, one-pan meal perfect for a busy week night.
In this recipe I used some of the season’s last zephyr squash and some Basque frying peppers. It might have been better with cilantro, but I only had basil so that’s what I used. It turned out delicious.
Summer Squash, Peppers & Zürsun Heirloom Beans
Serves 1 main course or 2 sides. Total time ~15 minutes.
- 1 cup cooked Zürsun fawn beans
- 2 medium zephyr squash or zucchini, cut in half and into 1/2 in. slices
- 1-2 Basque frying peppers or 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1 cippolini onion or shallot, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Chopped basil or cilantro
Heat a pan on medium flame and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add onions and peppers and cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add squash, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the squash turns bright colored, has stopped sweating and is starting to gently brown on the edges, 4-5 minutes.
When the squash is nearly done, clear space in the center of the pan and add the garlic in a single layer. When it becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds), mix it in with the rest of the vegetables.
Add the beans to the pan and mix. Continue to cook until the beans are heated through. Do not allow the beans to sit long enough to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Toss in herbs and serve immediately.
This dish is great on its own or as an accompaniment to fish or light protein. You can also use also use this same basic recipe to cook any standard vegetables with beans or lentils. I made it one day with beet greens and it was awesome.
Do you ever cook beans together with vegetables?