Quick Fix: Summer Squash, Peppers & Zürsun Heirloom Beans Recipe

by | Oct 21, 2009
Squash, Peppers and Beans

Squash, Peppers and Beans

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.

I’m happy 🙂

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.


Zursun Beans & Lentils

Zürsun Beans & Lentils

  • 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?

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10 Responses to “Quick Fix: Summer Squash, Peppers & Zürsun Heirloom Beans Recipe”

  1. Jennelle says:

    I enjoy your blog and your food recommendations, however I find it interesting that the advertisements at the bottom of your posts often highlight processed food items, in this post its frozen Pillsbury buscuits. I realize you might not have control over the ads inserted, but it’s something you might want to consider.

    • Darya Pino says:

      Hi Jennelle,

      I appreciate your concern and I do try to filter out inappropriate ads as often as I can, but I never know they are coming until they appear and it takes hours to get them down (if I catch them). Unfortunately I can’t afford to not run Google ads at this time, but this is something I’m definitely working toward replacing. Thanks for your patience. If you find an ad that particularly annoys you, feel free to send me the URL and I will add it to my blacklist.


  2. Greg says:

    That sounds so good!!! I need to get a pressure cooker…..

  3. Connie (Ariel Manx) says:

    That dish looks delicious, and I practically drooled over the Zursun Beans website! I wish the local healthy grocery store here carried their products, because they have so many varieties of beans I’ve never even seen before and would love to try.

    I think I’m going to get some black beans soaking for tomorrow. They’re not heirloom but they’ll still be good. 😀 What brand of bullion do you use? I haven’t been able to find any that isn’t full of MSG.

    • Darya Pino says:

      I buy whatever I can find and have honestly never checked for MSG (d’oh!). Also, I’m pretty sure you can order Zursun beans from their website 🙂

    • Allie says:

      I use a brand called Better than Bouillon….it comes as a paste in a small jar, no MSG, and the vegetable flavor is amazing! The chicken flavor is good too, but not as good as vegetable. I haven’t tried their beef flavor.

  4. Matt Shook says:

    They have an interesting assortment of beans, lentils, and peas…and their website is very informative and well done. I know a lot of people don’t mind, but I would prefer organic farming practices…

  5. surflife says:

    Hi Dara,

    Love the blog and love the twitter feed – as a fellow Lakers fan it always good to see your comments. I have a questions about the cooking of the beans and lentils – do you soak,then cook and then freeze them for use? If so can you use the frozen ones in salads or just to cooked meals? Can you do the same for lentils? I love both beans and lentils but I prefer using the dry kind but then it means planning well in advance. Also here in the UAE fresh veg though avaible is not really fresh but with the multucultral nature here there are lots of beans and lentils so really want to make the most of them.


    • Darya Pino says:

      Hi Sandi,

      Funny you should ask about beans and storage, almost posted a video of that today but it didn’t turn out as well as I wanted so I wrote something else.

      Here is the rundown:

      1) Always soak dried beans before cooking.
      2) Never soak lentils before cooking.
      3) Always store beans in their cooking liquid
      4) Never store lentils in their cooking liquid
      5) Always thought before use

      I make big batches of beans and freeze half because they take so long to cook. I leave half out (in the fridge) and use it for the next few days. Because lentils cook faster, I don’t usually freeze them. I find that they don’t retain their texture as well as beans do when frozen, probably because of the lack of cooking liquid. However when I tried freezing lentils in their liquid I didn’t like the way they came out (more runny). Instead I just store lentils in the refrigerator and only use them for about 3-5 days.

      I always thaw beans that have been frozen before using them. Like I said, I usually make a big batch and freeze half. I eat the first half for several days (from the fridge), then when I’m ready for more I take the other beans from the freezer and move them to the fridge (or counter to thaw faster). Once they thaw you can use them exactly the same way. I add both beans and lentils to salads all the time, love it. For lentils though, you need to be sure to use the kind that keep their shape and don’t get mushy (red lentils turn to mush) if you want to use them in salads and stir fries.

      I hope this answers your questions. Let me know if anything was unclear.

      • surflife says:

        Brilliant thanks – my main prob is lunch with the kids at school its just me – not a fan of sandwiches so either have nothing or end up buying junk! But if i have some beans and brown rice on hand will be a happy munchkin! Thanks for the tip on rice balls to – you are the font of all wisdom – have you tried The Pioneer womans beans – to die for!
        Thanks again

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