As we prepare for our big move, I’ve started to get serious about eating through our pantry. I have a beautiful collection of seeds, grains and legumes lined up in repurposed glass jars. We really got behind on using them during our experiment with grain-free eating, so I’ve got to get moving!
I’m finding that the only way I’m going to succeed in operation eat-through-the-pantry is to cook in big batches. To that end, I left a big, big bowl of dried white beans to soak for 24 hours in water and a bit of kefir (lemon juice or apple cider vinegar would be suitable substituties for the kefir- the idea is that an acidic medium helps make the beans more digestible).
While you may find the idea of soaking beans/grains/whatever like an unnecessary step or more preparation than you desire, I like the soaking process. I actually find it a little fascinating watching the transformation as they soak: beans expanding, bubbles forming on the water, skins getting wrinkly and sometimes being shed. And having the beans sitting there, already soaked gives me the kick in the pants I need to make a healthy dinner on days when ordering in seems a better option.
So I took the soaked beans and cooked them in a pot with water and a little seaweed. Since learning about the importance of iodine to the body, and the limited ways to get it naturally, I’ve really been trying to add sea vegetables wherever I can get away with it. (And what I mean by that is wherever I think the Handsomes won’t notice it.) Plus I read that cooking beans with seaweed helps with gas, and I’m all for gas reduction! Half of the beans went straight into the freezer (cook once, eat twice!) and the other half became the tastiest alfredo sauce I’ve had in a long, long while.
The best part of this recipe is that it only has 4 ingredients: beans, garlic, butter and milk. The last two could easily be substituted for non-dairy options (e.g., soy milk) to make the sauce vegan. Score! I did add some sauteed mushrooms and onions to the dish because I had them on hand, and because both have been linked to the prevention of breast cancer, which every woman can benefit from!
The second best part of this sauce is that, once the beans are cooked, it takes less time to make than it does for the pasta to boil. Double score!
The third best part of this recipe (there really isn’t anything not great about it!) is that the leftovers (should you have any) make an incredible base for a cream soup. I made the most amazing potato soup with leftover mashed potatoes, chopped onions and carrots, frozen corn, and about half a cup of the alfredo sauce. Triple score!
Kinda makes you want to eat through your pantry, doesn’t it?
Simple White Bean Alfredo Sauce
1 cup cooked white beans
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp butter (or vegan substitute)
3/4 cup milk (or vegan substitute)
salt and pepper to taste
Optional add-in: sauteed onions and mushrooms
Directions: sautee garlic in butter for 3-4 minutes. Combine beans, garlic butter and milk in blender. Blend until compeltely smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat (if using cold beans) and serve over fresh, hot pasta. Enjoy!
Stay tuned for more installments in my eat-through-the-pantry series. Next time: soaked millet-brown rice-amaranth muffins!