Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Cranberry beans and pistachio pesto
After reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, I have come to learn that eating too much meat AND chicken is actually not good for you. Meat and chicken are not necessarily bad for us, but in our society we eat meat in tremendous quantities. We should probably eat it as a side dish and not as our main course for every meal.
There are many studies that have shown that the more meat you consume in your diet, the greater your chances are of having heart disease and cancer. I have wrestled with this and wondered if I should become a vegetarian. But after much thought and deliberation, I have decided against it since studies have also shown that the lack of meat and chicken in a diet can cause the brain to shrink over time. So…I have decided to follow a happy medium and to eat less meat and chicken. I will not remove it completely from my diet, but I am going to make a conscious effort to seek out more plant based foods that are rich in protein such as beans, tofu, nuts and seeds. I haven’t exactly shared this plan with my husband since he claims to be a full on “meatatrian”, nor do I plan to… but I’ll be sure to make meals that he will enjoy without him suspecting my plan. So far the results have been positive. Shhh! So far he hasn’t noticed that I have only been cooking chicken once a week!
This thought process is what inspired this recipe. It uses creamy and meaty cranberry beans fresh from the pod and paired beautifully with pistachio pest. I’ve read about cranberry beans but have never actually seen any in the store. But upon seeing them at the farmer’s market, I was thrilled. They were really very hard to miss as the pods are adorned with brightly colored pink stripes and specs.
Cranberry Beans with Pistachio Pesto
2 quarts water
4 cups shelled fresh cranberry beans
2 Pinches of salt
¾ cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of pecans or walnuts
3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1. Bring salted water to a rolling boil in a saucepan; add cranberry beans. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes or until tender. Drain beans and place in a large bowl.
2. In a food processor, add basil, parmesan, olive oil, garlic, pecans or walnuts, lemon juice and pinch of salt. Process until smooth. Add herb mixture to the beans and toss. Serve as a vegetarian entrée .
Source: Cooking Light, June 2010. Page 166.
Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Penguin Press, 2008.