Borlotti beans, also known as cranberry beans, are native to Italy and can charm any number of dishes with their smooth texture; mild, sweetish flavour; and versatility. Cook as per instructions below and use in soups, salads, or stews. Satisfyingly delicious. Switch out tuna with organic boneless chicken breasts, if preferred.
The bigger the beans, the longer the soaking and cooking time. Cover with enough cold water to extend above beans by 2 in (5 cm). Set aside at room temperature overnight for no longer than 12 hours. For a shorter soak, place beans in a pan of cold water with 2 in (5 cm) to spare. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 1 hour. Thoroughly drain and use as per recipe.
Dried beans will keep for 6 to 9 months in a lightly sealed container at room temperature. To have beans ready to go for quick dinner plans, soak and cook up a generous-sized pot. Strain and cool. Then store in small containers and freeze. Simply add frozen to soups and stews or thaw and toss into salads or stir-fries.
Place soaked and drained beans in large saucepan. Cover with water and 1 in (2.5 cm) to spare. Add bay leaves, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, with lid ajar, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until beans are tender but still a bit firm. Do not add salt, as it will toughen the beans. Beans can be soaked and cooked ahead. Remove bay leaves and herbs. Then drain and refrigerate for up to a couple of days. Or freeze for up to a month.
While beans are simmering, place dressing ingredients in mini blender. Whirl until emulsified. Set aside. On large serving platter, arrange spinach, onion, and cherry tomato halves. Shave cucumber into long, thin strips and add along with cooked beans. Set aside.
Combine fennel seed, salt, and generous gratings of pepper in mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder. Stir in dill. Sprinkle on cutting board and press tuna loin into seasonings to lightly coat on all sides.
Preheat barbecue or dry grill pan until very hot. Sear whole loin for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on both sides, just until lightly golden on the outside but still raw in the centre. Set aside on cutting board to rest. Drizzle with a few drops of olive oil and rub in.
To serve, cut tuna crosswise into slices. Arrange overtop salad ingredients. Dot with dressing and serve.
This recipe is part of the Growing a Dream collection.
Lime juice and ginger add a tropical whiff to this French-Japanese mashup, where seaweed tendrils and Dijon mustard bring out the umami flavours in mushrooms and eggplant. The ingredients might seem to be strange bedfellows, but they work. The result is somewhere between a quiche and a soufflé, with a gluten-free eggplant crust featuring punchy mustard and citrus. This makes for a hearty vegetarian main for brunch, lunch, or dinner with a side salad, or a filling side dish. Fresh or dried If you don’t have fresh thyme and parsley, use 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme (divided) and 1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley. The flavours won’t be as pungent, but a little flavour is better than none.
These are the perfect two-bite appetizers. Though the first bite likely won’t “wow” you, the more you chew, the more the salt from the dulse soaks into the avocado and tomato. Wait for it. You can also turn these into breakfast à la avocado toast by substituting a piece of your favourite bread for a slice of baguette. What’s in a name? Theoretically, this should be called a “DLTA” because of the avocado (dulse, lettuce, tomato, and avocado). And if you left out the lettuce, you’d have a “DTA.” A DTA would arguably be a better overall eating experience, since lettuce slightly waters down the rich and creamy result and makes it harder to keep the tomatoes from sliding off the top of the crostini. But the juicy lettuce is actually helpful, since it spreads the salt from the dulse throughout the entire bite, making the “wow” moment come sooner. Besides, neither DLTA nor DTA is as fun an acronym as DLT.
This triple-threat recipe is made with (up to) three types of seaweed. Wakame is essential for the pesto, but kombu boosts the umami punch of sautéed garlic and cherry tomatoes, while kelp noodles are a low-carb substitute for flour-based noodles. Because kelp noodles can be hard to find (you’ll likely need to order them online), feel free to use your favourite boxed linguine, zucchini noodles, shirataki konjac, tofu, or yam noodles instead. You can also leave out the vongole (clams) to keep the recipe plant-based, or use mussels, which are usually more affordable than clams. Both clams and mussels are generally sustainable, as, like seaweed, they’re farmed without feed or antibiotics, unlike many farmed fish operations. Double-duty pesto Make a double batch of seaweed pesto, and enjoy it with eggs, scrambled tofu, or toast.
Spicy popcorn? You bet. This Japanese seven-spice blend combines salty and spicy notes for a healthy snack. If you don’t make your own togarashi, check the container before adding it to your popcorn to make sure it doesn’t contain salt. For an even simpler recipe, skip the togarashi and just grind a few pieces of nori and a pinch of salt in a blender or spice grinder to sprinkle on your popcorn instead. If you’re fresh out of nori, you can always grind wakame, arame, or dulse instead, leaving out the pinch of salt for dulse or any seaweed you taste and find already salty. Shichimi togarashi This customizable spice blend generally features sansho pepper, a.k.a. Japanese prickly ash, a green peppercorn with a citrusy taste, along with seaweed flakes, chili pepper, and dried citrus peel—often yuzu or mandarin orange. If you can’t find sansho, look for Sichuan peppercorn, which has a slightly stronger mouth-tingling effect. You can buy dried orange, mandarin, or tangerine peel. Or you can dehydrate your own, in which case you might as well dehydrate a 1/8 in (3 mm) thick piece of fresh ginger along with the peel. If you can’t handle a lot of chili pepper heat, reduce the pepper to your taste.