Category Archives: Beans and Legumes

The Anatomy of a Healthy but Really Delicious Pizza…

Okay. So this pizza was delicious. I say “was” and not “is” because I ate more than half of it for dinner and I’ll likely eat the rest before the night is out. Anyhow, this post is more about the crust than what is on it (because you can really put whatever you like on a pizza). In an ongoing effort to make healthier bread and pizza dough I not only used 100% whole wheat flour (which I usually do) but I also added beans to the dough. This last step isn’t that unusual for me either as Ezekiel bread and its many variations are one of my favorite doughs. But what is a bit unusual is the amount of beans-to-flour ratio…the dough is made up of about 50% beans. I added just enough water to the beans to allow them to puree smoothly. Pictured below.

And then added enough flour to the bean puree (with a few other basic ingredients) to make a dough. Delicious. I’m not sure this would make a good bread, or should I say light bread, because of the high ration of beans, but it did make a fine pizza dough. On the pizza–as pictured below–I also added a thin coating of pesto (click for a recipe), a thin layer of tomato sauce (click for a recipe), a layer of broccoli aglio e olio (click for multiple recipes), and of course cheese (Ok, so the cheese is not the healthiest ingredient, but it is good and I cannot eat pasta or pizza without it). Anyhow, the recipe for the dough is listed after the photos.

Whole Wheat and Bean Pizza Dough

Makes enough dough for a 12-inch pizza

1 (15oz. can) beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup water


1/3 cup bean puree

1 teaspoon instant yeast

1/4 cup whole wheat flour


2/3 cup bean puree

1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup whole wheat flour


3 tablespoons virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (if needed)

Combine the beans and water in a blender and puree until smooth. This should make about 1 cup of puree. Divide the puree into two bowls; 1/3 in one bowl and 2/3 in another. In the first bowl (the one with 1/3 puree) stir in 1 teaspoon yeast and 1/4 cup flour. It will be thick and sticky; almost dough-like. In the second bowl (the one with 2/3 puree) stir in 1 tablespoon wheat gluten and ½ cup flour. This will also be dough-like. Cover the bowls with plastic and allow them to rest and ferment for 1 hour. Then combine the contents of both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Also add to the bowl the olive oil, two teaspoons of instant yeast, the honey, and the salt. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes. If the dough is too wet or sticky add the additional 2 tablespoons of flour. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow to rise for an hour or two. Use with any pizza recipe.

Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (yum!)

Crispy and super flavorful. So yes, these are as delicious as they look. They are really easy to make, and can be frozen, too. Eat them on a sandwich, place them on a salad, or nibble them straight from the pan…you won’t be sorry if you make this recipe. For a southwestern black bean-cheddar version of these burgers, click here.


Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (with sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and rosemary)

Makes 10 (4 ounce) burgers

2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 eggs
¼ cup hot pepper sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
6-8 sun dried tomatoes, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 small bunch Italian parsley, chopped
½ small onion, minced
½ red bell pepper, minced
1 cup crumbled feta (3-4 ounces)
1 cup bread crumbs (plus extra for dusting)

Olive oil for cooking

Place half of the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse for just a few seconds, until coarse but slightly mashed; transfer these beans to a large bowl. Add the remaining beans to the food processor along with the eggs, hot pepper sauce, garlic, smoked paprika, turmeric, and sea salt; process until very smooth, then add this mixture to the bowl with the coarse beans. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, parsley, onion, and bell pepper to the bowl also. Mix everything thoroughly, then add the cheese and bread crumbs and mix again. Divide the mix into ten balls and shape into burgers, transferring them to platters or a baking sheet that is lightly dusted with breadcrumbs. Heat a large heavy skillet with 1/8th  inch olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook the burgers for about 10 minutes, turning them as necessary, or until golden, crispy, and cooked throughout. Transfer to absorbent paper before serving.

Urban Simplicity.

Fourteen Bean, Grain, and Legume Bread (a meal in every slice)

I’ve posted this recipe some time ago but it is so easy to make and so delicious that I thought I would re-post it. This is really a variation of my Ezekiel Bread recipe (click here or here) but somewhat simplified in that you boil the beans all at once rather than in stages. And while I used 14 different beans and legumes nearly any can be used, or even just one (the recipe below reflects this).

What I find interesting about this bread is that while it adds tons of nutrition to the bread it also adds a soft texture. And interestingly, the beans mostly are mashed into the bread itself when kneaded. You can see in the image above there are just specs of beans in the finished slice. And if you are worried that this is a difficult bread to make, don’t be…basically, after boiling the beans or grains you simply make this like you would any other whole wheat bread except you utilize the cooking liquid as the water and add the beans to the dough.

Whole Bean Bread
Makes 2 or 3 loaves
12 cups water
1 cup dried beans
cooked beans and grains
½ cup cooking water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast

4 cups whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2 cups cooking liquid
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher
3 teaspoons instant yeast

Boil the beans until very soft. As the beans cook add more water to the pot as necessary because the cooking liquid, which is full of nutrients, will become part of the recipe (keeping a lid on the pot will slow it’s evaporation). After the beans are cooked allow them to cool in the liquid to room temperature, refrigerating if necessary. After the beans are cooled drain them, squeezing them with your hands or the back of a spoon, reserving the cooking liquid.

Place two bowls side-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the other autolyse. In one bowl combine the cooked and drained beans with ½ cup of the cooking liquid, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 2 teaspoons instant yeast. Stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap. In the other bowl combine 4 cups whole wheat flour, 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, and 2 cups cooking liquid; stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap (take care not to get yeast into this bowl). Allow the bowls to rest at room temperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.
After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the honey, olive oil, salt, and 3 teaspoons of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.

Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.