Cool Beans and Happy Cows!

Calling All Recipes!

We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good! Big thanks to Kolya for responding promptly with this week’s treats.

Cool Beans! Amazing Recipes from Soups to Sweets

by Kolya Braun-Greiner

Our family has enjoyed many delicious and truly innovative dishes and desserts from The Great Vegan Bean Book by Kathy Hester. We’ve had this cookbook for a while among our many cookbooks, but it had been underutilized, and our newfound interest in eating lower on the food chain has led me to review it again for new ideas when it’s my turn to make dinner.

Alicia C. Simpson, author of Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food, raves about how creative the author is with beans! It “is a masterpiece! Kathy Hester takes beans beyond the boundaries of your imagination and into the land of sweet decadence and savory delights.” The over 100 recipes draw upon the wide variety of beans available – whether they are fresh, dried or canned – and her recipes always show a gluten-free or soy-free option when appropriate. It’s BEAN a wonderful adventure trying various recipes to enhance our plant-based food options!

The two recipes below, slightly adapted from The Great Vegan Bean Book, give a good idea of the range of delightful flavors you are invited to enjoy!

Here’s a delicious high protein version of the traditional (ground beef) Bolognese, which freezes up quite nicely so making a double batch saves you time on another dinner. This was so savory that it’s a “keeper” that we’ll repeat into the future.

Read more: Cool Beans and Happy Cows!

Lentil Quinoa Bolognese

(She says 8 servings, but I think it’s more like 6.)

  • 1 cup lentils (green, brown, or beluga)
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled if not organic), each cut into 4 large pieces
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small onion
  • 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped (or 1 medium zucchini if you don’t care for bell peppers)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • ½ cup red wine or 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (it tasted great with both! – but try one and add the other)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked pasta — 1-lb. box (linguini is good – use GF if that’s needed)


  • Add the lentils, carrots, and water to a large soup pot. Turn the heat to high, cook until the mixture is simmering and then decrease to low and cover. Cook until the lentils are tender, 20-30 minutes.
  • While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper (or zucchini) and sauté for 1 minute more.
  • Once the carrots and lentils are cooked, remove the carrots from the pot of lentils and add them to a food processor or blender along with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kale, and sautéed veggies, and puree until smooth.
  • At the same time, add the quinoa and red wine (and/or balsamic vinegar) to the pot of lentils. Turn the heat to medium, cook until it starts to simmer again, and then cover and decrease the heat to low. Cook until the quinoa start to show their white tails.
  • Add the puree to the lentil-quinoa mixture and cook covered over low heat until the sauce melds and heats thoroughly, about 20 minutes.


And now for dessert … a special surprise (or a nice afternoon snack on a hot day)!

Black Bean Fudgesicles

(No kidding – these taste almost like the original!)

  • frozen pop molds – for 6 pops
  • 1½ cups cooked black beans or 1- 15 oz. can rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14 oz.) light coconut milk
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Puree all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. There will be some black flecks from the black bean skins, but you can strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve if you like.

Fill your frozen pop molds about 7/8th’s full of the mixture. Freeze for several hours or overnight before serving.


Vegan Summer Vacation

Finding a good vegan meal on the road used to be a haphazard (and less than satisfying) adventure, but times have changed. Traveling vegans no longer have to leave their nutritional needs solely to chance or settle for salad and a baked potato at a steak house.

One of the first things we do when planning travel is to check out the vegan options at any prospective destination. HappyCow, which has been compiling vegan information for over a decade, makes this incredibly easy. If you have a destination in mind, you can search the site for vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants and stores. If your travel plans are more flexible, you could start with HappyCow’s Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities and decide you want to eat your way around London (#1 on the list), Melbourne (#4), or Bangkok (#7).

Another option is to use a vegan travel agency to customize your itinerary. Green Earth Travel, which started in 1997, has been joined by many others who will design a cruelty-free trip for you. Some specialize in fully immersive experiences, some in cruises, some in package tours, some in particular geographic regions—something for everyvegan.

If you haven’t made a plan or haven’t located any vegan restaurants, it’s always worthwhile to see if local restaurants have vegan dishes and, if not, to ask if they can make you something vegan. We stumbled upon some of the best, most beautiful food of our lives this way in Belize. And more and more, restaurants in far-flung places will boast that they offer vegan food.

By the way, the HappyCow app is also great if you just want to find a new restaurant in town. Their DC Top 10 can point you to kosher fast food, comfort food, fine dining, you name it. Or just search wherever you are.

Bottom line, as the New York Times put it, vegan travel is not fringe anymore. Go forth and eat coconut curry, moussaka, doughnuts, pierogi, bibimbap, pizza, sushi . . . !


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Domestic Giving 2023
Lectionary and Nice Cream!