Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice

Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice packs in enough flavor to skip the meat. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
Red beans and rice can be a simple comfort food, relying on browned onions and meat for its main flavor, but I take it much further in the vegetarian version I share this week in my Twice as Tasty column for the Flathead Beacon. My favorite version of this quintessential Southern dish has a long ingredient list packed with flavor.

If you tend to believe that a recipe with more than a handful of ingredients is too complicated to make, look at this one again: You’re essentially dumping everything into a pot, cooking it, and serving it over steamed rice. And if you’re missing something on the list, you can pretty much cook the beans with as many of the ingredients as you do have and end up with a delicious meal.

There is one shortcut I use to shorten the ingredient list: If I’m cooking dried beans, I preseason them with many of the flavorings and then just add the final ingredients when I make the dish as a quick midweek meal.
Learn to make Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice

From Garden to Oven

You can put the heat on unexpected spring vegetables, like lettuces and radishes. Get garden-to-oven recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
When the first vegetables grow big enough to harvest from the garden, I’m usually focused on enjoying them raw and fresh: leafy greens and herbs, green onions and garlic, radishes and peas. But as the recipes I’ve shared this month have shown, you can think beyond salads, garnishes, and snacks and actually cook these vegetables, whether they’re wilted over pasta or baked into a quiche.

You may already serve some spring produce, like asparagus and rhubarb, hot and sizzling. But it may never have occurred to you to put the heat on other vegetables, like lettuces and radishes.
Learn to cook spring vegetables and make Balsamic-Roasted Radishes

Beans and Cornbread

Homemade vegetarian baked beans can have the perfect balance of sweet and tang. Get bean recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Baked beans can be a vegetarian’s guilty pleasure. Cans on the store shelf often make up for the lack of bacon by upping the sweetness factor, taking the beans out of the “healthy food” realm and putting them in the same category as store-bought granola and sweet potato fries. It’s unfortunate, because when cooked properly, vegetarian baked beans can have the perfect balance of sweet and tang.

I’ve always found canned vegetarian baked beans to be cloyingly sweet. Then I got hooked on beans in tomato sauce when I lived in London. These navy beans stewed in tomato sauce and popped into a can aren’t exactly gourmet, but the first flavor on my tongue wasn’t corn syrup. The Brits are great fans of them as beans on toast. As filling as this meal was on a backpacker budget, a stand in Covent Garden went one better: for a few quid, I could get a giant, piping hot jacket potato smothered in these beans. Since then, I’ve upscaled the beans, but I still love to serve them in baked potatoes.
Learn to make Vegetarian Baked Beans and Baked Polenta

Scallions and Radishes

These scallion pancakes are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, easy, and tasty. Get savory pancake recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
When the summer harvest hits its peak, one of my favorite meals is a batch of Zucchini Pancakes with Fresh Asian Salad. I enjoy these so much that a freeze grated zucchini so that I can make them all year. But the salad, with its freshy harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, and basil, is really a summer thing. So I’ve been craving a combination I could enjoy earlier in the season, while my tomato plants are still seedlings.

For a quick spring variation, I hit upon the pairing of scallions and radishes. You can easily find scallions, or green onions, at the grocery store year-round, but if you grow a garden you can harvest scallions or young perennial walking onions in spring, the tops portions of full bulb onions in summer, leeks in fall, and chives from pots all year. Each can be used in this pancake recipe. To make this recipe even more accessible, I decided to keep the pancakes gluten free, dairy free, and vegan.
Learn to make Scallion Pancakes with Chickpea Flour and Lemony Radish Salad