Vegan Chilli Spiced Black Beans, Veggies & Buckwheat with Cumin & Coriander

28863488_UnknownWell, it’s mid June and still we are wearing long socks and woolly cardis while cowering inside from gale force winds and rain, but worry not, we Brits are a hardy bunch and we know how to keep our peckers up! Here’s an easy wholesome dinner that will not only warm your cockles but is satisfyingly healthy too.

Buckwheat is a good alternative to rice and quinoa and very versatile. You can even eat it without cooking: it’s a nce crunch in muesli or energy balls, goes well lightly toasted in granola or with other seeds and a splash of tamari. It’s gluten-free, a vegan source of protein and magnesium, B vitamins and fibre. It’s satisfyingly nutty – suits me then! – and filling.

Black beans are also a great source of vegan protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre.* This recipe uses some fresh summer vegetables: you can mix and match the types of fresh beans, mushrooms and tomatoes, use fresh chilli if you like it – I’m a bit of a wimp so this has a little chilli powder in it.

The thing is not to overcook it. It took about 30 minutes. How you serve it is entirely up to you – my husband decided to fry a (veggie) burger and some onions to have with it, I drew the line at the chips (fries) he proposed to have too :-)) I had it with some green salad.

All measurements and timings are very approximate.

Serves 2-3

All ingredients are vegan, gluten-free, and organic where possible and unpeeled



1 Tsp Coconut Oil, melted in a frying pan

1/2 Tsp Chilli Powder

1Tsp Dried Cumin

Onion, chopped

Pressed Garlic

Fresh Green Beans, washed, topped and tailed, chopped

Half a Courgette, washed and chopped

Few Chestnut Mushrooms, washed and chopped


1/3 Cup Buckwheat

Approx. 250mls Vegetable Stock

Few Fresh Baby Plum Tomatoes, sliced

1 Tsp Raw Coconut Palm Sugar

Fresh Coriander, chopped and some reserved


Black Pepper

1/2 Tin Black Beans, drained and rinsed


Cook the spices, onion and garlic in the coconut oil for a few minutes, stirring

Add green beans, courgette and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes, stirring

Add the buckwheat, stirring, then the stock, sweetcorn, frsh coriander, a splash of tamari and black pepper.

Cover and cook on a low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When almost done and most of te liquid absorbed, gently mix in the black beans and scatter the sliced tomatoes on top.

Cover and allow to heat through for a couple of minutes.

Serve in a hot bowl with fresh coriander.


*See also  Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger

Red Lettuce & Black Bean Protein Salad

Rice Bowl with Mildly Spiced Veggies, Vegan Black Bean Burger & Cashew Cheese Sauce

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Crunchy & Satisfying Black Bean, Red Grape & Hemp Seed Salad

img_2921This is the salad I had for dinner the evening before I began a 3 week juice programme in what turned out to be a relatively mild January. Given that I’ve scheduled this post for March, it is probably snowing outside, but hopefully the sun has begun to appear and remember …

Salad isn’t just for Summer!

There is nothing wilted or boring about this salad, it has a satisfying crunch and crispness plus it takes no time to put together. It is nutrient-dense, fibre-rich and has a variety of colours, providing a wide range of protein, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.

Black beans are a great vegan source of protein and they make this salad very filling. ( See Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger and Red Lettuce & Black Bean Protein Salad for more information on the health benefits of black beans plus recipes).

The grapes add some sweetness and the resveratrol which gives them their colour is reputed to be anti-ageing and heart-healthy. They also make a  nice contrast with the spring onions, which contain prebiotics – these promote a healthy gut environment in which beneficial probiotics can grow. (Tiger nuts are also good sources of prebiotics).

The Greens provide protein, iron, B vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and aid digestion.

Celery is a good source of potassium, needed for a healthy circulatory system, B vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin C , fibre and vitamin K, required for blood clotting and good bone health.

Hemp seeds are rich in protein, B vitamins and healthy fats. (See Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?! for the full lowdown on these nutrient-dense seeds).

You can add baby tomatoes too if you like, I omitted them because I don’t eat nightshade foods (reputed to increase inflammation and aggravate skin and joint conditions).

Vegan, Gluten-free, Nut-free and Organic where possible.


Half a tin Black Beans, rinsed

Mixed Rocket, Watercress and Spinach, washed

Celery, washed and chopped

Shaved Carrot (washed with peel left on)

Spring onions, chopped

A few Sugar Snap Peas, washed and trimmed

1 Tbsp Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds, sprinkled on

Broccoli, shredded and sprinkled on

Red Grapes, washed

Tamari and Organic Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Black Pepper

Arrange as creatively as you can, digestion begins with the eyes.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Nutty Bean & Beetroot Veggie Burgers with Quinoa & Redcurrants

These are the third in a series of attempts to find a tasty home-made veggie burger that holds together well and I think in the latter category, these are the best! I think the key might be in using chia egg (chia seeds soaked in water to form a gel) rather than just the chia seeds on their own. In the other recipes, we had assumed that the seeds would soak up any excess moisture in the mix and combined with the chickpea flour, would hold it together. They worked well, but these worked even better.

Don’t be put off by the beetroot, they are peeled and grated and the burgers don’t taste earthy at all. Beetroot are heart healthy, a good source of potassium and good for the circulation. (Read Make Beetroot Your New Veg Friend! for the full benefits of eating/juicing beetroot).

I had a couple of burgers warm with some quinoa and a red- and whitecurrant dressing, with a green salad. The rest were put in the freezer and I had a couple when we had a picnic on a sunny day and they were even better! They held together and tasted amazing – I ate them with my fingers, like a biscuit, and they didn’t break up.

Quinoa is a complete protein and also gluten-free. It can be a little bland unless you add some spices, lime juice or dried fruit for example, here we’ve made a dressing using fresh red and white currants, but you could use defrosted frozen berries or dried cranberries.

Apart from being very tasty, redcurrants are a rich source of dietary fibre, potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin K – necessary for blood-clotting and for good bone health.


Ingredients – Burgers

1/2 Tin Black Beans, drained & rinsed

1/2 Medium Beetroot, grated

1 Small Onion, chopped

1 Clove of Garlic, crushed

1 Cup Ground Walnuts (you could substitute for seeds or other nuts, but they would give a different texture and flavour)

2″ Slice Marrow, chopped or 1/2 Courgette (Zucchini)

2 Chestnut Mushrooms, chopped

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds soaked in 3 Tbsps Water, stirred vigorously, to form a gel

1 1/2 Cups Chickpea Flour (garbanzo or gram)

A Squeeze of Tomato Purée

1 Tsp Vegetable Bouillon Powder

1/2 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

Handful Fresh Coriander, chopped

Splash of Tamari

Pink Himalayan Salt & Black Pepper

A little coconut oil for frying.


Put everything in the food processor and pulse/slow process until it starts to come together but is still coarse, you don’t want it too smooth & mushy. Scrape it down between each blast.

With floured hands take handfuls of mix and form into burgers on a floured board using a flat spatula to help it come together if necessary. Sprinkle with a little flour before cooking. We made 5.


Melt a little coconut oil in a frying pan, but not to smoking point, and gently cook the burgers. You might prefer to cook them in the oven.



Just before you cook the burgers, put on some quinoa to cook as per instructions, keep the lid on until cooked, about 10-12 minutes – you want the moisture evaporated but the quinoa still keeping its shape, not broken up and mushy. If there is still some moisture, leave the lid off and turn the heat off but keep the pan on the warm plate, or turn it out into a hot dish and fluff it gently with a fork to allow the moisture to escape.

Red and White Currant Dressing

I adapted this from an Able & Cole recipe.

Place about 125g fresh Red and White Currants in a saucepan, add approximately 2 Tbsps water, 1 Tsp Maple Syrup, 1 Tsp Cumin Seeds. Heat slowly until the currants burst slightly. Remove from heat.

Pour half into the quinoa and lightly mix. Check seasoning.

Serve the burgers with the quinoa and a green salad and drizzle over the rest of the dressing.

See Vegan Tiger Nut & Peanut Chilli-Burger (you can use substitutes for Tiger Nuts) and Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger for the other recipes.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger

Greg over at Pleasant Peasant Cuisine, is a lifelong vegetarian and is on a quest to find the perfect veggie burger. He has several great recipes on his blog. We too hanker after a good, tasty burger, but ours is even more difficult to find as it has to be vegan, gluten-free and nightshade-free, so no egg, wheatflour or tomato. We also need it to be simple, quick and uncomplicated!

Greg has used kidney beans, tofu and seitan, but we decided to try and devise our own version using black beans, which we’d never had before. We enhanced the protein content of the beans with organic chickpea flour to hold it together, chia seeds instead of egg, and walnuts to give it some bite and texture, as well as sweetcorn for a little colour.

Everything was thrown into the food processor and pulsed to bring it together, then shaped and cooked in a little coconut oil in a frying pan.

Black beans are often used in cajun and creole cooking and are good for vegetarians and vegans alike as they are high in protein and fibre:

1 Cup of cooked black beans provides 1/3 of a day’s protein requirement + 15g of fibre – US dietary guidelines recommend 21-25g per day for women and 30-38g per day for men.

They are also a good source of Vitamin B1 (thiamine) which, along with the other B vitamins, helps convert carbohydrates to glucose for fuel to provide energy and also helps metabolise fats and protein.

Black beans contain magnesium – important for relaxing muscles, good quality sleep and elevating mood – as well as iron.

So, on to the burgers – you thought I’d never get there, didn’t you?!

As always, the measurements are appoximate, it was a case of let’s try this and see how it goes and if it’s not enough add a bit more! Everything was organic and gluten-free. If you want a bit more colour or spice, you can add chilli powder or flakes or paprika or different herbs.


1 Cup Cooked Organic Black Beans (we used tinned, strained and rinsed)

1/2 Cup Walnut Pieces

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds* in 1 Tbsp Water

1 Cup Frozen Sweetcorn, defrosted

1 Onion, chopped

1/2 Stick Celery + leaves, chopped

1/2 Small Carrot, shaved

1 Clove Garlic, pressed

A good splash of Tamari

1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds

Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt + Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Dried Miso Soup

2-3 Tbsps Chickpea Flour + extra for shaping & frying

imagePut everything in the food processor and pulse a few times to  bring it together, don’t overdo it  you want some texture not a purée! Test to see if you can squeeze it together. If it’s too wet, add a little more flour.

Dust a board with some flour and shape the mix into burgers.


We managed 4 good-sized ones and a smaller one.

They are quite soft, so handle gently and use a fish slice to lift them into the pan and flip them over.

Melt a little coconut oil in a large frying pan, but not smoking.


Cook on a medium heat turning a couple of times until done.

imageServed with a watercress or babyleaf and rocket salad, we added sprouted mung beans (more protein), and cumin spiced sweet potato oven chips (fries) with a piquant cashew ‘cheese’ sauce (see here for recipe),


Do visit Greg, his blog is full of improvised, unusual and colourful recipes and beautiful photos (click on the link at the top of this post).


Copyright: Chris McGowan

Red Lettuce & Black Bean Protein Salad

imageA short post of a quick salad lunch that was made up of leftover items the day before shopping. These are often the most interesting and unusual meals made up of ingredients you wouldn’t normally put together.

This isn’t too outlandish though, it’s very plain and simple but looks more posh than it is due to the presentation, which often tempts a reluctant eater into trying something they would instantly refuse if you suggested it.

This salad has black beans left over from making veggie burgers (recipe here for Vegan Black Bean & Walnut Veggie Burger ) – an excellent source of vegan protein – in a tamari and olive oil dressing with more protein in the shelled hemp seeds and walnut pieces scattered on top. You could add more colour with tiny tomatoes and red and yellow peppers, but I don’t eat them due to them being nightshade foods, which can exacerbate skin and joint problems.

Ingredients (all organic)

Cover the plate with washed Red Lettuce Leaves

Make an inner circle of thinly sliced Cucumber (Washed and peel on)

Place julienne sticks of Carrot (washed but peel on) on top of the cucumber

Halve some Red Grapes (washed well, especially if not organic as they are usually sprayed many times during their production) and lay on top of the carrot.

Mix 1/2 Tin of rinsed Black Beans and some chopped up Spring Onion in a dressing of Tamari, Black Pepper and Raw Virgin Olive Oil

Tip into the middle of the salad

Scatter Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds over the salad and top it off with a scattering of Walnut pieces.

Drizzle more dressng over the salad.

Copyright: Chris McGowan