Thursday, January 30, 2014


Best Blog Tips

I have been miserably unproductive lately-- January blahs, I guess. But one thing I've been working on intermittently is cooking with bean flours.  A few months ago I got a new WonderMill Electric Grain & Bean  Mill, so I can now mill fresh bean flour in my new machine. It has a new Bean Adapter and also a Small Grain Adapter-- see photo below. (PS: The Bean Adapter is very new, so enquire about it via the WonderMill website. Here's what this mill will grind.) You can also line the canister that the flour goes into directly from this grinder with a bag, which makes it so easy to clean up.  And you just twist-tie the bag and place it in the freezer (I keep bean flour in the freezer so it doesn't go rancid).

I've really been enjoying cooking with fresh chickpea flour and fresh white bean flour, as well as my own whole wheat flour.  Here are some posts I've done so far on: wheat flour one, two, three, four ; chickpea flour one, two ; and white bean flour one.  That was a white bean flour-based vegan Southern-style white biscuit gravy and it was delicious.

Freshly-milled white bean flour-- you can use navy beans or Great Northern beans.  This batch was made with navy beans.

I've since been experimenting with using white bean flour measure-for-measure instead of white flour as a thickener for sauces, other types of fat-fee gravy and creamy soups, with good results (more recipes will follow). It feels good to serve a gravy or sauce that actually adds some nutrition to a meal. The measure-for-measure thing works well-- you have to cook it a little longer than a sauce with white wheat flour, but there's no beany taste, as there would be if one used pureed cooked beans instead of the bean flour.  (Pureed cooked beans work well in strongly-flavored salad dressings, spreads and dips, though.)

Today I was trying to figure out what to make for a quick lunch.  I had rapini that needed using-up (rapini doesn't keep very long), so I decided a simple creamy pasta dish with rapini, onions and a few chickpeas would be a a good idea.  I've been wanting to make a fat-free vegan white bean flour-basted bechamel sauce for a while, so this seemed like a good time to try it.

It turned out to be so easy and so good-- I don't know why I haven't tried it before this! This will be my go-to Bechamel from now on!

Printable Recipe

Can be gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and/or fat-free if you wish.
4 servings  
This is a simple whole-meal recipe, but it's very satisfying and nutritious with a little kick, if you use the chile flakes).  Serve with some vegan parmesan sub to sprinkle on top (we like Go Veggie! soy parmesan).

Note: You can use more or less bean flour for other versions of this basic sauce, depending on the thickness you are going for.

Fat-Free, Creamy Vegan White Bean Flour-Based Béchamel: 
2 cups    non-dairy milk of choice (use Original type)  
1 teaspoon    vegan chicken-style broth powder or paste (I like Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Vegan Broth Base)  
1/4 cup    white bean flour (or white urad dal flour) 
1/4 teaspoon    salt  
1 pinch    grated nutmeg  
   freshly-ground pepper to taste  
Other Ingredients:
8 oz    dry egg-free tagliatelle pasta (NOTE: Tagliatelle is a dry flat pasta, often sold rolled up in "nests"-- check labels, as it is often made with eggs.) OR use linguine or fettucine, or any GF flat pasta
1 tablespoon    olive oil (see fat-free tip below)  
1 medium    onion, chopped  
1 cup    canned or cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained  
3 cloves    garlic  
1/2 teaspoon    red chili flakes (optional, but recommended)  
2 cups    chopped lightly-cooked rapini (or you could substitute mustard or turnip greens, or kale)  

To make the Béchamel sauce, place all of the Béchamel ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. I cook the sauce in the microwave, in a large ceramic or Pyrex batter bowl. I cook it on 100% power for three minutes, then whisk it then repeat for 3 minutes more. If you prefer, you can cook it in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and thickens. Note: If you make it ahead of time, reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.

Place a large pot of salted water on the stove to come to a boil. When it boils, add the pasta and boil until just al dente-- 9 to 10 minutes. When it's ready, drain in a colander and leave it there.

While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large heavy skillet (seasoned carbon steel,  seasoned cast iron, or hard-anodized) over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until they start to wilt and maybe brown a bit. Add the chickpeas, garlic and chile flakes, and saute a bit more. Lower the heat and stir in the chopped rapini and sprinkle on a bit of salt. Stir the mixture until heated through.

Fat-Free Tip: If you prefer not to use any fat in this dish you can either steam-fry the onions in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat, adding a squirt of water every now and then to keep it from sticking, and keeping it moving, until the onion starts to wilt-- then proceed as directed. OR you can place the onion in a covered microwave-safe casserole and cook on 100% power for about 4 minutes. OR you could broil them quickly on a baking sheet about 4" under your oven's broiler (watch carefully!) until they start to brown and get limp.
Then add the chickpeas, garlic and chile flakes, cover and cook for 1 more minute.

Rinse the cooked pasta with hot water, shake to drain well, and add the pasta to the skillet, along with the Béchamel. Using a large spoon and a pasta rake, mix the ingredients until well-distributed. Serve in heat pasta bowls along with the vegan parmesan.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving): 397.4 calories; 14% calories from fat; 6.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 658.4mg sodium; 592.3mg potassium; 69.1g carbohydrates; 7.0g fiber; 6.9g sugar; 62.1g net carbs; 17.1g protein.

With no olive oil, the Nutrition Stats are as follows: 367.6 calories; 7% calories from fat; 3.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 658.3mg sodium; 592.3mg potassium; 69.1g carbohydrates; 7.0g fiber; 6.9g sugar; 62.1g net carbs; 17.1g protein.



Poame said... looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

I have been diagnosed as allergic to corn. What do you recommend as a substitute in your sweet and savory dishes?

Aqiyl Aniys said...

This is awesome! I didn't know you could make flour out of white beans. I can't wait to try this.