Beans are among the healthiest, most delicious foods on earth. The Better Bean Cookbook (Sterling Epicure, 2014), by Jenny Chandler, is the essential modern guide to preparing beans with an illustrated guide to all dried beans, chickpeas and lentils. Both vegetarians and meat-eaters will enjoy these delicious bean dishes. This roasted roots recipe is from the section, “Vegetarian Mains.”
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Today’s recipes often call for all sorts of weird and wonderful ingredients destined to languish in the back of the pantry until they reach their ‘best before’ date. You might consider this sweet-and-sour pomegranate molasses to be one of them. Think again. The syrup makes a fabulous Middle Eastern dressing with a touch of lemon juice and plenty of olive oil, and can be brushed on roasting chicken, duck or lamb for a glorious glaze, is fantastically refreshing when mixed with chilled fizzy water and seems to keep ad infinitum. Naturally sweet root vegetables and chickpeas make a great combination with the yogurt, but it’s the pomegranate molasses and spices that lift this dish onto another plain.
• 400 g/14 oz carrots, preferably small ones, halved if large
• 3 parsnips, quartered lengthwise, woody core removed
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• salt and pepper
• 300 g/10-1/2 oz beets, peeled and cut into quarters or bite-sized chunks
• 250 g/9 oz home-cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1 x 400g/14 oz can of chickpeas
• 4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
• 1 tsp caraway seeds
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1/2 tsp chili flakes or milder Aleppo chili flakes
• juice of 1 lemon
• extra-virgin olive oil
• large handful of flat-leaf parsley, cilantro (cilantro) or a mixture of both, chopped
• 250 g/9 oz Greek-style yogurt
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit/Gas mark 6.
2. Toss the carrots and parsnips in a large roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a little salt. If the pan is large enough, use a small corner for the beets and toss that in the remaining oil; otherwise you will require a separate pan. Try not to toss the beets with the other vegetables at any stage, otherwise your entire dish will turn a rather unappetizing, lurid pink.
3. Roast the vegetables for about 15 minutes, then add the chickpeas. Turn the vegetables carefully and roll the chickpeas around to pick up any oil in the pan.
4. Roast for a further 10 minutes, then tip over the molasses and scatter with the spices. Turn the vegetables in the sticky syrup and roast for a further 5–10 minutes, until just tender, but not soft, and starting to brown. Season well with salt, a bit more chili or pepper, some lemon juice and a dash of extra- virgin olive oil.
5. Pile the vegetables on a large platter and scatter with the herbs. Serve hot or warm, with a bowl of yogurt to spoon out at the table.
More from The Better Bean Cookbook:
Reprinted with permission from The Better Bean Cookbook © 2014 by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.