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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

My Holiday Has-Bean Suggestions

Healthy eating this week: After all the overindulgence of the long holiday season, you are bound to be ready for some simple fare. I suggest beans and, to make things easy, here's three recipes that don't require overnight soaking for the beans.

All of these recipes serve six and are open to tinkering. The ham hock in the first recipe can be replaced with any sizeable portion of cooked ham, but the boned ham will offer a better flavor.

Beware: There is never enough ham to go around in this dish because the temptation to scoff when you are dicing it from the bone is overwhelming. I suggest you call it bean soup and let guests know that any ham in their bowls will be an extraordinary stroke of luck.

The fava is Greek and makes a great emergency meal. It will keep for a week in the fridge and can be devoured with lavash.

The last recipe is the ultimate emergency meal: keep the beans stocked in your cupboards, open, pour and reheat. You may need to double this recipe if you are serving a hungry six.

Black Bean Soup with Smoked

Ham Hock

2 cups dried black beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large smoked ham hock

5 cups chicken stock

Pinch each of chili powder,

thyme and oregano

Salt and pepper

To serve

sour cream

Rinse the beans in a colander under running water. Drain and then put into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for one hour. Then place the onion, green pepper, garlic and ham hock into a large pot with the olive oil. Wilt over medium heat.

Add the beans and their soaking liquid to the pot, and then add the chicken stock, chili, thyme and oregano. Bring the soup to the boil, then simmer gently for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

When the beans are tender, remove the ham hock and cut the meat into pieces. Puree three cups of the bean soup in a food processor, then pour the puree back into the rest of the soup.

Add the ham pieces and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Fava (Yellow Split Pea Puree)

500 grams yellow split peas

1 large onion, peeled and halved

3 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of salt

To serve

freshly ground black pepper

olive oil

1 red onion, peeled and very finely sliced

2 lemons quartered toasted


Rinse the split peas in a colander under cold, running water, carefully picking out any grit. Put the split peas and the onion in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any froth with a slotted spoon.

Add the olive oil and salt. Simmer uncovered until the split peas are almost entirely softened and have absorbed most of the water. This should take around two hours. Allow to cool, drain the excess water and then blend to a puree in a food processor. Refrigerate.

To serve: season with the freshly ground black pepper, drizzle with olive oil and scatter with the red onion. Serve with lemon wedges and toasted bread.

Two Bean Salad

400 grams of canned cannellino beans

400 grams of canned borlotti beans

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small chili seeded and finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh coriander, very finely chopped

Drain the beans in a colander under cold running water. Place them in a saucepan and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the oil and half the chili and simmer for five minutes.

Drain and place in a serving bowl. Drizzle over a little fruity olive oil, sprinkle with the reserved chili, salt and pepper and the finely chopped coriander.

Serve warm or cold.