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At beagleman’s the classic Appalachian trio of beans, greens, and taters is central to our stable of comfort foods. To spice up a familiar meal, sometimes I like to bring unconventional preparations and recipes to traditional ingredients.

Perhaps meatloaf isn’t the most glamorous staple of weeknight cooking, but for my money it’s one of the heartiest comfort food dishes on the block. I’ve experimented with Vegan meatloaf alternatives for years. Vital wheat gluten and two varieties of beans create a protein-packed entrée bursting with flavor.

My recipe for collard greens with toasted pecans brings unconventional flavor pairings to traditional ingredients. The honey, mustard, and red wine reduction brings a crisp, tangy glaze to the familiar flavors of pecans and collards.

Fingerling potatoes are among my favorite ingredients to work with. These small, narrow potatoes are sometimes confused with new potatoes, but unlike new potatoes, fingerlings are fully mature when harvested. In addition to their unique shape, fingerlings also have a subtle, buttery flavor that makes them perfect for roasting.

What are your favorite twists on traditional dishes? We want to hear from you! Write beaglemansstudios@gmail.com with your questions, comments, feedback, and jokes. And don’t forget to check back every Wednesday for more from Collard Green!

 

Bean Loaf 

½ cup red onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 15.5 ounce can Cannellini beans, rinsed

1 15.5 ounce can Pinto beans, rinsed

1 cup vegetable broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

½ teaspoon marjoram

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

dash Tobasco

1 cup vital wheat gluten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small skillet, sauté onion for 5 minutes in olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 additional minute. Then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Cannellini and Pinto beans. Using a potato masher, cream the bean until they form a chunky paste. Add vegetable broth and tomato paste and stir until your reach a uniformly thinner consistency. Add salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, parsley and Tobasco. Add sautéed onions and garlic. Stir until combined. Then, add vital wheat gluten and stir until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick dough.

Grease a loaf pan (approximately 9 ½ by 4 ½ by 3 inches). Pour the bean mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top of the loaf is a crisp golden brown. Serve warm. (Leftovers are also great for lunch when served on a whole wheat bun.)

(Yields: 6 servings; Ready In: 45 minutes)

 

Collard Greens with Toasted Pecans

6 cups collard greens, washed and torn into salad-size pieces

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

dash of hot sauce

1 ½ tablespoons canola oil

½ cup pecan pieces, toasted for about 5 minutes in a small skillet

Combine vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce.

In a large wok or skillet, heat oil and add toasted pecans. Add vinegar mixture and cook, over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 4 to 5 minutes. When the mixture reaches the consistency of a glaze, stir in greens coating the pieces evenly. Cover the skillet and reduce heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes longer, adding ¼ cup of water if necessary to maintain the sauce’s glaze-like consistency. 

(Yields: 4 servings; Ready In: 20 minutes)

 

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

8-10 fingerling potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice fingerlings in half and place them in a small baking dish. Sprinkle olive oil over the potatoes. Add salt, pepper, and paprika, sprinkling evenly. Using your hands, rub each potato so that it is evenly covered with oil and spices.

Place the potatoes in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and turn them so that they cook evenly. Return to oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.

(Yields: 4 servings; Ready In: 30 minutes)