Recipes of the Week: Chocolate, Beans and Tortillas, Oh My!

Afternoon Snack Recipe: Healthy Crunchy Crispy Snack Beans


Have you heard? Beans are underappreciated superfoods! Chockfull of fiber and protein, beans are also filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants–plus, they’ve been show to actually lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And they can be so good. I loved this recipe (and its very descriptive title) for Healthy Crunchy Crispy Snack Beans on HelloGiggles. With cannellini and garbanzo beans, it’s got the nutritious part well covered, and it’s spiced up with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder. Bake the mixture in the oven and voila–a crunchy, savory, low in fat snack! So delicious! What’s your favorite bean? How often do you cook with beans?

Courtesy of Glamour.

tortilla-pizzaThe Secret to Thin-Crust Pizza: Tortillas

From tortillas to naan to crepes, every culture has its favorite flatbread. (As opposed to risen, rounded breads.) One of my favorite flatbreads is whole-corn tortillas. While crepes are delightfully supple and soft, tortillas become magnificently crunchy after a few minutes on the stove – just heat in a dry skillet over medium heat for about two minutes on each side. They’ll turn crispy upon sitting off the heat. Or you can gently heat them and immediately shape/fold them while they’re still pliable.

The classic breakfast dish huevos rancheros tops tortillas with eggs, cheese, and salsa. Tostadas consist of crispy tortillas topped with darn near anything you like. Put those two concepts together, and I thought it would be fun to do an Italian take on tortillas: make them into mini-pizzas. The whole trick is toasting the tortilla before baking it – that way, your super-thin “crust” won’t get soggy.

Tortilla Pizza

Count on 2 tortillas per serving.

Pan-toast two whole-grain corn tortillas in dry skillets over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side or until the tortilla acquires a few toasty dark brown spots. (I use small crepe-sized skillets, putting one 6″ tortilla in each skillet.) Place toasted tortillas on a foil- or parchment-covered baking sheet or tray and top with your choice of sauce: marinara, bolognese (just add sautéed meat to your marinara), palomino, even salsa. Add any chopped and sautéed veggies or meat you might like, then top with a cheese of your choice. I opted for a raw-milk yogurt cheese I’d stumbled upon at the market earlier that week. Its slight tanginess was the perfect foil to the slightly sweet flavor of the corn tortilla. But any cheese that melts well is a good option, from mozzarella to gouda. Bear in mind that any cheese made with milk from grass-fed animals tastes better and is more flavorful than conventional cheese. (Once you’ve had the good grass-fed stuff, conventional cheese starts to taste like plastic. Believe me, you’ll be so glad you made the switch!)

Bake your pizza at about 350 for 5 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. I stuck mine in the toaster oven, and due to the small space, my pizza was done in about 5 minutes. It’ll take more like 10 minutes in a standard oven.

¡Buen provecho!

date-browniesOne Brownie to Rule Them All

Ultra-Dark Oat & Date Brownies

Whole-grain baked goods are, by nature, drier than baked goods made with refined flour. Sometimes this is a good thing – biscotti and crackers are supposed to be crunchy and dry, meant to be dunked into coffee or spread with savory soft cheese – but usually you want baked goods to be moist and perhaps a bit chewy. Enter dates.

Not only do dates lend baked goods a soft texture and a faint caramel flavor, stirring mashed dates into your batter will allow you to cut down on the overall amount of sugar in the recipe. An 11″x7″ pan of brownies, for example, would normally call for at least 2 cups of white sugar. I opted to use 6 dates and 1 cup of sucanat instead. That means these brownies taste like chocolate instead of just being teeth-rendingly sweet. And the oats do their part by providing a little bit of crunch.

Ultra-Dark Oat & Date Brownies

Makes 12 squares.

1 stick (8 T.) butter, preferably from grass-fed cows (Kerrygold is a great choice)

1/2 cup unrefined hazelnut oil OR extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup sucanat

6 dates, pitted

3/4 cup cocoa powder, preferably non-Dutched (the Dutching process removes some of the cocoa’s natural acidity and therefore some of its flavor)

1 and 1/2 cups total of teff flour, sorghum flour, and/or brown rice flour* (I used 1/2 cup of each)

1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch sea salt

1/2 cup rolled oats – BE SURE to use gluten-free oats if you want to make gluten-free brownies

6 eggs, preferably from pastured hens

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 11″x7″ glass baking pan with butter. I like to use the wrapper from the butter to do the greasing. No sense in wasting any of that delicious grass-fed butter!

Place butter in a medium pot over low heat and melt. Stir in oil, sucanat, and dates. Assuming that the dates were at room temperature and not refrigerated, the mixture should be soft enough to mash with a potato masher. (If you normally store dates in the fridge, leave them out for a few hours before making the brownies.) Stir in cocoa powder and remove from heat.

Scrape cocoa mixture into a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, and oats. Use the same whisk to whisk the eggs and vanilla into the cocoa mixture. With a large mixing spoon, mix the flours into the cocoa. If you’re making gluten-free brownies, mix to your heart’s content – there’s no gluten to accidentally overstiffen. If you’re making wheat-based brownies, only stir until just blended.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Garnish with cinnamon if you like when serving.


* These are gluten-free flours. If you’d prefer to make a wheat-based version, use a total of 1 and 1/2 cups of spelt, kamut, or whole-wheat flour instead.

Last two recipes courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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  1. Wow! What an unusual recipe. I would love to try some.

  2. Wonderful! Adore the bean recipe and the tortilla ideas! Thank you, Lisa.

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