I think that it is always a great idea to shake up the usual routine. Most nights I will meal plan for my family around some meat dish or other, and then think of accompanying sides to round out the meal. Roast chicken, fish tacos, shawarma chicken, or a meaty stir-fry are just a few of the recurring stars taking centerstage. However, there is something so remarkably healing for your digestion (and your pocketbook) when one opts to squeeze in a meatless meal or two throughout the week. Fiber increases, cholesterol takes a nose dive, and a few more greenbacks stay in your wallet. Not a bad thing, if you ask me.
I am not about to sell anyone on tofu dinners or tempeh tacos (though my family like both), but a simple Italian inspired dish of fried butter beans and sage make for a really lovely foray into the vegan culinary world! It’s friendly and familiar, and awfully darn yummy. Besides, who doesn’t like fried food??
Feel free to be as intense as you want to be with this dish. If you want to soak beans and cook them from scratch, by all means…be my guest. However, I like simple for my midweek meals (otherwise it will turn into me calling Pizza Hut!) With that said, I just crack open a couple of cans, give them a rinse, and I’m good to go!
This dish is so delightfully simple. I season some flour with salt and pepper (here I used rice flour, but obviously regular flour is delicious too). Then, I give freshly rinsed beans and sage leaves a good dust bath in the mix. Next up is a good sizzle in some hot olive oil.
Just make sure that your pan is hot before you add the olive oil. I am going to geek out on you for a minute here. There are surface gaps on the molecular level of cold stainless steel, kind of like when a bunch of circles are butted up next to each other. Once you apply heat, things swell and get busy, thereby filling in those gaps. This is when you want to add the oil. That way, you won’t have oil seep down into those tiny, tiny gaps thereby pulling down food and making everything stick! Crazy right? Heat the pan first, then add the oil and you will invariably have WAY less stickage (umm yup I know that is a made up word 😉 ).
The delicate crispy coating created on the beans and sage leaves is just magical. If you have never had a fried sage leaf, then you are in for a treat!
To serve, I like to counterbalance the richness of the fried beans with a peppery arugula salad dressed in a simple vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil. Don’t forget to salt and pepper those greens!
Ahhh, this is what I call a plate of heaven. If you are making this as a side salad, you can feed two people with one can….but I am sooo ready to take down the whole plate all by myself!
Bon apetit, my friends!
A beautifully simple and unintimidating vegan meal for the masses! I love this simple, rustic Italian dish that screams autumn.
- 1 can can butter beans
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup rice flour, or all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- olive oil, for frying
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 1/ tbls lemon juice
- 2 tbsps olive oil for the vinaigrette
Rinse the beans and wash the sage leaves before you give them a good dusting in the seasoned flour. For the seasoned flour, simply combine the salt, pepper and flour on a plate. The moisture from rinsing the beans and leaves will help the flour to stick.
Make sure that you warm your pan before adding the olive oil to fry the beans and sage leaves. This will help with sticking.
Fry the beans and sage leaves until they are golden and crisped.
Serve on a bed of arugula dressed with the lemon juice and olive oil, and seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper. Yum!