Garden fresh vegetables inspires meatless meal

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After spending time in the hot afternoon sun picking vegetables from my friends’ garden, I wasn’t up to spending a lot of time in the kitchen. However, I had some nice vegetables I don’t have in my garden that would make a lovely meatless dinner.


Now, I must admit, I am not very good about eating meals without some form of meat. I grew up with grandparents having a big farm and every year we had freshly butchered beef and pork that went directly into our freezer.

Yes, you could say I was spoiled in that respect, but it was so good. Consequently, I have a great taste for good meat.

While living in Connecticut, a friend was cooking a meatless dinner and it smelled heavenly. So as she was preparing it, I wrote down the recipe. I recently found that piece of paper with only the ingredients on it and no directions on a little white square that had yellowed with age and the ink had faded. I had cooked it before. But like many things, we put them away and they soon become forgotten. Now, because of this column, it is a permanent recipe with directions and all. I give you:

Italian Beans and Pasta

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 (15-ounce) cans white kidney beans

2 (15-ounce) cans chick peas, aka ceci beans

1-2 bean cans of water

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. oregano

Fresh parsley for garnish

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Dittalini pasta or your favorite pasta

Heat olive oil in large skillet; add minced garlic. Sauté garlic for about 3 minutes, or until just clear. Add in the beans and water. Simmer until mixture reduces  by about  a third, which takes about 30-45 minutes;  add in seasonings and Parmesan cheese. Heat through. Serve over pasta. (While beans are cooking, prepare to cook pasta by heating a pan of water to boiling, then add in pasta and cook according to package directions.)

I served this with curried Kale greens, sliced tomatoes and sour cream corn muffins. I have printed the greens recipe before, but here it is again in case you may have missed it. This recipe was originally given to me by Chet Mitchell. Without a doubt, it is excellent. Has anyone seen him lately?

Curried Greens

1 pound fresh mustard, kale or collards, or a mix

1 fresh hot pepper, such as jalapeno, or to taste

3 tbsp. vegetable oil ( I use Canola)

1 tsp. cumin seeds

2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)

1/2 tsp.  dry ginger

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. salt

1-1/2 cups water

Wash greens as necessary and chop them coarsely. (If you use frozen greens, thaw them and squeeze them dry.)

Cut jalapeno in half and remove seeds.   Be careful getting those seeds on your hands, they will sting. Mince the pepper. Heat oil in a wide, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds  (this smells wonderful) and cook a few seconds until they darken and become aromatic.  Add garlic, minced jalapeno and stir a few times.  Add greens (a few at a time if necessary to keep the pan from becoming so crowded you can’t stir), and stir until they wilt. Add ginger, curry powder, salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, then uncover and allow water to boil away. (If using frozen greens, use half the water and uncover the pan after 5 minutes of cooking.)

Enjoy a meatless meal on me!


Lonnie Sundermeyer is a retired professional caterer residing in Ghent, Ky.