Flagolet Beans with Tomatoes

These beans and tomatoes dressed with vinaigrette are a simple and satisfying light meal or side dish. Great as it is with some crusty bread, it can be served on a bed of dressed greens or accompanied by some sautéed asparagus. The beans can be cooked ahead of time and brought to room temperature before mixing with the tomatoes. As they cook these beans get creamy but stay together. If you can’t find flagolet beans locally, you can order them from https://www.ranchogordo.com/ my favorite bean purveyor. In this dish the whole and quartered vegetables are used to amp up the flavor and are discarded after cooking.  CLICK HERE FOR ENTIRE RECIPE



A long time ago I moved into my first apartment and started cooking. I’ve been cooking and learning and collecting cookbooks for many years now. I started with The Joy of Cooking and still use the revised edition. When I want to check on typical proportions of ingredients or check baking temperatures, I start with The Joy.  Most of the books listed here are some of the ones that I have been reading during the past ten years or so. Not all of these books and websites are exclusively vegan or even vegetarian. Inspiration comes from many different sources. Especially interesting to me are recipes from great cooks that emphasize the preparation of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and nuts and that are informed by their preferences, cultural knowledge and experience.



Preparing most or all the food we eat from scratch takes a lot of time.  While it has huge payoffs, it does require time and effort. No one is doing you any favors by pretending otherwise. But there are things you can do to make it easier.

  • First, take advantage of prepared food as much as you can.
  • Second, cook food in batches and freeze some of it for future use.
Always make enough to freeze extra portions.
  • Third, keep a few sauces, appetizers and spreads on hand (and in the freezer). They add variety, flavor and interest to foods.



Lasagna with cauliflower cream sauce and romesco sauce as well as spinach and mushrooms.
Lasagna with two sauces, spinach and mushrooms

Forget the heavy, greasy lasagna you had when you were young. This lasagna is light, with strong flavors and a creamy smoothness that melts in your mouth. Use these two sauces:

Make them ahead of time so the dish goes together easily.

I use spinach in this dish but almost any greens can be used, such as tender kale or Swiss chard. I have tried this dish with traditional lasagna noodles and with the “no-cook” noodles which are thinner than the traditional ones. Either works but the no-cook noodles make an even lighter lasagna. This recipe makes 6 to 8 servings. If you don’t use all of it, the remainder can be frozen for up to 30 days.

This is great served with a green salad and some crusty bread with Fig and Olive Tapenade  http://sustenance-cuisine.com/fig-and-olive-tapenade/.  A zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon would be a nice addition.  CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE RECIPE

NEW START – March 2017

We are off to a new start with Sustenance-Cuisine. There are new recipes to share and some new resources as well. It has been almost four years since we switched to a plant-based diet. When we first started out my husband Jim kept telling me that the food I made was really good and that I should write about it so others could benefit. So one thing led to another. The focus of Sustenance-Cuisine.com is on recipes for good tasting food that will help people incorporate plant-based eating into their lives.

I’ve learned a lot in the past four years about how to have a plant-based diet and I cook differently than I did before. To start sharing what I have learned I’ve added two new pages to Sustenance-Cuisine.

  • In Resources I share the books and websites I’ve used to learn about nutritional needs and how plant-based diets can fill those needs. I also use some of them for cooking techniques and inspiration.

  • In Strategies I share some of the things I have learned about how to actually make most of your food from scratch . . . and still have a life.



A few nights ago while rummaging through Waverly Root’s book, The Food of France, first published in 1958, I came across a description of a dish frequently made in Provence, specifically the city of Arles. It consisted of eggs scrambled with garlic and the inside of a zucchini. Then the mix was put inside the hollowed-out zucchini and topped with some tomato sauce. It sounded pretty good to me. The next day I was in my garden and found a fairly large cocozelle (very similar to zucchini but stronger tasting). I immediately thought about Root’s description of the stuffed squash. I thought that it might work as a tofu scramble.




This week I harvested quite a few of the French filet beans or haricot vert variety called Rolande. I grew them from seed from Renee’s Garden, located in Felton, California (www.reneesgarden.com)  I’ve been happy with all the plants I’ve grown with seed from Renee. These beans have a delicate but definite flavor and don’t need a lot of sauce or other ingredients.




There are almost as many ways to make polenta as there are ways to make beans. The wonderful chef Judy Rogers included a tasty recipe in The Zuni Café Cookbook, W.W. Norton and Company, 2002. Here is my recipe for polenta. I find this the easiest way to make polenta because it doesn’t require an inordinate amount of stirring. You will need a large saucepan and a double-boiler with at least a six cup capacity.   CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE ARTICLE


These dark purple beauties make a wonderful pot liquor. The beans have black stripes on them and are a lighter color before they are cooked. I purchased these beans from www.ranchogordo.com, the company started by Steve Sando that specializes in heirloom new world beans. According to Sando, they are also known as Hopi String Beans and while they are somewhat like pinto beans the Rio Zape beans have a deeper flavor.   CLICK HERE FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE