Tag Archives: Onion


Every time I eat some beans from Rancho Gordo I think that they are the best beans I’ve ever eaten. These white runner beans are grown in California from seed from southwestern France. In France they are called Tarbais beans. Steve Sando, founder of Rancho Gordo, calls them Cassoulet beans and said,

Tarbais beans were developed by generations of farmers in Tarbais, France. The original seed is a New World runner bean (Phaseolus coccineus) and most likely originated in Mexico. Out of respect for the French farmers and terroir, we’re calling the bean Cassoulet Bean. We think in order to call it Tarbais, it should be grown in southwestern France.

You can order these as well as many others at WWW.RANCHOGORDO.COM.

This silky, smooth bean can be used in many ways. These beans can be mashed and used as a spread or dip. They can be combined with some cooked greens and spooned over toast. They can be added to some flavorful vegetable stock and served over spaghetti. Or you can just eat them straight up with a piece of bread and a glass of wine. CLICK HERE FOR THE ENTIRE ARTICLE


When I started exploring plant-based diets a couple of years ago I relied on canned beans. It was hard enough trying to figure out what we were going to eat that day and preparing all of our meals and the thought of preparing my own beans seemed to be too much. So I was happy to use canned beans in my recipes. I have since seen the light and when someone tells you that beans cooked at home are light years away from canned beans, believe them. It is true. And the fresher the beans, the less time they take to cook.

A while back I asked my sister, who lives in Santa Barbara, to send me some specialty beans that are available there. She said she would and then asked me if I knew about Rancho Gordo, the bean place. I didn’t so I immediately Googled them and then my life changed.

WWW.RANCHOGORDO.COM has many different beans and their story is  interesting. Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I ordered several beans including Bayo Chocolate. Who could resist the name? These small beans are indigenous to Mexico and while they look like chocolate, they don’t taste like chocolate. Which is a good thing.


Cauliflower cream sauce is everything they say. It is creamy, versatile, and doesn’t taste like your grandmother’s boiled cauliflower. There are many recipes on the web for this sauce and they are all variations on a theme. The one I use is based on Del Stroufe’s Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook (The Experiment, LLC, New York 2012). It is good with pasta. It makes a great creamed spinach or creamed kale.


Beans, squash and corn are the three sisters,  the main agricultural crops of many  Native American people. Combined with four different peppers, cumin, sage and oregano, they create a deeply flavored, satisfying dish. While looking for a great plant-based chili recipe, I was inspired by the essays and recipes in Fernando and Marlene Divina’s wonderful book, Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions (Ten Speed Press, 2004). When I first developed this recipe I was still using canned beans but I have since changed my ways and now I use those delicious Rio Zape beans from Rancho Gordo. I also added roasted sweet red peppers. I like this version better. This recipe uses masa harina, which is cornmeal processed with lime juice and it has a distinctive flavor. If masa harina is unavailable plain fine cornmeal can be substituted. This recipe looks long and complicated but it goes together easily.