Tag Archives: Carrot

Penne with Swiss Chard

Penne with Swiss Chard

Penne with Swiss Chard

Penne with Swiss Chard, Carrots, Onions & Garlic

I prepared several different dishes using Swiss chard this week using a 2-3 minute steam or pan-sauté. But for the last ten years my daily green juices included chard with a variety of other greens, ginger and a green apple. Why? Because this vibrant rich dark green leafy vegetable is a nutrient powerhouse!

But cooking with chard is new to me and I was surprised and pleased at how quick, easy and versatile it is to work with. It can be added to soups, salads, used as a wrap, added to sweet  and regular potato mashes, stuffed in roasted onions and simply sautéed with onions, garlic and an array of other vegetables, then tossed with a whole grain like rice, farro or a soba noodle or pasta. Make sure the soba noodle or pasta is 100% whole grain–not just an “organic whole grain” because unless it is appropriately labeled it is impossible to know how much whole grain the product contains.

The key to working with chard is to remember that it is done cooking in less than 3 minutes– whether it is sautéed or steamed. Remembering this tip will result in vibrant, rich greens that make dishes pop with color as well as retain the most nutrients.

Ingredients per person:

  • yellow onion, 1/2 diced
  • whole garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/2 sweet bell pepper
  • 6 small-medium rainbow chard, remove stalk and save
  • 2/3 cup 100% whole grain penne
  • quality California extra virgin olive oil – 2t
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice – 1 to 2T
  • fresh ground salt and pepper to taste


  • Dice onion and mince garlic and let sit 5 minutes to release healthy sulfurs.
  • Wash chard, remove stalks, fold and cut into ribbons; then roughly dice.
  • Wash carrot and use spiralizer for quick julienne cuts. Turn carrots and cut again so the carrots are about an inch or so long.
  • Boil water for pasta. When you use 100% whole grain pasta, it generally takes about ten minutes. I like my pasta and vegetables al dente.
  • While pasta is cooking (be sure to stir to prevent clumping) warm sauté pan on medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil for each serving.
  • Add onions. Use water from the pasta for any additional liquid you need to prevent sticking. The starch from the water adds a wonderful flavor and texture allowing you to cook with less oil and yet retain wonderful flavors.
  • When the onion is brown, add garlic and carrots and sauté for another minute or so. The thinly sliced carrots allow you to quickly cook the vegetable resulting in the retention of more flavor and nutrients.
  • Add the chopped chard. Turn heat to low, add pasta water, if needed, stir and cover for 2-3 minutes.
  • Your pasta should be done by now. Drain pasta and toss with chard, onions, carrots, olive oil, lemon juice. Add fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.



Black Bean South of the Border Chili

Hottest Black Bean Chili South of the Border

Hottest Black Bean Chili South of the Border

There are two ways to make Mountain Mama’s Black Bean South of the Border Chili: from scratch or from the black beans you whipped up yesterday and refrigerated. That’s right–once you get into the habit of making beans from scratch you will never go back. Canned beans just fall flat when compared to beans just cooked.

This recipe requires slight adjustments when using beans you’ve already prepared.

Shopping List

  • 1 ½ cup dried black beans
  • Yellow onion
  • tomato paste, organic 7 ounce glass jar (in the summer replace with 2-3 cups diced fresh tomatoes)
  • Carrots ( one large or two medium)
  • Mountain Mama’s Tex Mex Mix (for ingredient list) or for a mild version
    • Chili powder
    • Cumin
    • Oregano
    • Garlic
  • Blackstrap molasses unsulphured and organic (optional)
  • Cacao powder (optional)
  • Organic corn tortillas

Directions From Scratch

  1. Pick through 1 1/2 cup of black beans (turtle or valentine), rinse thoroughly and pick through again.
  2. Put beans in large pot and cover with cool water by 2 -3 inches.
  3. Bring beans to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Dice yellow onion and let sit for five minutes to release  healthy sulfur compounds.  For details see The World’s Healthiest Foods.
  5. Shred 1 cup of carrots.
  6. Add 2 T of Mountain Mama’s Tex Mex Mix to mortar, pepper grinder or spice grinder and pulverize. Set aside.
  •  If you prefer a mild Chili skip Mountain Mama’s Tex Mex Mix  and combine 3T chili powder with 1t each of ground cumin, oregano and garlic flakes. Set aside.

7.  After beans have boiled for ten minutes, turn heat down and simmer. Add diced onion and tomato paste. In the summer use 2-3 cups diced fresh tomatoes in place of tomato paste.

8. Add shredded carrots, spices and herbs and 1 T Blackstrap molasses with 2 T of organic cacao powder. Stir gently until thoroughly mixed. Continue to simmer.

9. Add water as needed to make sure the beans are always covered. Cover and continue to cook for anywhere between 1 and 3 hours. Many factors contribute to the time needed to cook the beans—the age of the bean is one. Just keep tasting. You want bean skins to remain on and the bean to be tender but not mushy.

10. Brush organic corn tortilla with olive oil, add a pinch of Mountain Mama’s Tex Mex Mix and bake until crisp (350 F for about 5 minutes—if you feel particularly lazy I’ve gotten away with toasting my tortillas–takes 2-3 toastings!)

Garnish chili with fresh chopped parsley and crumbled corn tortilla.

Black beans already prepared

1. Dice onion (1 cup or 1/2 large yellow onion) and let sit for 5 minutes.

2. In pan heat 1 t olive oil. Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add 3 cups of beans with liquid, tomato sauce, blackstrap molasses, cacao powder, Tex Mex Mix, shredded carrot and enough water to cover beans by about 2 inches. Bring to boil, turn heat down and simmer until chili thickens (about 15- 20 minutes at most). Garnish with chopped parsley and crumbled tortillas.

Cooking Onions

The cooking techniques used on the onions in this dish will affect its taste: when you add onions but do not first sauté them, the chili is sweeter (Directions from scratch); when you sauté the onions, the chili will have more of a roasted flavor (Black beans already prepared).

Nutrient Kick

The fusion of flavor from the fresh ground herbs and spices (Mountain Mama’s Tex Mex Mix) and the distinctive qualities of cacao and blackstrap molasses melding with the sweetness of carrots and onions give this Black Bean Chili a unique flavor packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Kitchen Tips

What’s this? No long soak, no short soak, no pouring off the water used when first boiling the beans?

Nope! I guess I’ve been eating beans for so long now that my digestive system is not affected when I don’t soak and discard the soaking water. As for my  family and friends, they haven’t said a word about my bean dishes except to ask for seconds! So I simply cook beans, without soaking, in the same water until done. This works well for me as I tend to forget to soak and I don’t mind a pot of chili or beans simmering as I putter around the house attending to other things like rubbing the bellies of our dogs, reading a good book or chatting with friends and family.

If you want to know more about the pros and cons of soaking and discarding soak water visit my past blog on Chickpeas Basics 101. With the exception of chickpea skins, the methods are the same.

Go ahead and experiment  While everyone is different, you may just find you’ve been soaking and discarding water when you didn’t have too. And the no soak method retains more nutrients!

Mountain Mama’s Tex Mex Mix too hot?

Add only 1 T chili flakes and forgo the whole paprika.

Lips burning?

In the past I’ve advocated fat or alcohol (not water) to cool down the red-hot flames of too much capsaicin but I’ve recently discovered a much better method, healthier, too–parsley. Have garnish of parsley readily available and lips will quickly return to normal!

For the pros and cons of the dried chili visit World’s Healthiest Foods.