Learning to Use Herbs and Spices: Herbs and Spices for Beans

Learning to Use Herbs and Spices: Herbs and Spices for Beans
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Herbs and Spices for BeansParsley and summer savory go well with any bean dish, whether you use broad beans, pinto, kidney, northern, navy, black beans or one of the many other great homegrown bean varieties. Fresh sage and marjoram are also good with bean dishes. You'll notice that some bean recipes call for a small amount of vinegar. You can use herb vinegar made with a combination of herbs in the place of plain for an extra zing.

Middle eastern cooking uses a wonderful combination of bean and savory herbs for some very interesting dishes. Hummus and Falafel are both great herb and bean combinations. There isn't really ONE recipe for either one. Cooks tend to add their own herbs and spices in varying amounts. If you've tried either one in the past and didn't like it, try again!

One of our subscribers, S. Jackson, emailed me that grated zucchini can be added for a great falafel burger. The spices that seem to be "traditional" are cumin, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne, plus one thing agreed upon is that canned chick peas aren't the best to use. Either soak your chick peas over night or cook them according to the instructions on the package. Below is a good recipe to start with.



3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced very finely

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup minced parsley

4 cups cooked or soaked chickpeas (up to 24 hours)

1 tbsp. lemon juice or herb vinegar

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. each ground coriander

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

kosher salt and black pepper

1 tbsp. olive oil

optional: 1 small minced onion

Blend garlic and parsley in a food processor until finely minced. Add the chickpeas, and process to a paste. Add lemon and spices. Add in the eggs and process. Form mixture into balls. Flatten each ball into 1/2 inch thick patties. Place patties on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes. Turn patties, bake another 10 minutes. In a large skillet, heat half of the oil over medium heat.

Add patties, fry until golden brown. Turn patties over, add remaining oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Notes: Some cooks deep fry and others cook in a skillet, but this recipe works well and is not near as fatty as deep frying. Serve with a sauce such as cucumber yogurt on plates. Or serve in pita bread with tomato, lettuce. thinly sliced onion and sauce.



1 can garbanzo beans (12 ounces chickpeas)

1 lemon

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. tahini (ground sesame seed paste)

2 tablespoons fresh parsley and green onions

Optional: 1/2 tsp. each cumin and paprika

Drain and rinse beans and place them into a food processor or blender. Add remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth. Add water if it's too thick. Notes: You can drizzle olive oil on top of the dip before serving with pita bread, or pita chips.

Black Bean Dip/Spread


3 (16-oz) cans black beans

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 tbsp. fresh, minced oregano

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper or pepper flakes

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

2 jalapenos, chopped and seeded

1 fresh tomato, chopped

2 cups your favorite simple vinaigrette dressing

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Drain and rinse beans well. Discard liquid. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Refrigerate and allow mixture to marinate in a sealed container for 4-6 hours. Serve with crackers and tortilla chips.

Vegetable Bean Soup


3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/3 cup long grain brown rice

1/2 cup dried navy, northern or black beans

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/8 tsp. celery seed

2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

2 tsp. fresh or frozen basil or 1 tsp. dried

2-3 tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup fresh minced parsley

1 onion, chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1/4 cup fresh minced parsley

1 carrot, sliced

1 zucchini, diced

1/4 lb. savoy cabbage

Place beans in pot with 2 quarts of water. Bring to boil, remove from heat and let stand for one hour. Pour off water and add 3 cups of water. Cook for 30 minutes or until beans are just tender. Add cooked vegetables except tomatoes and herbs and simmer for 20 minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs the last 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Spicy Black Beans


12 ounces dried black beans

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

Soak black beans in water overnight. Drain beans. Place in a large skillet and just cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and add garlic and parsley. Cover and simmer for about 1-1/2 hours, adding extra water as needed. When the beans are tender, uncover and add the spices. Cook uncovered until water has evaporated and the beans are tender. Serve as a side dish.

Bean Dip


8 ounces pinto beans

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon cumin

dash cayenne pepper

1 cup sour cream

olive oil

Soak beans overnight. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic. Add beans and spices, mashing as you add. Remove from heat. Puree in a blender and add the sour cream. Add minced cilantro to taste.

Image: Wikimedia.org


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.


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