Cranberry Bean Lettuce Cups

009I’ve taken inspiration from another already formed recipe today.  This time, it comes from Martha Stewart.  I haven’t ventured too far from the original, just far enough to make something that I will like and is more veggie-friendly.  Therefore, I can’t claim this recipe as 100% mine.

This past January I attended a crab feed to benefit the football team of the high school I teach at.  At the crab feed, I bid on an organic foods basket.  I won, and paid only $25 for it!  The basket contained a lot more than I thought it would: 5 lbs. of dried pinto beans, 5 lbs. of pink kidney beans, 5 lbs. of cranberry beans, 5 lbs. of rice, walnuts, almonds, and local orange blossom honey.  Not bad for $25!  The beans and rice I have been using constantly, except for the cranberry beans!  I’ve never cooked with them before, so I finally decided to bite the bullet and try them out.

I love the look of the cranberry beans.  They have a white exterior with variegated lines of deep red.  The whole time I was cooking them, I was hoping that the colorings would stay!  Unfortunately, they are not as pretty after they’re cooked.

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If you do not have cranberry beans on hand, I think that cannellini beans (white kidney beans) would be a good substitute.  Either use 1/2 c. dried beans and cook them after soaking, or use one 15 oz. can of beans.

This recipe has a few separate steps.  If you are using dried beans, you should soak them over night and cook them up ahead of time.  The recipe also includes a very nice red wine vinaigrette, which you can make up ahead of time.

Red Wine Vinaigrette 

(makes just under 1/2 c. – multiply if you want more!)

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

pinch of black pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

Combine all ingredients down to the pepper.  Whisk to combine.  Drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously.  Use immediately, or store for later use in an air-tight container in the fridge.  Whisk to re-emulsify.

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Cranberry Bean Lettuce Cups

1 1/2 c. cooked cranberry beans (1/2 c. dried)

red wine vinaigrette (recipe above)

1 c. shredded lettuce (use butter lettuce or romaine)

1 tbsp. red onion, finely sliced

1 tbsp. sour cream

6 butter lettuce leaves

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

6 kalmata olives, chopped

1 tsp. parsley, chopped

Toss the cooked (and warm) cranberry beans with the vinaigrette.  Add a bit more vinaigrette if you like.  Adjust the seasoning using more oregano and/or basil as you see fit.

Top the shredded lettuce and sliced onions with the sour cream, and toss until coated.  Line each separate butter lettuce leaf with the shredded lettuce and onion mixture.  Spoon the bean mixture on top of each lettuce leaf.  Top with the chopped tomatoes, feta, olives and parsley.

Simple and delicious.  Enjoy!

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