Bean me up

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Happy belated New Year! We’ve just returned from a beautiful week on the Mornington Peninsula – will post snapshots soon.
In the meantime, here are a couple of easy Summery recipes we chowed down on last weekend. The Cannellini bean, chorizo and sweet potato salad was a cinch to whip up and pretty damn nice! We served it up at a BBQ, along with a platter of chilli prawns and lots of wedges of lime.
You can use canned beans for the salad, but if you have the time, cooking dried beans is always worth the effort methinks.
Reserve half the salad (minus the chorizo and dressing – see the ♦ orange diamonds for details), and you can whip up some beaut Spiced bean burgers with chipotle mayo for dinner the next day.
I love transforming salads into patties or fritters.
 A few regular favourites of ours are these:
Sweet potato, quinoa and edamame salad > Sweet potato, quinoa and salmon cakes.
Roast corn, quinoa and pea salad > Corn, pea and quinoa fritters.
Roasted pumpkin and mixed seed salad > Spiced pumpkin and cashew patties.
The salads are all perfect to serve up at a BBQ or dinner party. Then, after a successful night of entertaining, when you’re just too pooped to cook the next day, you’ll open your fridge door and voila! an (almost) ready-made dinner will be sitting there.
The thing with these salads is that they’re mostly adult-friendly. The patties and fritters made from the reserved salads however, will be positively hoovered by kids. My boys will eat almost anything fritterised or pattied. And you can hide all manner of extra goodies in them too… oat bran, wheatgerm, LSA and/or extra vegies.
Have a lovely week. We’re adopting a kitten on Saturday (bit excited)!
Footnote: Thanks Rate your burn for including these recipes in your “15 healthy recipes for sweet potatoes” roundup!

White bean and chorizo salad[Recipe 1] Cannellini bean, chorizo and sweet potato salad

Ingredients (serves 4–6 for 2 meals):
2 orange sweet potatoes (about 700g/1½ lb), peeled, cut into 2cm cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 x 400g (15 oz) cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained, rinsed (or cooked dried beans – see notes below recipe)
1 medium salad (white) onion, quartered, finely chopped
I cup fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, plus extra to serve
1 small chorizo sausage* (150g/5 oz), casing removed, halved lengthwise, sliced
Cracked black pepper, extra, to serve

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón), or sweet paprika if unavailable

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
In a large bowl, toss the sweet potato with the olive oil until well-coated. Place sweet potato onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Season. Roast for 20–25 minutes or until tender.
Mix sweet potato, beans, onion and coriander together.
♦ Reserve half of the sweet potato and bean mixture (about 4½ cups) for the Spiced bean burgers.
Make the dressing by placing the ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake until combined.
Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat and fry chorizo slices until crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.
Add chorizo slices to the remaining sweet potato and bean mixture (for tonight’s salad). Drizzle with the dressing and toss gently. Serve, scattered with extra coriander and pepper.

  • You can use cooked dried beans instead of canned beans. You’ll need a total of 450g (just under 1 lb) dried cannellini (white kidney) beans for this recipe. When cooked this is equivalent to 4 cans beans, drained. FYI, 2 cans beans, drained, is equivalent to approximately 225g (½ lb) cooked dried beans. Soak dried beans overnight, drain and rinse. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 30–45 minutes. Drain, rinse and cool. Cooking dried beans is not as time-consuming as it may seem – I often cook mine in the morning while we’re having breakfast, so they’re ready to use at dinner time. 
  • *Be sure to use good-quality dried salami-style chorizo, not fresh ‘sausage-style’.
  • Planned-overs (undressed sweet potato and bean mixture) can be frozen for up to 3 months; so you can make the bean burgers another time. You can also store the mixture in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Bean burger with chipotle mayo

[Recipe 2] Spiced bean burgers with chipotle mayo

Ingredients (serves 4–6):
♦ Half reserved undressed sweet potato and bean mixture (about 4½ cups)

1 small red birsdeye chilli, de-seeded, finely chopped (optional)
½ cup dried breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
Nice buns and lettuce, to serve
Chipotle mayo, to serve

♦ Mash the reserved undressed sweet potato and bean mixture with a potato masher.
Add the chilli (if using), breadcrumbs, cumin and egg and mix well.
Shape the mixture into 6 burgers. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and fry for 2–3 minutes each side until golden brown.
Serve in buns with lettuce and chipotle mayo.

  • Uncooked burgers can be frozen for 3 months, between layers of baking paper. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
  • Chipotles are smoke dried jalapeños. Chipotle chilli powder (for the mayo) is available at specialty food stores and Spanish grocers. In Australia, it’s available online at Oasis and Fireworks foods