Austin360Cooks: Browned butter beans with seared garlic, scallions, carrots

I love my kids dearly, but I have no problem admitting that feeding myself while also feeding them can be boring and uninspired.

They are starting to eat a wider range of foods, but they’d never eat, say, browned butter beans with seared scallions, carrots and garlic, my dinner last night. We’d been on spring break for a week, so when they went to their dad’s yesterday, I broke out a can of beans and just-for-me cooking.

What’s just-for-me cooking? Exactly what it sounds like: Food you make when you don’t have to feed anyone else. I didn’t know where this dish was going when I started, but because I was cooking for one, I didn’t have to worry about meeting someone else’s palate needs/wants.

I peeled and chopped two carrots and cleaned up the near-wilting green onions in the bottom of the vegetable drawer. (This is also the kind of dish you make when you’re low on groceries.)

Sauteed carrots, green onions and garlic were all the produce I needed for a flavorful vegetarian dinner. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I’d seen a recipe for browned butter beans somewhere — though I can’t for the life of me remember where so I can thank the author — so I drained, rinsed and dried those canned butter beans while I sauteed the veggies. When I was digging around in the pantry, I also remembered I had a bag of Central Market quinoa and bulgur I’d picked up at the store for moments just like this.

I popped that bag of ready-to-eat grains in the microwave, and by the time I’d cooked the veggies, all that was left was to sear the beans.

Frying beans in a hot pan with a little oil seemed like an odd technique when I first read about it, but butter beans are big and solid enough to take and even benefit from the direct high heat. The flat side of the bean gets a little charred, especially if you are generous with the olive oil. (If you try to cook these in a dry pan, I suspect they will degrade and turn to bean mush, which isn’t the goal here. Do not fear the oil.)

Browned butter beans with seared scallions, carrots and garlic. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The beans cooked in about 5 minutes. I added the veggies back to the pan and then served the mixture on top of the quinoa/bulgur with a good pinch of flaky salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and another drizzle of olive oil. In less than 20 minutes, I had a fiber-rich, nutrient-dense Meatless Monday meal all for myself, with leftovers to boot.

I’ll be making versions of this dish again, especially with that pre-cooked quinoa and bulgur. I’ve made both of those grains plenty of times, but it’s too easy to accidentally over/under cook them or make them too watery. I’m willing to pay more to not have to fuss with it, especially on cooking-for-one nights like this.

What do you cook when the kids (or spouse or parents or roommates) are away? Do you keep any helper products around for making meals in a pinch or when you’re running low on groceries? Tell us in the comments or share a photo on Instagram with #Austin360Cooks.

//[View the story “Austin360Cooks: March 2017” on Storify]


Author: Addie Broyles

Food writer for the Austin American-Statesman and

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