Bean, Beet and Buckwheat Bake

This recipe has lots of robust and earthy flavours going for it: great when the weather turns cold and you want something warm and homey.  It’s also got lots of layers with a multitude of textures to keep you interested from first bite to last.

Like the Harvest Tempeh Bake however (and most baked dishes really), this is not a recipe you make on a weeknight when you’re pressed for time: that’s when you reheat it!  It also requires some specialized kitchen equipment (read a food processor and a spiralizer or mandolin) because I do love my kitchen doodads.

What you need:

For the crust:

  • 1/4 cup brown flax meal
  • 2 cups toasted walnut halves (toast in a 300F oven on a pan for 6 minutes)
  • 2/3 cup buckwheat flour (or if you don’t like buckwheat, then sub with something you can stomach and change the name of the recipe)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1 medium or large onion, cut fine
  • 6 cloves garlic, 3 of them whole, 3 of them minced
  • 1 bunch of thawed and finely chopped frozen kale (best), chard or spinach
  • 2 cups cooked and pureed pumpkin (or other squash)
  • 1 cup of dry cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup of dry navy beans
  • 5 bay leaves
  • A piece of kombu seaweed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered savory

For the topping:

  • 5 or 6 small beets, spiralized or mandolin-sliced into thin slices (the slices should be about a eighth to a sixteenth of an inch thick)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

What you do:

  1. Soak the dry beans overnight in water (you can soak them together in the same pot).
  2. Drain the beans, add to a pot with fresh water to cover by an inch or two, the kombu, bay leaves and 3 whole garlic cloves.
  3. Either pressure cook for 7 minutes and allow a natural pressure release; or simmer on stove-top for 40 minutes or so, until beans are creamy and breaking up some. Drain, compost garlic, bay and seaweed, then set aside in a large bowl.
  4. While the beans are cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron pan on medium-low and add the onion. Let it caramelize slowly, tossing now and again while you make the crust and preheat the oven.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Pulse the walnuts in a food processor to obtain a coarse meal. Don’t overdo it or you’ll get walnut butter (although a bit of it around the edges is fine).
  6. Pour the walnut meal into a bowl, or if you’re lazy with dishes like me, directly into a 9’’x13’’ baking dish. Add the flax meal, buckwheat flour and salt and mix to combine. Add the oil and water and work it through with a fork to get roughly uniform coarse crumbs. Press into the bottom of the pan firmly and bake at 350F for 10 minutes to set. Take it out of the oven and set aside.
  7. While the crust is cooking, rinse out the working bowl and blade of the food processor and put them back in business.
  8. At this point the onion should be getting golden, before it’s completely caramelized, add the 3 cloves of minced garlic and let everything come to glazed and yummy perfection together.
  9. To the food processor, add the pumpkin, salt, sage, rosemary and savory. Pulse until smooth. Add half of the beans from step 3. And pulse until smooth. At this point the onions and garlic should be ready – so add half of those to the food processor and put the other half in the bowl with the beans that are still there. Pulse until smooth.
  10. Pour the contents of the food processor into the bowl with the cooked beans, onions and garlic. Mix together. Fold in the kale. Spread the whole thing out on top of the crust. At this point, turn the oven back on and up to 375F.DSCN6287.JPG
  11. Rinse out the bowl you had the filling in so you can use it for the beets. Add them to the bowl along with the tablespoon of olive oil and the white balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Place the beets over the filling so it looks cute.
  12. Bake at 375F for 35 minutes and then broil 2-3 minutes (no longer, really, you’ll carbonize your beet bits and set the smoke alarm off – I know – I tried…).

Do keep in mind that the beets will remain pretty crunch which is how I like them; if you’re more into soft-cooked beets you may want to pop the slices in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then drain before tossing them with the oil and vinegar.

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