I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I’m not sure what it is, but this recipe satisfies a huge craving that I have. Something about the earthy substance of these gigantic gorgeous grounding beans meeting the acidic sweetness of the slow-roasted tomato sauce. And so much garlic. And so much EVOO. It’s just heaven.
I got this recipe in its original form from one of my acupuncture patients, who is quite a foodie herself. She knows I follow a lower gluten, lower dairy, more plant-based diet, so she recommended trying this recipe. Well, a few years later, I’m still dreaming these beans. But in true Dr. Katie fashion, I altered the original recipe to be a little healthier and easier on the digestion.
I haven’t always tolerated beans in my diet. In residency, I distinctly remember not digesting beans well. Maybe it was the stress. I’ve figured out a few ways to help with bean and lentil digestion if this is a sore point for you.
Third, cook your beans with kombu. Kombu is a Japanese sea vegetable type of kelp that contains certain enzymes that can help break down the heavy starches (called raffinose sugars) found in foods like beans. Our good little probiotic bacteria in our intestines love these sugars, releasing hydrogen and carbon dioxide which lead to bloating and gas. Kombu helps minimize this! Hallelujah!
Kombu also contains a healthy dose of iron, and you all know how much I love iron. It also contains the most iodine of all the seaweeds, so it supports our thyroids. Iodine is crucial for thyroid hormone synthesis. Since most of us buy fancy cooking salt these days, we no longer get iodine from iodized salt. So sea vegetables are a great way to keep up with this important nutrient.
To cook with kombu, add a three- to four-inch strip to your beans as they cook, or add it to your soup recipes. Once cooking is complete, simply pull out the kombu and either chop it into fine pieces to go back into the pot or discard. If you add it to pre-cooked beans or canned beans, soak the kombu for about 20 minutes in a small amount of water, then add the seaweed and the soaking water to the pot to get all of the minerals and anti-gas benefit.
And if you’re not into soaking/sprouting/cooking dried beans, have no fear! The brand Eden Organic pressure cooks their beans before canning, so it’s the ultimate short cut.
I served this recipe over some kale sautéed in EVOO with salt & pepper and with a bit of crusty bread. It is heaven.
1 pound dried beans (gigantes, large lima beans, or cannellini beans)
3 inch piece of kombu
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (approximately 2 medium onions)
1/3 cup chopped garlic
1 cup chopped celery (approximately 3 stalks)
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 ½ cups reserved cooking water from beans
1 cup water, room temperature
1. Soak dried beans overnight or at least 7 hours. Boil for 50 minutes with a 3” piece of kombu and RESERVE 2 ½ cups of cooking liquid before draining beans. (You can also use a pressure cooker or slow cooker, if that’s more convenient for you.)
2. Saute chopped onions and celery in olive oil over medium low heat until tender. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft. Add herbs and spices, mix to combine completely and cook for just a minute to combine flavor oils.
3. Add chopped tomatoes, stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add reserved bean cooking liquid and bring sauce up to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to bake the beans.
5. Layer cooked gigantes beans evenly in 9×13 baking pan and pour sauce over top. Add 1 cup room temperature water.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 2 hours in 350 degree oven. Stir approximately every half hour or so.
7. Allow baked beans to rest for about 15-30 minutes before serving.