Roasted Zapallitos with White Beans & Mint
Simple. Fast. Healthy. Nutritious. No wheat. No nuts. No meat. No soy. No dairy.
That’s how I prefer to eat on a daily basis. Sounds like a lot of Nos, but the variety we eat at our house is almost endless.
This is a dinner I whipped up the other night. It took less than 45 minutes. The active time was more like 15. The rest was the oven cooking while I did other things.
It takes the traditional 'rice and beans' to a whole new level. I already had leftover yamani rice and my homemade white beans in the fridge. You could also cook the rice while you roast the veggies (they take about the same amount of time) and you can use canned beans- though they can be pretty ‘blah’, in my opinion.
If you’ve never cooked white beans, I’d highly recommend this recipe for flavorful vegetarian white beans. Make a big pot and use the leftovers throughout the week. And feel free to freeze some for a future date.
Now, you’re probably wondering what a zapallito is. It’s a little round and green squash that is very common here in Argentina. We get them at the market year-round.
I have searched and searched and can’t for the life of me figure out what the translated name in North America would be. If you know the name, please drop me a line or leave a comment. LINKS
But feel free to use zucchini instead. They are very similar. The zapallito squashes get cut up whole in the same way that zucchinis do. The entire zapallito is edible from the green skin to the white-ish flesh and large soft seeds.
If you have a version of the zapallito where you are, I’d recommend them. Or just go with zucchini.
And for those who are curious, zapallito would be pronounced Zah-Pah-Yee-Toe in Mexico, but here in Argentina the double L is soft like the ’s’ in measure, so Argentines say Zah-Pah-Zjhee-Toe.
As always, feel free to make this recipe yours. I made a bed of watercress- with the veggie, rice and bean mixture on top- for warm salad bowls. You could use just about any type of greens here, or skip them altogether.
Of course, if you don’t eat rice you could leave it out or try something like quinoa instead (which isn’t even a grain). Remember that the quantities are guidelines... feel free to use more of less of anything as desired. If you don’t like a lot of garlic, use less; if you don’t have mint, try another herb. I always post what I think is the best combination, but I too change it up all the time. So start here and then make it your own!
Recipe for Roasted Zapallitos with White Beans and Mint
5-6 zapallito squashes (or the equivalent in medium to large zucchinis)- washed & cubed
1 red onion- roughly diced
2 cloves garlic- thinly sliced or minced
2 cups white beans- drained (click here for my recipe)
3 cups cooked yamani rice (Japanese short-grain brown rice, or other whole brown rice)
3/4 to 1 cup loose-packed fresh mint leaves- finely chopped
Watercress or other greens (optional)- washed, spun, and roughly chopped or torn
Heat oven to 350F (175C).
Combine the prepped zapallitos (or zucchinis), onion, and garlic in a shallow baking tray. Toss with a good glug of olive oil, about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the juice of half a lemon. If you like a little spice, you could also add red pepper flakes or chili powder here (about 1 teaspoon for a mild heat.) Spread into an even layer in the pan.
Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes until almost tender. Stir once or twice for even cooking.
Add the white beans and cook another 10 minutes.
If the rice is cold from the refrigerator, add the rice and fresh mint now. Toss well. Turn off the heat and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so to heat the rice and soften the mint.
If the rice is warm and freshly made, remove the pan from the oven to add the rice and mint. (No additional baking needed.)
Serve on a bed of fresh watercress or other hearty greens. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh lemon juice to taste.
Leftovers can be kept in the fridge and make for an easy lunch another day.
To ask a question or leave a comment on this recipe, please click here.