Recipe: Buttermilk Bean Waffles


28 Nov Recipe: Buttermilk Bean Waffles

I’m doing my part to make beans hip and cool. I even I walked through downtown Toronto clutching a clear plastic bag brimming with the four pounds of brightly coloured lentils, legumes and beans picture above. No one laughed. No one pointed at me. And if I may say so, I think the odd fashionista stole a sideways glance as I strutted my stuff down King Street.

I hadn’t planned on being the poster girl for legumes. I was in Toronto to meet up with Julie Van Rosendaal, this time in wasp-free, neutral territory. She says she’s fine with my previous behaviour, but I notice she brought protection — her coauthor Sue Duncan.

Julie and Sue were in Ontario to promote their new book Spilling the Beans: Cooking and Baking with Beans and Grains Every Day. Part way through the interview, Julie realized her 2 kgs of demo beans would not fit into her luggage and she turned her big blue eyes to me in desperation. Being a cooperative person, I left the interview with lots of information and enough fibre to clean out an elephant.

During the course of the conversation, I learned several compelling pro-bean points. Enough to not only have me haul them about Canada’s largest city, but to feel darned good about it. Beans are great because:

  1. They’re nutritious: Lentils and legumes add dietary fibre and protein to your diet at a minimal cost.
  2. They’re easy to cook: To quote Julie, “You put water on them. You go away.”
  3. They’re suited to almost every diet: They appeal to vegetarians, vegan and meat-eaters alike. They are also fine for diabetics and those on gluten-free diets. Better yet, few people are allergic to them, so they’re a safe bet at dinner parties or pot lucks.
  4. They’re Canadian: Canada is by far the world’s largest exporter of lentils, with the lion’s share coming out of Saskatchewan. Chances are, if you’re eating lentils or legumes, they’re from the Canadian Prairies.
  5. They’re good for the environment: Lentils fix nitrogen in the soil so the farmers use less when planting future crops. Also, these  fields require less ploughing and weeding than other crops, so they not only reduce labour, they also use less fuel.
  6. They could be the start of something beautiful: Yes, buying this book supports two wonderful people, but there’s more. Julie and Sue practically promised me that if Spilling the Beans sells well they will collaborate on another title. I didn’t get them to pinky swear, but I do have witnesses, so that’s solid. Right?

Ready to try some beans? Fold them into soups, sprinkle them on salads, serve them as a side dishes or — put them into baking. Julie and Sue assure me that you can put them into baking without compromising the final dish. So, I tested their theory on a recipe where the beans couldn’t hide behind strong flavours. I made the waffle recipe and compared the results to the bean-free classic, Waffles of Insane Greatness. Would the beans go undetected or would I have to show up at Julie’s door with a bag of beans in one hand and a can of spray canola in the other?

I made a batch. They disappeared.

The next day I made a second batch. Same thing.

Julie’s windows are safe. My waffle iron is not.

Review in Brief

This book will appeal to: Anyone who wants to improve their diet without substantially altering their lifestyle or learning a new culinary technique. As Sue says, “It’s not all or nothing. There’s no need to change your diet.” This book will show you how to up the fibre without inviting complaints, risking bankruptcy or compromising your culinary reputation.

Must try recipes:

  • Aloo Gobi with Chickpeas: In this version of the classic cauliflower and potato curry, sweet potatoes and chickpeas replace the white potatoes.
  • Curried Quinoa Salad with Black Beans & Mango: With quinoa, black beans, cilantro, mangoes and cumin, it’s easy to see why this is Julie’s favourite.
  • Black Bean Breakfast Burrtitos: This flavourful, any-time-of-day dish will appeal to those like me who are breakfast-impaired and hate the thought of starting the day with cereal.

Biggest delight: Intitially, I was delighted to see shots of Julie’s house. I thought, “Hey, I’ve eaten there.” and “Isn’t that the window I sprayed with canola?” But even if you haven’t had the pleasure of  brunching at Julie’s you’ll enjoy the sheer ingenuity of the recipes. Sure, you’ll get the expected soups, side dishes and lots of mains, but there’s also granola bars, carrot cake, biscotti and pizza dough. Best of all, Sue invented candied lentils, which double for graham crumbs.


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  • Amy Proulx
    Posted at 14:52h, 28 November Reply

    I’m empathizing with you. Fashionistas and hipsters beware, food items are THE newest accessory. I was once found walking across the University of Guelph campus, and down a large section of Gordon Street with a wheelbarrow brimming with tomatoes. And I happened to be almost bald at the time. Some people I know still call me the bald girl with the wheelbarrow.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:55h, 28 November Reply

      Amy, if anyone else told me that, I’d be skeptical. But I believe you.

      I’ve also been known to wander about with armsful of freshly harvested garlic. Oddly enough, no one came near me…

  • Julie
    Posted at 17:05h, 28 November Reply

    Aw, you’re so sweet! Glad you liked the waffles! I’m so glad you had the chance to come to my house – and spray my windows with canola! that was hilarious!! the next day, Mike was like.. what’s with the windows??

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:34h, 28 November Reply

      Mike noticed? Then you know it’s bad! I swear, I could install blackout curtains and my husband wouldn’t notice.

      Can’t wait to try your bean bread. You had me at no-kneading.

      Hope this book sells well because I want more of your cookbooks!

  • Amanda Strong
    Posted at 10:41h, 29 November Reply

    I came for the recipe… and now I want the book! Both look amazing.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:09h, 29 November Reply

      Julie’s books are always full of delicious recipes. And she considers Sue Duncan to be the best cook she’s ever met, so the book’s authored by quite the dynamic duo. Buy the book — you won’t be disappointed :-) (Plus, I want them to write another one, so we need those sales!)

  • Maggie
    Posted at 18:50h, 30 November Reply

    I am going to try this recipe, if I can use the batter for pancakes. I don’t have a waffle pan and I don’t want to buy one. Yet. Do you think the pancake idea will work?

    I make chocolate chip cookies that have lentils in them and they are really good. I don’t feel quite so guilty eating them so that is a virtue as well.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 12:48h, 03 December Reply

      I’ve never tried the batter as pancakes but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You might want to add less buttermilk since the batter is a bit runny, but it should taste just fine.

      Love the idea of putting lentils in chocolate chip cookies. Apparently they can also be added to oatmeal cookie and no one will know!

      Good luck with your bean baking.

  • Waffle Smack Down - Jody Robbins | Travels with Baggage
    Posted at 03:09h, 20 May Reply

    […] this is my go-to waffle recipe from Dinner with Julie. It’s super healthy, but you wouldn’t know it. […]

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