Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mixed Greens with Pinto Beans and Turkey Sausage (or Tofu)

    Green Earth
    I particularly don't see eye to eye with one of my neighbors. But this does not mean I don't listen and take her advice on a few things which are actually sensible and very practical. A few years ago the tress in the park that backs our houses were hit hard by Tent Caterpillar infestation. The nests of these caterpillars were quite large, built spider web like in the shape of a tent around branches and were found in almost all mature trees. There are hundreds of them living in just one, and gave me the goose bumps every time I walked under a tree or happen to step on one. They crawled all over and the grass looked more black than green with these creatures clinging on to the blades and the 'put' 'put' sound when they were crushed under car tires. I am still cleaning out the cocoons from under the siding after all these years so you can imagine the sheer numbers in which they invaded our yards. Anyway a few of my neighbors simply got tired of them and tried to battle them with insecticides but to no avail. Some of the braver ones ahem like DH tried to pull the nest down and set it on fire.

    Needless to say, human intervention did nothing to get rid of them when my aforementioned friend gave me a simple advice, that will be the theme of this week's Green Earth.

    Avoid unnecessary spraying of insecticides on grown trees to stop an infestation. They do not control and in some cases lay the ground work for more resistant versions of these same pests. Like they say, let nature take its course. The insects are good tasty protein rich food for different types of birds. The rich diet helps birds reproduce and increase their population pretty rapidly and they are the tools in the battle to eradicate these pests.

    When spraying did nothing to control the creepy crawlies and pretty soon everybody gave up. It is also important to note that on the other hand, indiscriminate spraying might have had a detrimental effect on the birds where the insecticide meant for the caterpillars would have inadvertently killed off the birds. Luckily that did not happen in our backyards. The next year when we saw the beginnings of these caterpillars, and the birdstaking care of them before they could become a menace. This story has a good ending too - the increased number of birds is music to the years and a sight for sore eyes.

What does my not seeing eye to eye with this neighbor have anything to do with it? Nothing like a sprinkling of spice to liven up things! What say you?
Now on to the recipe,

This recipe goes to GYO 2008 started by Andrea of Andreas Recipes and hosted by Jugalbandi this time around.

Recipe Source: Quick Braised Swiss Chard with Beans and Chorizo


The regular cutting of the greens have actually made them grow that much faster. I am seriously on the look out for new dishes that use greens ever so tastefully. This recipe Washington Post used greens with beans. What more could I ask for. Well I had planned on making this dish with Tofu, now that I am more open to Tofu after this Stir Fried Tofu. But the Turkey Sausage caught my eye the other day at the grocery store while searching for some Soy Sausage which I could not find, I could swear that I have seen those Soy ones or maybe it is it just a figment of my imagination.

Tip: Always cook greens with the lid open for some time 5-8 minutes before closing the lid. My mom says this is to help the bad gases to evaporate. Mom is always right, so I follow her advice.

I cooked the sausage separately because my mom prefers hers strictly vegetarian.

Serves: 4-5
1. 1 bunch Swiss Chard (I used 2 cups of Mixed Greens)
2. 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Pinto Beans
3. 1/2 cup Vidalia Onion chopped fine
4. 5 garlic cloves sliced and pounded
5. 2 tsp doubly concentrated tomato paste
6. 2 tsp red chili powder (optional)
7. 1 lime
8. 6 Hot Italian Turkey Sausage (or use Extra firm Tofu seasoned with salt and chili powder)
9. 2-3 tsp of oil

1. In a pan heat the oil, when hot add the garlic and saute for a minute.
2. Add the chopped onions and saute till they are brown
3. Now add the chili powder and mix and add the tomato paste, mix well so all the onions are well coated.
4.Now add the greens and let them cook till the greens are thoroughly wilted.
5.Add a sprinkling of salt (be careful with the salt if you are going to add the sausage)
***You can stop the recipe right here too if you please, the greens tasted absolutely delicious.
6. Now add the drained beans mix and squeeze the lime.
7. Let it cook till all the liquids evaporate
8. Meanwhile in another pan heat a bit of oil, remove the casings from the sausage, cut them into bite sized pieces and add them to the pan. Let them cook completely.
9.Once the Vegetarian portion is set aside, add the sausages and mix well.

We had them in a pita pocket with some yogurt sauce and carrots.


  1. Very nice combo. I've never tried swiss chard with pinto beans. Very nice recipe.

  2. nic post...nd delicious recipe too...

  3. That's a great example of the "ecological balance"! The beans-greens combo looks delicious.

  4. the combo looks so good, isg! love the sweetness that the vidalia imparts :)

  5. The dish looks very hearty and filling. besides being super nutritious, of course.

    I see a point in your neighbor's words. But at the same time, I don't know if I'd have lived in peace with the caterpillars either. Too many creepy memories of caterpillars from drumstick trees, all through my childhood. yikes!

    I'll keep your words on caterpillars and bird food in mind.

  6. i have a lot of swiss chard growing. thanks for this recipe and for your entry.


  7. Pinto beans like kidney beans for so hearty. I love them.

  8. Looks yum, ISG! Turkey sausage tastes just like the real one, without the extra fat. Greens & beans are a favorite combi of mine. I got the heebie-jeebies just reading about the infestation!

  9. Have never tried swiss chard with pinto beans, but this sounds delicious. And with the addition of sausage, hearty and filling. Delicious, Indo! :)

  10. Ugh, tent caterpillars. Nasty little creatures. We never sprayed them either, just let nature take it's course. But the year we had them really bad was...bad. Had them in the house and everything.

    Anyway, your beans, greens, and chorizo sounds great! A terrific idea for filling pita. Thanks for sharing with Grow Your Own!


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