I have a semi-secret adoration of purple vegetables; not because I want to eat only purple food, but rather because I think the chemical compounds that create purple and blue (anthocyanins) are pretty awesome. Naturally found in a number of foods, including beans, cabbage, kohlrabi, select cultivars of cauliflower and the occasional ear of corn, they have some interesting antioxidant effects and are good pH meters. Oh, and it’s such a pretty color. The beans really do come in that shade (variability is possible due to your monitor…).
The garden produced the garlic and the beans, while the mint heeds from my landlady’s patch, so this meal is pretty close to homegrown. The non-traditional pesto recipe is dedicated to my mother, a serious mint and garlic aficionado. The garlic will be quite dominant the first day, but it fades somewhat with time. If you’re not really a raw garlic fan, make it 12 to 24 hours before eating. Load it onto pasta, beans, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, and crackers or toss a spoonful into white beans, rice, quinoa or anything that needs a little flavor kick.
Purple Beans with Garlic Mint Sauce
1 c tender bean
1 to 2 oz pasta of choice
2-3 T garlic mint sauce
Trim the beans and set aside. Bring water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package’s directions, adding the beans 2 minutes before it is done. Drain, reserving 1/2 c cooking liquid. Stir the Garlic Mint Sauce and a few tablespoons of water together. (Start with 1-2 T cooking liquid, and then add more if you want the sauce to be more liquid.) Toss with the pasta and beans.
Garlic Mint Sauce
1 c loosely packed mint leaves
1/4 c olive oil
1 large clove garlic
1/4 c blanched almonds, ground (coffee grinders work well here!)
2 T lemon juice
1 t summac
Mince the mint until it begins to clump together, almost in a paste. Slice the garlic into 4 or 5 pieces and pound it with a mortar and pestle until smooth (a shake or two of salt can expedite the process). Stir the mint, garlic paste, almonds, lemon juice, and summac into the olive oil. Taste, and add salt or pepper if desired.