Nazik’s Moroccan Beans

This Sunday we are hosting a reunion for the graduates of our Mastery of Life and Yoga Teacher Trainings. Over the years we have seen over one hundred people complete these trainings, and it has been a joy to watch each one of them reclaim their heart and shine their magnificence into the world.

We feel so blessed to be part of the empowerment of so many good and loving people and look forward to seeing them again. Unfortunately, though, some will not be able to make it as we unwittingly scheduled our Mastery of Life Reunion on the same day as the Super Bowl!

Paul Amato, Deep Yoga Teacher and Integrative Health Coach, is one who wrote to say that he won’t be able to join us. In his case, he has a long-standing commitment to cook for his friends on Sunday. We will miss Paul and the others who can not make it. So I wanted to offer them, and all of you who are looking for a super healthy way to feed your super friends this Super Bowl Sunday, a gift from our kitchen ~ my friend Nazik’s incredible Moroccan Beans.

I fell in love with these beans the minute I first laid eyes on them many years ago. The beauty of the beans sparkling with Marrakesh spice, the Mediterranean fragrance of garlic, onion and pepper, the texture and consistency of its Tangiers taste, and the Sirocco warmth it gives the belly inspired me from the first, and has continued to charm ever since. This dish definitely comes from Morocco with love!

Peppers add bite

It is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, because it it will complement anything, it is hearty enough to replace chili, and it can stand on its own. You can also make it the night before, or early in the morning, for less fuss on the day.

For family and friends in Chicago ~ this is especially great for winter days when blizzards keep you home. The ingredients are usually on-hand, the spices will thaw you from the inside, and, served with a chunk of whole grain bread or steamed brown rice, it is packed with protein and fiber to give you the fortitude needed to cope with epic weather conditions. Besides, with a name like Nazik’s Morrocan Beans conjuring images of  balmy, blue-skied, orange-scented, exotic, distant, desert lands it is sure to warm and inspire.

Chicago’s famed blizzard of ’67


2 cup White Beans, preferably Northern or Cannellini, soaked
3 tablespoon Ghee
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
6-8 Garlic Cloves, peeled and whole
1 Yellow Onion, peeled and whole
1 Red Onion, peeled and whole
1 tsp. Cayenne
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. Ginger Powder
1/2 tsp. Celery Seeds
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1/4 tsp. Clove
1/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Asafetida (optional)
Fresh Mint (optional)

Soaking Beans

Melt the ghee (Earth Balance or Safflower oil is fine) in a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sprinkle in the cayenne. Stir or spin the bottom of the pan to swirl the oil with the cayenne. Add the rest of the spices, except the salt and asafetida. Sauté for one minute. Add the garlic cloves and swirl. Drain the beans and add to the pot, stirring to coat the beans with the spicy oil. Add the onions and 7 cups of water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer. Stir occasionally until beans are tender, about 1.5 to 2 hours.

Once the beans are tender, spoon out a few, let them cool and give it a taste. If it is not spicy enough, melt a tablespoon of ghee (or any oil) in a small saucepan with another dash or two of cayenne. Let this heat for about one minute, then pour onto the beans and stir. I usually do this anyway, because I like to sauté a pinch of asafetida (hing) in melted ghee, always, before pouring into any cooked bean mixture I make.  It aids digestion ~ and with beans every little bit helps!

In the Pot

Whether it is for Super Sunday or any winter day, this is a simple recipe yielding a big, satisfying meal. We serve it with Naan, so the kids can scoop the beans into a “Moroccan Burrito.” I like to garnish each bowl with fresh mint to sustain the sultry Moroccan feel, but also to cool the palate between bites, because these beans are Sahara hot.

Our Super Bowl of Beans

These beans are like a girl’s best friend ~ easy, reliable, sometimes spicy, always comforting. So it is not a surprise the recipe comes from an angelic friend from the north of Africa.

Nazik lives in Tangiers, where she paints, writes and, one hopes, cooks. She is an amazing artist, with a beautiful heart that could light a desert night. Her sweetness reminds me of The Little Prince.

St. Exupery’s Little Prince

Nazik has written a really cool book called Say It Again that teaches English through colorful, dynamic images. If you are interested, or could help her find a publisher, please email her at freenazouki@hotmail.com. When you do, of course please let her know how you like her beans!

Whole Food’s Website offers the basics

Whole Foods has a handy website full of cooking how-to’s. Click on the image above to find this photo heading their suggestions for the basics on beans, including soaking times, water-to-beans ratios and more recipes for these delicious, nutrition-packed legumes.

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