I remember there was a time when I found beans utterly ho-hum.
I couldn’t imagine what could be that exciting about them. I was always more interested in what was with them or around them.
That was until I discovered Napa’s Rancho Gordo beans.
That’s when I realized beans could be comforting, surprising, satisfying and with far more flavor and character than I’d ever imagined.
Founder Steve Sando sources astounding heirloom beans with such evocative names as Christmas Lima Bean, Yellow Indian Woman Bean, and Good Mother Stallard Bean.
At least once a year, I make a purchase of an assortment of his beans, most of which carry me through the chilly winter in numerous dishes. But they’re equally delicious when the weather is still warm, such as in dishes like “Alubia Blanca Bean Salad with Pineapple Vinaigrette.”
It’s a recipe from his cookbook, “The Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen,” which he wrote with Julia Newberry last year. As the name implies, it’s filled with meat-less recipes that star all manner of beans.