Cranberry Bean Smush

Time for another recipe with ingredients from my CSA offerings: CSA Cranberry Bean Smush

Last week some cranberry beans, also known as shelling beans or, gorlotti beans, or some other names depending on who you ask, showed up in our Bishop’s Orchard CSA share.

Whatever name you give them both the beans and the pods are light beige color that is mottled with a cranberry red streak. I thought they were very pretty to look at, but had no idea what to do with them.

I looked up some recipes that suggested sautéing them with some other ve

getables and serving them as a light summer side dish. Sounded good, but I wanted to make something I could store for later use and I wasn’t so sure how receptive Mike would be to eating what looks like speckled red lima beans. Actually, since I share the CSA with my parents there resemblance to lima beans, which my mom hates, led to her giving me too big bunches of them for just me and Mike.

Being a lover of hummus and other squished bean dips I quickly found a few recipes for cranberry bean “hummus” (side note my sister likes to point out to me all the time that it is not technically hummus if chick peas are not involved, hence the quotations) and took elements from a couple of them to create my own cranberry bean dip. I was intrigued by one recipe that listed a spice called sumuc as one of the ingredients, but sadly several calls and visits to specialty markets left me empty handed and I was in too much of a rush to wait for it to come in by mail order. Though I did order some and plan on experimenting with it at some point. If anyone out there has ever used sumuc, I’d love to know what you did with it. My research made it seem like a very versatile spice that paired well with a number of things.

But back to the cranberry beans. I used the idea from one recipe of incorporating zucchini, which I also happened to have on hand from a neighbors garden and substituted cumin in place of the sumac.

cranberry bean smush

Here is the recipe I came up with:

8 oz. shelled cranberry beans

1/2 of a white onion (I had left over from a previous CSA share)

2 medium sized zucchinis

1/4 cup tahini

2 Tbs. olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 lemon zested and juiced

salt and pepper to taste


First, I put the shelled beans and roughly chopped onion in a pan and covered it with water. I brought that to a boil and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

While that was going on, I sliced the zucchini in rounds, brushed them with olive oil on both sides, and sautéed them for a few minutes on each side until they were slightly browned.

I strained the beans and onions and removed the zucchini from the pan and put it in the fridge to cool down while I zested my lemon and peeled my garlic.

Then I put the cooked but now cooled beans, onions, and zucchini in my food processer; added the lemon zest and juice, tahini, olive oil and cumin, and processed it until it was smooth and creamy. I added salt and pepper to taste and pulsed it all a few more times.

The Cranberry beans had a nutty richness which was nicely offset by the lighter zucchini flavor. I would say it was a huge success as it introduced me to a new legume and is a recipe I will definitely make again. I probably never would have sought out cranberry beans had they not happened to show up in my CSA. Which is one of the things I like best about the whole CSA experience in general; being introduced to new locally available produce and being pleasantly surprised with what you find. Next time I see  cranberry beans at my local farmers’ market, I will likely pick some up and try new ways to enjoy them

I served the CSA Smush with pita chips as an appetizer before a shrimp dish, which was a suggested wine paring during a recent visit to McLaughlin Vineyards. Check back tomorrow for the recipe and my review of the vineyard.


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