AS A YOUNG mother, Meg Barnhart found herself struggling each day to prepare a home-cooked meal while juggling a myriad of after school activities for her three children. Sharing her frustration with her best friend, Kate, she received three pieces of advice that changed her life:
1. You are not a failure
2. Get off the phone
3. Buy a Crock Pot
Over the next 16 years, that small appliance became a vehicle for change by helping Meg prepare delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals in a time frame that fit her busy lifestyle. It also served as the inspiration for the Zen of Slow Cooking food blog, co-created with her business partner, Jane McKay. Together they launched the blog in 2012 to bring together a community of home-cooks looking for ways to bring health and well-being to their families. Using their most widely sourced recipes as a guide, they created a line of premium, globally inspired spice blends to serve as the flavor foundation for recipes crafted for a slow cooker or its millennial cousin—the Instant Pot.
At Zen of Slow Cooking, we make Multi-Cooker Spice Blends—meal prep solutions for the modern cook. We do this by providing simple-to-make recipes on the pouch featuring our artisanal, certified non-GMO spice blends, which create contemporary, healthy, and truly delicious dishes for 4 to 6 people. Our mission is to help home cooks serve tasty, simple, and wholesome meals to family and friends.
Our company is a Lake Forest-based, women-owned, Certified B Corp, devoted to making a positive social impact. We do this by creating an inclusive economy, providing employment for adults with developmental disabilities, supporting our local communities, and keeping a small carbon footprint. Our vision is a world where meals bring people together. We believe in the power of sitting down and having a conversation over a shared meal. Whether it is with our families, friends, neighbors, colleagues or communities— eating together and connecting with each other can transform relationships.
This recipe, gigantes plaki in Greek, features large white beans smothered in a rich tomato sauce with fresh herbs and feta cheese. Plant-based, bright, and fresh for spring, it also happens to be super simple and delicious.
Greek Beans with Swiss Chard and Feta
Serves 4 to 6
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup (1 small) onion, chopped
• 1 teaspoon (2 cloves) garlic, sliced
• 2 15-ounce cans butter beans, drained and rinsed *
• 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 Coq au Vin spice blend packet or 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
• 1 tablespoon tomato purée
• 1 14.5-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
• 1 1/2 cups broth
• 4 ounces Swiss chard, spinach, or kale, washed and chopped (if using chard, trim and remove stalks
• 1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 small bunch fresh mint, chopped
• 4 ounces feta, crumbled
For the slow cooker:
1. Heat the oil in a skillet, sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes, transfer to cooker. Stir in the beans, paprika, salt, Coq au Vin blend (or herbs de Provence), tomato puree, tomatoes, broth, and chard.
2. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours.
3. Stir in fresh herbs and crumble feta cheese over the top to serve.
For the Pressure Cooker:
1. Heat the oil on sauté function; sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Stir in the beans, paprika, salt, Coq au Vin blend (or herbs de Provence), tomato puree, tomatoes, broth, and chard.
2. Secure the cooker lid and seal pressure valve; cook on Manual/Pressure for 8 minutes.
3. Quick Pressure Release.
4. Stir in fresh herbs and crumble feta cheese over the top to serve.
*Replace 2 cans drained beans with 2 cups (1 pound) butter beans, rinsed and unsoaked. Adjust cook time as follows:
For the slow cooker: LOW: 9-10 hours or HIGH: 4 hours
For the pressure cooker: 40 minutes
This also makes a tasty soup! Simply increase the vegetable broth from 1 1/2 cups to 6 cups when cooking.
For more information, to purchase spice blends, or to sign up for the Zen of Slow Cooking’s blog to receive tips and recipes, visit thezenofslowcooking.com.
Is there a recipe you’re dying to have? E-mail us at [email protected] and we’ll start digging.