- 2 cups freshly shelled beans, such as fava, lima, or cranberry
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
- 4 ½ Tbsp. California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
- 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
- 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 6 large whole-wheat pitas (8 inches in diameter)
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the beans. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft. Transfer the beans and cooking liquid to a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add the garlic, oregano, and about 3 tablespoons of California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil, or enough to give the beans the texture of a smooth pâté. Stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
In a medium serving bowl, combine the cucumber, onion, tomato, mint, parsley, lemon juice, and the remaining 11⁄2 tablespoons of California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the pitas in half and open to form pockets. Spread an equal amount of the bean mixture in each pita pocket. Gently press together. Place on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake for 10 minutes, or until warmed. Remove from the oven and cut into halves or quarters.
Place the cucumber salad in the middle of a large platter. Surround with the bean sandwiches.
Chef's Note: There is little that compares with just-harvested shelling beans. When cooked, mashed with a little feta cheese and olive oil, and then warmed inside a pita pocket, they are heavenly. These sandwiches, accompanied by the simple tomato-cucumber salad, make a healthy meal with a wonderful range of Mediterranean flavors.
Kitchen Tip: If you don’t grow shelling beans and can’t find them at your grocery store, buy one of the excellent canned whole organic beans on the market. Simply mash the rinsed and drained beans with a bit of the canning liquid until they are the consistency of hummus.
Recipe courtesy of Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool (Chronicle Books, 2008)