When you’re making a meal on the fly, using prepared ingredients can save you time. You can create your own stocks and recipe bases on a weekend when you can spend the day in the kitchen. Set some of this recipe aside for a few meals early in the week and freeze the rest for future use. Just pop in a frozen cube or two to whatever you’re cooking for an added layer of flavor.

Our hearty bean soup base is a great starter for dips, a flavor booster for soups or as a spread for crostini. It’s full of layered flavors providing your recipes with additional richness. This recipe combines savory ground sausage and bacon for the foundation. Tomato paste, sweet onions and chopped dates give the recipe starter sweetness. Dry mustard, garlic, chipotle pepper power and red pepper flakes add spiciness complementing the sweetness of the tomato and onions.


Hearty Bean Starter

1 lb ground sausage, cooked
1 package apple wood smoked bacon, cooked
1 can tomato paste
2 tsp olive oil
1 Vidallia or sweet onion, coarsely chopped
9-10 dates, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp chipotle chili powder
2 tsp chili powder
4 1/2 cups of Randall Great Northern Beans, drained, rinsed and slightly smashed with a spoon

Brown the sausage in a large saute pan and transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels to soak up excess grease. Cook the bacon until crisp and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain off the extra grease. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan with the bacon grease and cook until the garlic is golden brown and fragrant. Watch the pan to make sure you don’t burn the garlic. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes into your bowl with the sausage and bacon.

Wipe out the excess grease from your pan and heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook stirring constantly until the dark red. Let the tomato paste cool. Place the sausage, bacon, tomato paste, onion, dates and spices in a food processor or blender and pulse mixture until well combined.  Mix in the Randall Beans and refrigerate at least an hour before freezing. Silicone ice cube trays are handy for freezing any portion you don’t use right away.

Meatless Monday is so much more appealing when incorporating this tasty dish featuring Randall Great Northern Beans.