Sunday, December 13, 2009

Brothy Beans with Sausages

Tonight's dinner is a hearty, warm dish to serve on a cold December night. It's just got a few ingredients and is spiced very simply. One note on this: when I tried to take a picture of the dish, my husband chimed in that he thought the picture made the food look unappetizing. Well, actually, he didn't say it quite so nicely. He suggested I add some color, like a red or green bell pepper set on the side of the plate. Knowing that I didn't have a bell pepper of any color in the dish, I thought about it, and said I was going to put an onion next to it. He didn't think it was up to par, but I like it. So, tell me - how do you handle photographing a dish that may taste great but doesn't look good on camera? By the way, I love brown (note my blog's background and my outfit in my pic), and I think this dish looks and tastes delicious!

Brothy Beans with Sausages


1 pound dried pinto beans, sorted through for grit
1 32oz. box of vegetable broth
4 cups of water, and more if needed
1 Tbs. of canola oil
2 packages of Smart Links (vegan sausages)
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 pound mushrooms, washed, ends trimmed and sliced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper


Soak the beans overnight in water or for several hours in the morning. Drain and rinse. Put in large pot with broth and the four cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for one hour. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for another hour. Make sure there is just enough water to cover beans, adding water if you need to. After the second hour, keep cooking the beans, but in a separate pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Slice the sausage links into thirds on the diagonal and add to the pan with the onions. Cook for five minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for another fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to the large pot of beans with the salt and pepper. Cook for another ten minutes to blend the flavors. This is best the first day as the sausages tend to get a little mushy after that, so eat as much as you want! Feeds five hungry vegans.


  1. As far as photographing unappealing food items, I usually will take one main ingredient from the recipe and photograph that! There are some foods that just don't look appealing no matter how beautiful you try to make them!(but they still taste great!)
    Your recipe looks delicious, and easy.

  2. Great question about how to add color to photos.

    I add add a lot of things like fresh parsley or basil, fresh salsa, avocado or tofu sour cream depending on the dish. Basil or chive oil are also great for color. Sometimes I add something as simple as gremolata, or candied lemon peel. You can add anything with color and texture that goes with the dish.

    I hope that helps,

  3. Hi, Sarah and Alicia. Thanks for your input. I for one didn't think the food looked unappetizing, but the onion was put there by matrimonial pressure. Interesting and clever advice to take a pic of individual food items - I'll have to think about that. Alicia, I like your idea, too. I have added parsley (like to my pizza post) to add a dash of color, but for some reason garnish didn't seem to fit this dish. I'll keep it in mind for the future. Brown isn't it?

  4. I love the brown isn't bad question. Of course it isn't but is also isn't the most photogenic either. Think of all the steak photos that have seen with a little parsley garnish for color.

    With this dish I probably would have added a fresh tomato salsa for color.

    Sometimes no matter what you do a dish isn't going to be pretty. When that happens I usually just give up and go with it. I assume people would rather see what a dish is going to look like than not see a photo of the dish. At least I know that is how I feel. When I see a photo that isn't the dish it makes me wonder why.

    talk to you later,

  5. Don't worry my little brown treasure. I'll always think you're just the right kind of beautiful. Sniff.

  6. Your vegan bean and sausage dish look delicious. A great weeknight family meal.
    As for how to make dishes more eye catching for the photo...Just add color. Red and green are great colors to photograph and you could place them as objects around the plate or sprinkled or diced onto the plate.Those colors always seem to stand out in photos.

  7. Thanks for coming to my blog, Velva, and for your input.

  8. Beans and mushrooms, yummy! How about a colorful placemat?

  9. There you go, Janet! I never thought of that. Perfect! That's what I will do from now on when I have an overly brown dish. :)