27 January 2009



I make a habit of buying  my veggies at the Saturday farmers market in central Geneva (8am-1pm Rive). Even during the winter, I bundle up and brave the cold weather, as their garden produce really is worth the extra effort, plus I like to support the local farmers. While the variety is less impressive than in the summer months , there is still an excellent choice of winter veggies to be had:

  • Arugula                           
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Chard
  • Lettuce (certain types)
  • Endives
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Leeks (used in this recipe)
  • Onions (used in this recipe)
  • Parsnips
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Spinach (used in this recipe)

(see The Westside Gardener for winter vegetable gardening)

Farmers Market shopping 101:

  1. Plan recipes for the week, it’s economical & a fun to find the ingredients in the market. This also avoids over stocking of the fridge – I hate throwing food away & the freezer has a limited capacity.
  2. Make a list, as if you are like me, the sight of all that wonderful fresh produce makes you want to buy everything in sight.
  3. Bring a basket, you’ll look like a local & won’t end up with 15 flimsy plastic bags  
  4. Walk around before buying, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the stalls
  5. Check your prices, as often stalls closest to the ends of the market are more expensive
  6. Watch out for impostors – just because it’s a farmers market doesn’t mean everything is ‘in season’,  local and biologically grown

So this past weekend I went with my list of ingredients to make several dishes including this one for Persian spinach, leek & red kidney beans. The lemon & spices really makes all the difference in combining the vegetable flavours while adding delicious fragrant aromas. Another plus is that this is an economical recipe – good for the times we live in & for watching our grocery bills.


  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) dried red kidney beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 small leeks (white, pale green part only)
  • 500 grams fresh spinach
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 5 large strips lemon rind (use carrot peeler, then chop into fine strips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste


Bean Preparation:

  1. Soak the beans in 2 cups cold water, over night or for 4-5 hours.
  2. Drain beans, rinse. 
  3. Cook covered in water on medium/low heat until softened but still a little crunchy.
  4. Drain, rinse & set aside

sp-cutting-leeks sp-leek-detail

Spinach / Leek / Onion preparation: 

  1. Cut each leek in 1/2 lengthwise, wash well, chop into thin semi circles. Set aside.
  2. Wash spinach well (twice if needed) Remove stems. Cut into thick strips (1cm, 1/2 inch). Set aside.
  3. Finley chop onion. In an extra large skillet (frying pan) heat oil over medium/low heat & sweat onions.
  4. Add chopped leeks & cook, stirring often until wilted (5 minutes)
  5. Add chopped spinach, chopped parsley & water. Cover  & cook till spinach is just wilted (5 minutes)
  6. Add kidney beans, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Stir gently. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve over Basmati rice (I make the rice without fried onions for this recipe)

NOTE: This dish is best served immediately. Do not over cook spinach & leeks or they will loose their bright colour. I used organic, unwaxed lemons for the rind.



  1. limeandlemon Says:

    Looks really delicious .. Laila

    • Laila : many thanks, the lemon & spices make all the difference. In the traditional Persian recipe they often use dried limes or lemons, but I did not have this on hand when making the recipe.

  2. limeandlemon Says:

    im glad u told me about the lemon … i can use that too … its a very intresting recipe … Laila

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