Meatless Monday: Tarbais Beans with Kale, Arugula & Pickled Mushrooms

Blue Morel Restaurant in Morristown is an outstanding destination for holiday dining, or post-holiday recovery from doing overtime in your own kitchen. For this week’s Meatless Monday feature, chef Kevin Takafuji has shared the recipe for a unique winter salad that combines rich beans with peppery greens and the tart accent of pickled mushrooms.

This dish, featured as an appetizer on Blue Morel’s menu for Christmas Day, is made complete by an intense round of wild boar rillette (as shown in photo). At home, the gorgeous pile of beans and greens can be served as a side with any roasted fish or meat. And if the specialty beans or particular mushrooms indicated in the recipe don’t seem like ones you can find locally, Chef Takafuji tells us you can substitute any bean or variety of mushroom you like.

Tarbais Beans with Kale, Arugula, Hen of the Woods and Beech Mushrooms

Chef Kevin Takafuji, Blue Morel Restaurant at the Westin Governor Morris, Morristown, NJ 

Serves 4

Made ahead:

tarbais beans (recipe follows)

pickled beech mushroom (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups loosely packed maitake mushrooms

1 qt loose packed purple kale

2 tablespoon diced celery

1 tablespoon minced shallot

4 tablespoons cooked tarbais beans (recipe follows, make ahead)

½ cup reserved liquid from cooking tarbais beans

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon butter

40 leaves Italian parsley

2 cups arugula, or to your liking

1 cup picked watercress, or to your liking

½ cup pickled beech mushroom (recipe follows, make ahead)

Equipment:  12” sauté pan

  1. Heat the pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  2. When oil just starts to smoke add the maitake mushrooms and lightly brown them.
  3. Add the kale and sauté for about 20 seconds; if pan becomes dry add more olive oil.
  4. Turn heat down to medium and add in the celery and shallots, cook until translucent, about 15 seconds.
  5. Add the cooked beans, bean liquid, and mustard.
  6. Cook down for about a minute and add butter. The consistency of the sauce in the pan should coat the beans and vegetables in such a way that it slowly runs on the plate.
  7. Add the parsley, stir and set aside.
  8. Toss the arugula, watercress and beech mushrooms together.
  9. Divide the bean mixture between four plates and garnishing with the arugula, watercress and beech mushroom salad.

For the Tarbais Beans:

2 cups dried tarbais beans, soak in water overnight before cooking

½ of a large onion, chopped into large dice

1 cup celery, large dice

2 large cloves of garlic, remove germ and smash

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sprig of thyme

½ gallon water or vegetable stock to cover

Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment: Medium size stainless pot with cover, enough to hold 1 gallon of liquid

  1. In the pot sweat onion, celery, garlic and thyme with olive oil until onions are translucent.
  2. Add in the beans.
  3. Add water or stock.
  4. Bring to boil.
  5. Turn down to a simmer and cover.
    1. Simmer for half an hour and check for doneness – the beans should be fork tender. Cook longer if necessary. (Cooking time will depend on length of soaking.)
    2. When beans are fork tender, take the pot off the heat and season the liquid with salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Cool the beans down in the cooking liquid. When they are cool, transfer the beans into a container and cover with the cooking liquid.
    4. Reserve the remaining cooking liquid.

For the Pickled Beech Mushrooms

2 cup white distilled vinegar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorn

½ tablespoon crushed red pepper

3 cloves

1 cup beech mushroom, snip at base of mushroom stalk

Equipment: Medium stainless pot, enough to hold 1 gallon liquid

  1. Bring all ingredients except for the mushrooms to a boil.
  2. Add the mushrooms and swirl liquid to submerge them.
  3. Take the pot off the heat and cool all the contents together.
* * *

Red Kuri Squash Soup“Eat Soup, Do Good”

Through the holidays and into the start of the New Year, the restaurant is also featuring a soup special that does the double duty of offering a delectable treat to the diner and a financial benefit to an excellent local cause. In its ongoing partnership with the Community Soup Kitchen in Morristown, Blue Morel is donating $2 from the sale of every order of the Red Kuri Squash Soup – a soul-warming dish created with ginger and cardamom panna cotta layered over Gala apple compote. The soup is poured tableside with the hot liquid melting the panna cotta, resulting in a lightly spiced and beautifully textured soup. Don’t miss it!To learn more about Blue Morel’s tantalizing menu offerings, visit

Blue Morel

The Westin Governor Morris

2 Whippany Rd

Morristown, NJ 07960


Breakfast: Daily 6:30 – 10:30AM

Lunch: Monday – Saturday 11:30AM – 2:30PM

Dinner: Daily 5:30 – 9:30PM

Deanna Quinones is the Jersey Bites Regional Editor for Morris County. A freelance writer, blogger, and unrepentant chocolate addict, Deanna spent 20 years in the San Francisco Bay Area where life was good and the burritos even better. She recently returned to the Garden State and now resides in Morristown, where she and her Texas-born/Jersey-raised/California-found husband are raising two wild and wonderful kids. An experienced book marketer, award-winning greeting card writer, and entertainment writing dabbler, Deanna can be reached at (photo credit Pete Genovese/The Star-Ledger)

Brunch Buffet: Sunday 12:00 – 2:30PM