Mark Andrew Gravel's Book On Beans - Kill The Recipe

A new visual guidebook explores "radical beanmaking"

Mark Andrew Gravel is really using his bean.

The author of Kill the Recipe ($10) extols the value of eating more beans in his new cookbook-slash-visual guidebook-slash-journal.

Gravel isn't opposed to eating meat, per se, but he argues that a bean-based diet, or what he calls "radical beanmaking," is healthful, environmentally friendly and convenient, seeing as canned beans are available at nearly any corner or grocery store. And beans are a more affordable source of protein than meat, so they are a viable main course in any economy.

Whimsical illustrations by Lucy Engelman guide readers through simple how-tos for preparing legumes, such as the effortless "Weeknight Beans." (All you need is salted water, a clove of garlic, olive oil and crushed red pepper.) Directions for soup, stew, purée, salad and sauced beans, many of which utilize ingredients that home cooks already have on hand, offer uncomplicated meal options, often made in one pot.

Readers can jot down their favorite flavor combinations in copious "Notes" sections adjacent to each how-to; a glossary at the end of the book defines both common and lesser-known bean varieties and how to use them.

While Gravel's mindset isn't necessarily as "radical" as he believes, we dedicated bean fans do think the book kills.