Try dried heirloom beans—you won't be sorry!

serves 4

11/2 cups high-quality dried beans
1 stalk celery, 1 carrot, 1 clove garlic, 1 small onion (for cooking beans)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
Salt, pepper, and fresh herbs for serving
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
4 slices bread, toasted and cubed

Soak beans overnight. Rinse beans and add them to a 4-quart saucepan with carrot, celery, garlic, and onion. Cover with water nearly to the top of the pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour or until beans are creamy without falling apart. Remove from heat.

Serve beans with a bit of broth. Top the beans with a glug of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Add feta and cubed toast; top with fresh herbs.

Julie publishes Edible Ohio Valley with her family. After 15 years in the world of commercial photography, her lens is now focused on recording the sustainability movement in the Midwest. A graduate of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, she’s a partner and co-founder of The Fairview Agency, a multidisciplinary creative firm.