“I was determined to know beans.”— Henry David Thoreau, The Bean-Field
How about you? How well do you know beans? Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki (my favorite!), tender pintos, and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around. If clean eating is your goal consider this: beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories. Plus, studies have found them to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
What To Do With Beans:
- Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, red peppers) with vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
- Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
- Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
- Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
- Include 1/3 cup of beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make stuffed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
- Add 1/4 cup pureed black beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans. Check out my Outrageous Black Bean Brownies recipe.
If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips for delicious and well-cooked beans:
- Be sure to wash and clean the beans first.
- Soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking (hint: cut a bean in half; if the center is still opaque, keep soaking).
- After soaking, rinse, fill pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.
- If you have any digestive distress after eating beans, add kombu, which is a seaweed that tenderizes beans making them more digestible, to the cooking water. Bay leaf, cumin, anise and fennel also aid digestion.
- Cover and simmer for the suggested time.
- Remember: Only add salt at the end of cooking (about 10 minutes before the beans are done) or it will interfere with the cooking process.
- Quick tips: For speedier prep, boil dried beans for 5 minutes, then soak for 2-4 hours. Or use canned beans instead (some people find them even easier to digest!). Be sure to avoid canned beans with added salt or preservatives and rinse thoroughly once removed from the can. Also, choose organic in BPA free cans to avoid toxins leeching into your food.
GET EVEN HEALTHIER!
Would you like help learning how to choose and cook healthy foods like beans? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me —or pass this offer on to someone you care about!