My husband still can’t get over the fact that I eat beans! No really! And not just occasionally, and not just because I have succumbed to the fact of their exceptional nutritional value, and not only in Mexico, but because I actually now love beans!
Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, chili beans and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around.
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.
Many people avoid beans because they just don’t know what to do with them. Are you one of them?
- 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 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.
How to make digestion easier. Gas and upset stomach can be a side-effect of bean consumption. To reduce your chances of this, try these suggestions:
- Soak uncooked beans for several days.
- Chew beans thoroughly.
- Smaller beans like lentils and peas digest most easily. Soybeans and black beans are often most difficult to digest.
- Season with a digestive aid, such as sea salt.
- Add fennel or cumin to help prevent gas.
- Use apple cider vinegar to soften the beans and make them more digestible.
- Take a digestive enzyme with your meal.
I think the key to finding your love for beans is all in the recipe. Here are a couple to try: