• Emma Winter

Jack and the Beanstalk...The Power of Plant Based Protein

No beans are not magic...well they don't grow into beanstalks that lead to magical lands far off into the clouds.

But they kind of are magical when it comes to nourishing our bodies. 

The benefits of beans are so numerous that I can’t say enough in praise of a beans diet. Healthy beans are so outstanding that only green vegetables come close as a valuable food source. 

Creamy cannelloni's, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around. But why?

Consider this: Beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients (plant nutrients). They are also low in calories.

Plus, studies have found them to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

What To Do With Beans?

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 favourite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.

  • Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favourite bean.

  • Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favourite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.

  • Include 1/3 cup of beans with your other favourite toppings next time you make stuffed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.

  • Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favourite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans.

If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips for delicious and well-cooked beans.

  1. Be sure to wash and clean the beans first.

  2. Soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking (hint: cut a bean in half; if the center is still opaque, keep soaking).

  3. After soaking, rinse, fill pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.

  4. To aid digestion, add kombu, bay leaf, cumin, anise, or fennel to the water.

  5. 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.

Click here for my Black-Eyed Pea Salad

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