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Food of the Month: Beans

In this low carb world where carbohydrates are evil, beans get a bad reputation!  In fact they are an amazing source of protein packed with other nutrients and are inexpensive to top it all off!   According to Dr. Greger (Nutritionfacts.org) just a 20 grams intake (that’s 2 tablespoons) a day will decrease your risk of death by 8%.

What Are They:

Beans belong to a class of vegetables called legumes that also includes peas and lentils.  They contain little to no fat or cholesterol and are a rich source of protein.  The problem many people have is with the digestion of beans which can be made easier in one of two ways.  The first way is to thoroughly soak your beans.  Soak them for 48 hours changing the water two to three times a day followed by cooking them thoroughly.  An alternate method is to boil the beans for 1-2 minutes, soak then for 2 hours, drain, rinse and cook in fresh water.  Cooking the beans really well helps decrease flatulence (you should be able to mash the beans between your fingers).  Additionally, it may be helpful to start with small amounts of beans and slowly increase the amount you consume to help develop the gut bacteria you need to digest the beans properly.

Health Benefits:

Some beans contain more protein than meat and are rich in protective nutrients like fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals like folate, potassium, iron and magnesium.

How to Store:

Dried beans are really inexpensive so buying dried beans is an economical way to get a good quality source of protein and fiber.  Canned beans are also inexpensive but are typically twice the price of dried beans and contain added sodium.

Dried beans should be removed from the plastic bag they are sold in and placed in storage containers of your choice.  They should be kept in a cool, dry place and are typically good for a year.

How to Use:

Beans are extremely versatile and can be added to rice, soups and salads.  They make great protein packed dips as well!  Check out these delicious recipes!

 

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Ingredients:

1 can black beans or 1 1/2 cups cooked dried black beans

1 cup frozen and thawed or canned fire roasted corn

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, diced

1-2 limes

salt and pepper to taste

1 avocado, diced

Instructions:

  1. Combine corn, black beans and tomatoes.
  2. Juice the limes and pour over the salsa adding salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Right before serving stir in the diced avocado and serve with chips or vegetables of your choice.

Recipe from Riley Shaia

 

Oil Free Hummus:

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz. can) chickpeas or 1 1/2 cup cooked chick peas

1/4-1/2 cup aquafaba

1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed is preferable)

1/3 cup tahini

1-2 fresh garlic cloves

1/2 tsp chili powder or paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add chick peas. 1/4 cup aquafaba, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, and spices to a high-speed blender.
  2. Blend for 1-2 minutes.   Add additional spices, lemon juice or aquafaba to thin as needed.  Consistency should be slightly runny as it will thicken in the refrigerator.

Adapted from CearasKitchen.com

 

 

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