Legumes (beans) are a great source of plant-based protein, plus they are packed with fiber and other nutrients. Their health benefits derive from direct attributes, such as their low saturated fat content and high content of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients, substances only found in plant foods that act to help prevent cancer and many other diseases.
The vitamin profile of beans includes vitamin C, and seven out of the eight B-vitamins – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, biotin, and folate—but not vitamin B-12. Additionally, the mineral composition is quite notable, with amounts of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, manganese, selenium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Beans are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. On average, beans provide 7 or more grams of total dietary fiber per ½-cup serving. Dietary fiber intake contributes to feelings of fullness or satiety and helps maintain functioning of the digestive system.
Be sure to include beans in your daily meals.
Hoppin’ John Salad
Makes about 10 1/2 cup servings
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, or 1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tomato, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 – 2 garlic cloves, crushed
Combine black-eyed peas, rice, green onions, celery, tomato, and parsley in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix together lemon juice, oil, salt, and garlic and pour over the salad. Toss gently. Chill 1 to 2 hours if time permits.
Homestyle Squash and Pinto Beans
Veggies, rice, and beans make this all-American dish a welcome guest after a hard day. Serve with a salad and fruit wedges. Makes 4 servings.
1/4 cup Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeno pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sliced yellow squash (1/2 -inch thick)
1 cup sliced zucchini (1/2-inch thick)
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1 16-ounce can pinto beans, drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups cooked brown rice
Heat broth in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, jalapeno, and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in squash and zucchini and sauté 2 minutes. Add corn, beans, tomatoes and their liquid, and thyme. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Discard thyme. Serve over rice.
Italian Chickpea Spread
Enjoy this delicious, low-fat spread in sandwiches or on crackers. It’s satisfying and light.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
2 cups drained cooked or canned chickpeas (1 15-ounce can)
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 black pepper
Combine all ingredients in food processor and process into a smooth paste, stopping to scrape down sides of work bowl as necessary. Chill several hours or overnight before serving to allow flavors to blend. Keeps 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator.