Beans have received a bad rap in the past. While it’s true that beans may give you gas, the benefits should outweigh the unwanted side effects of eating them.
Unlike animal protein, beans are a good addition to anyone’s diet, said Sharon Stroud, a local healthy eating coach.
“Beans are super good for you — they have protein, and they have nutrients,” said Stroud, owner of Sharon’s Nourishing Kitchen.
Beans cover a wide spectrum of flavors and textures, as well as cuisines.
Black-eyed peas have a hearty flavor and are believed to bring good luck at the new year. Pinto beans are a popular ingredient used at your favorite Mexican restaurant for refried, borracho or charro beans. Lentils are common in vegetarian dishes and at area Indian food restaurants. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are used to make hummus for dipping or as a spread for sandwiches. Edamame has emerged on menus beyond those at our favorite sushi restaurants and have been incorporated into salads or can be baked for a crispy snack.
Stroud points out that beans are a great addition to soups and can easily be added to any dish in their various forms: dried, frozen, fresh or canned.
Especially during the winter season, she likes to cook a big batch of beans on the stove to stockpile it for other meals. Whatever beans don’t get used right away can be frozen to use later in another soup or other dishes.
“Canned beans are a great convenience for people. You can put them on salad or add them to a soup,” she said.
Keeping a variety of canned beans in the pantry can help in a pinch when there isn’t enough time to soak and cook them yourself.
CHICKPEA, SWEET POTATO & CHORIZO SOUP
Makes 4 servings; wheat free, gluten free (depending on the sausages, and dairy free)
1 tablespoon olive oil
7 ounces cooking chorizo, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon tomato paste
14 ounces sweet potatoes, about 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
4¼ cups good-quality hot chicken or vegetable broth
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed or 1⅔ cups cooked chickpeas
1 teaspoon sweet or hot smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh cilantro leaves, to serve
1. Place a large heavy saucepan with a lid over medium heat. Add the oil and the diced cooking chorizo and sauté until the sausage is browned. Lift the meat out of the pan and set aside, leaving the red oil behind.
2. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan, along with a pinch of salt, then turn the heat to low and sweat the vegetables gently for about 10 minutes, stirring often. As they begin to brown, add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the diced sweet potatoes. Add the hot broth and a good grinding of black pepper, bring to a simmer, and then cover. Turn the heat right down and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy, 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Tip the chickpeas into the pan along with the smoked paprika, stir, and simmer for a couple of minutes to heat through. Use a ladle to scoop out half the mixture and blend until smooth, then return to the pan. Taste and add a little more salt, pepper, or paprika, if necessary.
4. To serve, heat through the reserved chorizo and sprinkle a quarter of it over each bowl, along with the cilantro leaves.
— Recipe from “Leon Happy Soups” by Rebecca Seal & John Vincent (Conran)
BLACK-EYED PEAS AND GREENS
Makes 6-8 servings
6 slices bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
1¼ teaspoons salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1½ cups chicken broth
1 pound collard greens, stemmed and chopped
2 15-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate; set aside.
2. Remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, pepper, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add tomatoes and their juice. Stir in broth and bring to boil. Add greens, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until greens are tender, about 15 minutes.
4. Add black-eyed peas to pot and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until greens are silky and completely tender, about 15 minutes. Remove lid, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until liquid is reduced by one-fourth, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar and sugar. Top with reserved bacon. Serve.
— Recipe from “Cooking at home with Bridget and Julia” by America’s Test Kitchen.
TUSCAN KALE AND WHITE BEAN RIBOLLITA
Makes 4 servings
3 large shallots, finely chopped
3 medium-size carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for serving
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving 1 medium-size zucchini, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 28-ounces can chopped tomatoes with juices
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth
6 cups Tuscan kale (lacinato kale), tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
6 cups roughly torn rustic bread Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for serving, optional
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place the shallots, carrots, celery, bell pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl and toss to combine. Turn the mixture out onto a rimmed sheet pan (reserve the bowl for Step 5) and roast until the shallots lose their raw look and the carrots start to become tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the zucchini, garlic, and rosemary and roast until the zucchini starts to become tender, about 10 minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, and 2 cups vegetable broth. Wearing oven mitts, cover the sheet pan loosely with aluminum foil and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Carefully uncover the pan. Stir in the kale and ½ teaspoon salt. Add another cup of broth if the pan looks dry, re-cover the pan, and cook until the kale is wilted, about 10 minutes.
5. Add the bread to the large bowl and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Toss to combine, then scatter the bread over the ribollita. Turn the broiler to high and broil until the bread turns golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes (watch the bread closely as broiler intensities vary).
6. Divide the ribolitta among 4 bowls. Serve with extra olive oil, pepper, and fresh shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, if using. Or let the ribollita cool and serve at room temperature.
— Excerpted from “Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight from the Oven” by Raquel Pelzel (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2017
1 12-ounce package frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the edamame into a colander and rinse under cold water to thaw. Drain.
2. Spread the edamame beans into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper.
3. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is crispy and golden, about 15 minutes.
— Recipe from allrecipes.com