Welcome back to our “how the heck do you use that?” series! Let’s talk about how to prepare and use the humble bean.
If you only find yourself reaching for beans when you make chili, you are seriously missing out on a tasty and filling addition to your meals.
A bit on bean benefits
Beans are a nutrition powerhouse! They are high in fiber and protein and also a good source of important minerals like iron, potassium, and magnesium. The magical “fruit” indeed! On the Brook Healthy Plate, beans are part of the carbs and starchy veggies section. A lot of recipes have beans paired with other carbs like rice or tortillas, so be mindful of your quarter plate section for carbs and be sure to load up on your low carb veggies to balance it out!
Prep your beans
Canned beans are a pantry staple – good to have on hand for those days where you need to get a meal on the table in 15 minutes. When using canned, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly before adding them to your dish. This removes excess sodium and also some of the starches that can cause gas. If you experience a “rumble” in your tummy after eating beans, start slow. By gradually adding more of them into your diet, you’ll experience less gas as your body gets used to digesting beans.
Dried beans are more economical than canned and you will also be able to control flavor and salt content. They also are shelf-stable for 2-3 years if properly stored, which makes them a great pantry staple item. Not sure how the heck to prepare dried beans? Here’s a great resource for soaking and cooking dried beans: How To Cook Beans.
Use your beans
Now that you have your beans ready, how the heck do you use them? Here are some easy ways to incorporate beans into your diet.
If Taco Tuesday is a tradition for you, these black bean tacos might become your new go-to. You can also switch up the delivery of those black beans but keep the same flavors with some cauliflower rice stuffed peppers.
Super Simple Swaps
In place of mayo on a sandwich or wrap, you can swap it for some beans! It can be as simple as using some hummus, or you can make this basil white bean spread. If you like crunchy snacks like chips or pretzels, try swapping them for some crispy roasted chickpeas instead
Maybe you’re wanting something sweet? Beans have you covered! Not very traditional, but these black bean brownies may surprise you.
Reviewed by Emily Matson, MS, RDN
on February 10, 2020. Emily is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Brook Experts.