We love beans.
Limas, lentils, kidneys, black beans…you name it.
We love them for the way they taste, how versatile and nutritious they are, and for how beans can help save money in your whole foods budget.
I consider bean cookery to be one of my specialties.
We were pretty much vegetarians for awhile, for several reasons, and during that time I cooked beans for pretty much every meal of the day.
So I've built up a good repertoire of bean dishes, and even consider beans to be kind of a comfort food now.
I know–I'm sort of an odd bird that way.
If you're not “comfy” with beans, I hope you will be moreso after reading about all that they have to offer.
Beans are a great source of nutrition
1. High in fiber
You get about 8 grams of fiber in a 1/2 cup serving of cooked beans.
2. High in Protein
All beans have a decent amount of protein, and I've read that there's about 18 grams of protein in one cup of cooked lentils. That's a ton!
3. Low in Calories
I'm not into calorie counting, but it is important not to indulge in tons of calorie-heavy foods all day long.
Between the fiber and the protein, beans tend to help keep your appetite satisfied for a long time.
Beans–the Great Budget Food
Beans can really help you save. A lot. Canned beans are already a great way to stretch your budget, but dried beans save much, much more.
1. One pound of beans yields about 9 cups of cooked beans, and compared to buying animal proteins, beans cost very little per pound. I think animal proteins are important for complete nutrition, but when you need to cut costs, beans are a great way to do it.
2. Substituting beans for meat
Typically, I substitute 1 cup dried beans for 1 pound of beef or chicken.
If you want to really save a lot, make an entire meal out of beans. Or, you can just sub beans for part of the meat in your dish to stretch your dollars a little further.
I think lentils, pintos and black beans are the best meat substitutes, but really, any beans can work.
Our Favorite Bean Recipes
I have so many more recipes to share, but here are some favorites from our bean-eating family.
– Indian Lentils (Super kid-friendly and super fast!)
– Savory Hummus (with sesame-free option) – One of my best friends told me that this is the best hummus she has ever tasted.
– Super Fast and Yummy Bean Dip – I get asked for this recipe all the time.
– Smooth Bean Fudge – You read that right. I said Bean Fudge. You really have to try this to believe it. It can even double as a frosting.
– Pizza Hummus |Pizza Dip (Dairy Free) – This is just great. I made a HUGE batch of it last night and it's hard to keep my kids out of it.
How to Take the “Toot” Out of Beans
You can't really de-gas canned beans, but rinsing might help a tad.
For dried beans, there are several ways to make them more–ahem–digestible.
Read How to De-Gas Beans for my foolproof de-gassing tips.
And check out the comments for more tips from readers.
So see–the old money-saving “beans and rice” meal plan doesn't have to be blah.
You can even check out Katie's Everything Beans Book for a load of good bean recipes.
And stick around here–I'm sure to have more coming up .
What is your favorite type of beans or favorite bean dish?
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cookbookman/5535638066/