Meatless Monday: Spotlight on Beans

Beans are one of the most underrated foods out there. These little things come in many variations are SO nutrient dense! Beans are something that everyone should try to start adding into their diet a few times a week. Here are just some of the nutritional benefits of beans:

  • Great source of Protein (7-10 g per ½ cup)
  • Saturated Fat, Trans Fat and Cholesterol Free form of protein; which reduces risk of heart disease compared to red meat that contains all three
  • Filled with antioxidants and minerals that help lower cancer risk
  • High Fiber content (about 12 g for 1 cup) which is great for aiding digestion
  • Good source of B complex Vitamins which improve liver health, skin, hair, eyes, intestinal wall strength, and muscle health. The B complex vitmains also aid in breaking down fat, carbs and protein.
  • Beans are very low on the glycemic index and are a complex carb which means they take longer to digest keeping you full longer. They are also great for blood sugar management

Here are two easy recipes using beans; either canned or fresh. If you buy canned look for ones that do not contain any added salt. If you buy dried beans make sure to soak them overnight before cooking; this allows the acids to release from the beans making them much easier to digest. These two recipes can stand alone or make great salad toppers! Both take under 20-30 minutes to make and can be made in large batches to meal prep for the whole week.

beans

Fiesta Bean Salad

Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas
1 can black beans
1 orange pepper – cut into small pieces
1 yellow pepper – cut into small pieces
Cherry Tomatoes (1/2 container or 1 cup) – halved
¼- ½ of a red onion (taste preference) – cut into small pieces
½ cup cut cilantro
Dressing: whisk together olive oil & balsamic vinegar with some salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut all the ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.
Whisk together the dressing in a separate bowl
Drizzle dressing over beans and veggies and mix everything together
Optional: Add some chopped avocado for some extra flavor and fullness

Sweet Potato and Black Bean or Chickpea Patties

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes, roasted and peeled
1 cup black beans or chickpeas
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs red onion, chopped
1/4c cilantro, chopped
1 tbs lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Add all ingredients EXCEPT the black beans into a food processor or hand mix after mashing the sweet potatoes.
STIR in black beans
Refrigerate the mixture for 10-20 minutes
Form into small patties, and cook in nonstick pan with a little olive or coconut oil
4 minutes each side to warm them and crisp the outsides

NOTE: Another variation of this patty recipe is to add in quinoa. You can sub half the amount of beans for quinoa for a different variation of flavor and texture. This allows you to sneak in some whole grains to make this a complete meal!

This article also appears on Women’s iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.

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