Easy Healthy Recipes with Beans



dry beans and legumes, bean recipes, cooking with beans, vegetarian recipes, online cookbook, organize recipes onlineAre you looking for easy healthy recipes for you and your family?  One easy way to make your favorite recipe a little healthier is by using beans or legumes to “bulk” it up, making it heartier and healthier all at once.  Consider substituting some beans or peas for a portion of the meat in your next soup, chili, appetizer dip, burrito, or casserole; or mash up a few of them to use as a thickener (that’s healthier than cream) for soups or dips.

Legumes are Good for You
Legumes (a plant family which includes beans, peas, lentils, as well as soybeans and peanuts) are good for you!  Full of complex carbohydrates as well as fiber, they take time to digest and help your body with things like lowering LDL cholesterol and moderating blood sugar levels.  Since they are high in protein and iron content, they also make a great addition to vegetarian meals or those who eat limited amounts of meat.  Help your body absorb the iron from legumes by eating them with foods high in Vitamin C, such as tomatoes, citrus juices, or bell peppers.

Legumes are Easy to Keep on Hand
If dried beans are stored in airtight containers and kept at cool or room temperature, they can last for years.  Dried beans (up to 50% less expensive than canned versions) such as black-eyed peas, black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, as well as fava or adzuki beans are easily found in most stores; they just take a while to cook (allow 2 hours, usually).  The same types of beans that you can purchase in dried form, can usually be purchased already cooked and canned as well; these are easy to have on hand for last minute dishes and also can keep for up to two years. Purchase frozen legumes with edible pods (such as green beans, peas, snow peas, and edamame) to have in the freezer where they will last longer and are just as healthy as fresh ones.

dried beans, bean recipes, healthy recipes, cooking with beans, online recipe organizer, how to cook dried beansCooking Dried Legumes
While for years, people have sworn that beans have to be soaked before cooking, Russ Parsons with LA Times presents an interesting article and testing analysis about why soaking is not necessary.

And so you’re ready to cook those beans! On the stovetop, simply place the drained beans into a pot with enough cool water to cover; add salt, if desired, or any other seasonings (Southerners will often cook with a little ham or bacon and perhaps onion or peppers, etc.). Bring the pot to a boil and allow to boil for 10 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1-2 hours or until beans are as tender as desired.  Add water as needed in order to keep the beans covered during the process.  When finished cooking, remove the pot from heat and allow the beans to cool along with the liquid (this keeps them hydrated).  Drain well.

If you prefer to cook them in the crockpot, add beans and enough water to cover plus about an inch along with any desired seasonings.  Cook over low heat for 6 to 8 hours (keeping an eye on it, so you can add extra water, if needed).  Drain well and store until ready to use or add to your favorite soup or chili recipe.

Easy Bean Recipes

Here are a couple of simple recipes you could try with cooked beans.  We’d love to hear your ideas and favorites in the comments below.

black bean salsa, beans and corn salsa, bean recipes, healthy recipes, party recipes, appetizer dip, digitize recipes, online cookbookBlack Bean Salsa (serves 10)

2 cups cooked black beans
16 ounces corn kernels
16 ounces Cilantro or green salsa
1 can RoTel diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 whole avocado, diced
1/4 cup picante sauce

Mix all of the above ingredients together except for the avocado; refrigerate overnight.  Just before serving, chop the avocado and mix in gently.

navy bean soup, bean recipes, healthy recipes, vegetarian recipes, soup recipes, organize recipes onlineNavy Bean Soup (serves 8)

1-1/2 pounds cooked navy beans
1/2 pound bacon, medium diced
1/2 pound ham, medium diced
3/4 pound carrots, peeled and diced
3/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper, as desired
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large soup pot, cook bacon over medium heat until diced pieces are crisp; remove about 3/4 of the fat.  Add the diced onion, carrot, and pepper or chili powder; cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender, about 10 or 12 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the cooked beans and enough water to fill the pot about 2/3 full.  Stir in the tomatoes and ham.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently, adding more water as needed to produce desired consistency.

So, remember to eat a little healthier this year by preparing easy healthy bean recipes and adding legumes to your favorite dishes.

You can keep track of all your favorite recipes and easily share them with family and friends right here at Dish Dish with your own online cookbook account!

January 2nd, 2015

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