Beans get a bad rap. I recall my grandpas delightful renditions of the “magical fruit” song to my cousins and I when we are younger. There is something highly unappealing to a young girl about the idea of eating a food that would increase the likely hood of farting in front of anyone.
Beans are also portrayed as poor people food. I am sure we can all conjure up the images of hobos eating beans around a burning barrel. And during the depression era, people ate a lot of beans and weenies.
In reality they should be considered healthy people food, because they really have a lot of great benefits and are a great way to get much needed protein into our bodies. Plus there are actually quite a few ways to reduce the effects of beans on your digestive track.
Did you know that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that you eat 3 cups of beans a week?
For the sake of not re-writing things that have been covered in depth elsewhere here is an awesome PDF link about How to eat beans without gas. Just to give a little summary it talks about four things that can effect the explosivo factor. Namely, your personal digestive system, what kind of beans you are eating, how you cooked them, and what types of foods you ate in combination with them. A must read!
One of the best ways to reduce gas though is to cook beans yourself. If anyone is interested I have an awesome system in place for pressure canning my own beans. (NOTE: my mom bought me a pressure cooker for my college graduation present… seriously one of the best presents ever!!!) I just do a huge batch like once a month and then they are all ready to go (plus they are cheaper than canned beans from the store).
And what do you ask are the health benefits of beans?
- High in Fiber
- Prevent and cure constipation
- regulate colon function and a bunch of other great stuff having to do with your bowel
- Can help lower cholesterol
- lower blood pressure
- help control blood sugar
This post wouldn’t be worth a hill of beans unless I gave some of my favorite bean/ lentil suggestions. So here are my top five beany delights.
5. Fragrant Red Lentils: this has become a family favorite. Fiona even likes it. There are A LOT of ingredients, but it is so worth it. Red Lentils in my opinion are far superior to the brown ones you usually find at the grocery store. I find them in the bulk food section of my grocery store and I know Whole Food sells them in bulk. The recipe also calls for Garam Masala which can be tricky to find in some places but there are recipes online to make your own. However, much easier to purchase.
4. Beans and Rice: I like to use black beans, I add seasoning like chipotle, cumin, garlic and basil to them while cooking and serve over brown rice. Then I treat it kind of like a Hawaiian haystack, by adding my favorite chopped vegetables and sauces. Here are a few of my favorite beans and rice toppings: Romaine lettuce, Avacado, cucumbers, bell peppers, green onions, fresh tomatoes, parsley, salsa, plain greek yogurt, tobassco, and pretty much any kind of hot sauce you like. You can eat it in a bowl, wrap it up in hot corn tortiallas or put it on top of your favorite tortilla chip. I am really digging the Food Should Taste Good brand right now.
3. Ravioli with White Beans, Tomatoes and Escarole : I usually use spinach and I like to add a crushed clove or garlic to the mix as well.
2. Chickpeas in coconut milk: this recipe is from an Indian cookbook that I absolutely love. It is really simple and you can add other vegetables to it if you want like cauliflower, or peas.
- generous 1 cup water
- 10 oz potatoes cut in to 1/2 inch cubes
- 14 oz cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
- 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 -1tsp chili powder (I say more is better)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- Indian bread, to serve (Naan)
- I also like to garnish with cilantro
- Pour water into a medium saucepan and add potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 6-7 minutes, until potatoes are al dente. Add the chickpeas and cook, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the coconut milk and salt and bring to a slow simmer.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown. Add the coriander, turmeric, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 25-30 seconds.
- Fold the aromatic oil into the chickpea mixture. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Serve immediately with Indian Bread.
1. HUMMUS: I Love love love me some hummus. You can purchase ooodles of different kinds at the grocery store, however I avoid most of it because it contains canola oil (I will touch on that subject in a future post). True hummus has five simple ingredients…. Chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, Tahini (sesame seed paste), and lemon juice. I make my own by just throwing it all in a food processor. I honestly do not measure… it is a good thing to play around with how much of each ingredient you like. But if you want my estimations it is like…. one can chickpeas, two cloves garlic, two tbsp olive oil, two tbsp tahini and the juic from one lemon.
Other things I like to throw in the food processor for flavors are: cilantro, cumin, or a roasted red pepper. There are a lot of possibilites. Be creative.
You can eat hummus on sandwiches (just like you would cheese or mayo). Or just use it as a dip for your favorite vegetables. Use it on cracker, pitas, rr if you are like Fiona, you can just eat big scoops of it.
And there you have it… eat your beans!