Beans are a great source of carbohydrates and considered a “Powerhouse food.” They have a nutrient profile so strong and versatile that they are considered to be both a vegetable and a protein food. Beans are loaded with fiber and help you feel full longer, and they stabilize blood sugar. Another plus for beans is they cost only pennies per serving.
A variety of beans and legumes are available, and canned varieties make them a healthful fast food. Use low- or no-sodium varieties of canned beans or rinse well before using; however, cooked dried beans are more flavorful and less mushy than their canned counterparts. You will need to plan ahead to use dried beans because they can take up to two hours to cook. Cook beans in large batches and freeze in amounts equal to one can of beans, so they are easy to use. (1 ¾ cups of cooked dried beans equals a 15 ounce can.)
Since it still feels like “soup weather” here is a recipe for Mediterranean Bean Soup that just might hit the spot.
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 cups dried beans, soaked according to package directions and drained (or 3 cans of beans, 15 ounces each, rinsed well)
• 8 cups boiling water
• 1- 14 ounce can stewed tomatoes in juice
• 2 bay leaves
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 3 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
• 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• ½ cup chopped fresh parsley; additional for garnish
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat olive oil in heavy 3 quart stockpot; saute’ onion, carrots, celery, and garlic until vegetables are soft; about 10 minutes.
2. Add drained beans, boiling water, and bay leaves to stockpot and cook over low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Add stewed tomatoes in their juice, tomato paste, bouillon, thyme, and parsley. Cook until beans are soft (an additional 30 -60 minutes. Cooking time varies with type of beans.)
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. For thicker soup, remove about 1 ½ cups of beans and puree in food processor or blender; return to pot.
5. Serve and garnish individual bowls with additional parsley.
Nutritional information per serving (with dried beans): 210 calories; 4.5 g. fat; 35 g carbohydrates; 9 g protein; 12 g fiber; 370 mg sodium. Nutritional information per serving (with canned beans): 260 calories; 4.5 g fat; 44 g carbohydrates; 13 g protein; 11 g fiber; 1080 mg sodium.
Donna Krug is the Family & Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org