I’ve talked about how important it is to eat beans (or other legumes) every day: they’re a super important source of protein, fibre, iron and many other good things. But when we’re not used to the idea of eating beans regularly, our imagination might not stretch much further than emptying a can of beans into a bowl. We forget that there are hundreds of different kinds of beans grown around the world, with a wide variety of flavour, colour, texture and nutritional content, and just as many different ways to eat them.
Having a better idea of the variety of bean types and meal options, it becomes a bit easier to consider eating the three portions of beans recommended by the Daily Dozen checklist 🙂
To help you along, here’s a list of ideas for how to incorporate beans into your daily eating habits:
- Add a quarter cup of beans to your smoothie. Try white beans in a fruit smoothie, or black beans in a mocha smoothie—it’s a good way to get a protein boost in a normally carb-heavy meal.
- Make savoury chickpea pancakes. Sort of like an omelette, but with zero cholesterol 🙂
- Mix half a cup of beans into your salad for lunch. Any beans will do! Hopefully you’ll already have greens, raw vegetables and seeds in there too.
- Make a hearty lentil soup. Cook up a big batch and freeze the extra for busy weeknights.
- Add beans to your veggie stew. Kidney beans are great for this, with their hearty flavour and darker colour, and they complement root vegetables and warm spices really well.
- Next time you make pesto, blend some white beans into it. They’re almost flavourless, but they’re a great way to bulk up your pesto and soften the strong flavours.
- Soak some chickpeas or brown lentils overnight, then sprout them. Sprinkle your sprouts over a salad or blend them into a smoothie for some high-protein crunch.
- Make hummus. Or make a similar bean-dip, using kidney beans, butter beans or black beans instead. Serve with raw veggie sticks, crackers or wraps.
- Make miso soup: it’s a tasty winter-warmer and even contains probiotic bacteria. Just boil some mushrooms and veg in water, spoon some of the hot water into a bowl and mix in the miso, then stir the miso back into the soup.
- Crumble a block of tofu into a pan with some turmeric and veggies, to make a tofu scramble. Tofu is made from soya, which is a bean too!
- Swap your wheat pasta for lentil pasta: a simple way to boost your legume intake and still enjoy a traditional favourite.
- Snack on roasted chickpeas instead of potato crisps. Open a can of chickpeas, rinse and dry them between kitchen towels, toss them in a bit of oil and spices, and roast in the oven until crispy.
- For a sweet ending, try my flourless fudgy black bean brownies: you can’t taste the beans, promise!
Anyone up for a one-week #eatyourbeans challenge? Post your bean-full meals on Instagram and tag me (@plantifulcoach), I’ll reshare!