..Are good for your heart! The song is true! Beans as you may have guessed, are packed with nutrients such as fiber, folic acid, manganese, magnesium, thiamin (vitamin B1), phosphorous, iron, and protein. So why are they good for your heart? The fiber in beans helps to rid the body of bad cholesterol, and if you replace a few servings of medium or high fat meat with beans, you will be cutting out a nice chunk of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Keep in mind though, unlike meat, beans alone are not a complete protein (meaning they don’t contain all essential amino acids, or protein building blocks). This can be fixed by eating beans, or legumes with a grain such as rice or whole wheat bread. Here are some wonderful examples:
Re-fried bean tacos
Store-bought re-fried beans most usually come in a can with a lot of added salt and fat (lard). That’s not appetizing to me, so here’s what I do:
For the beans you’ll need:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
- Either 2 cans of beans drained and rinsed well, OR 2 cups of dried beans soaked and cooked through. Almost any bean will do–black, pinto, navy, your choice!
- 1/2-1 cup hot broth or stock (vegetable, chicken, beef, whichever)
- Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes, or until slightly caramelized.
- Add spices and beans.
- Add 1/2 cup hot broth and mash beans to your liking (smooth, or chunky). You can also use an immersion blender. You may need to add in more broth if it is too dry.
For the tacos you’ll need:
- Re-fried beans (above)
- Whole wheat tortillas (or pita bread)
- Lettuce or raw spinach
- Diced tomatoes
- Shredded cheese (optional) Pepper Jack works well here
- Cilantro (optional)
- Warm the tortillas or pita in the oven or on the stove first until heated through
- Pile on the goodness! Ahem! Lightly sprinkle on some cheese 😉
Red Rice and Beans
This recipe is great as a side dish, or entrée. For the beans, use the same recipe above for the re-fried beans, however keep the beans whole, or only mash a few.
For the rice you’ll need:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup rice (white works better in this recipe, but you can also use brown)
- 1-16 oz can tomatoes, mashed or blended
- Up to 1-1/2 cups hot water or broth
- Salt & pepper
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and lightly caramelized.
- Add the rice and tomatoes and stir well. Lower the heat to a simmer and season with salt and pepper if needed. Keep stirring the rice–you will need to add hot water or broth when the rice dries up. Continue this until the rice is cooked.
- Serve rice with beans over the top, or side by side.
Enjoy! And don’t be afraid to change up these recipes a bit. I encourage you to use what you have in the house, so feel free to make substitutions.
Book an appointment here! Marina Bedrossian, RDN, CDN, CLT is a family holistic dietitian who specializes in nutrition for digestive issues, nutrition for Autism, ADHD, and nutrition for food sensitivities.