I usually anchor my weekly meals on one key Sunday meal: meatloaf, whole-roasted chicken or a pork tenderloin. But I had a big bag of black beans winking at me every time I opened the pantry and it didn’t want to wait any longer.
Beans you say? An odd departure from anchoring on sustainably-sourced animal protein. But oh so nutrient-dense!
Beans are rich source of:
- Water-soluble vitamins, especially B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folacin.
- Phytonutrients (plant chemicals essential for health)
- Essential minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and zinc that strengthen our immune system and protect us from disease
- Dietary fiber which lower cholesterol keeps blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal
- have anti-inflammatory properties
- improve gut health
- may help strengthen bones
- lower blood pressure
- manage diabetes
- aid digestion
Here’s why we should Eat More Beans
So how do I turn a pot of beans into meals for the week?
Joel Fuhrman, MD, Eat to Live
Cajun Shrimp Sweet Potato Hash. This is a great versatile recipe. Add poblano pepper, red bell pepper, mix in spinach or chopped kale. Top with avocado or salsa or toasted pumpkin seeds or Greek yogurt and chopped jalapeños.
Make extra a lunch or two
- Toss with greens and a Dijon mustard vinaigrette, top with toasted pumpkin seeds
- Make a wrap with mashed avocado, a dollop of whole-milk Greek yogurt and chopped jalapenos
Zucchini “boats” with leftover Black Bean Quinoa Chili. Cut zucchini in half, scoop it out, mix the scooped-out-part into chili. Fill the “boats” top with cheese and back in oven preheated to 350 for 25 – 30 minutes.
You can also use baked sweet potatoes. Scoop out half mix in into the chili and stuff the sweet potatoe. Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese if desired and broil.
Black Bean Hummus – use this base recipe. Add black olives and fresh basil.
- For breakfast: Spread it on whole wheat toast with avocado slices. Optional, add a poached egg on top
- For lunch: Make a wrap with spinach, avocado, chopped veggies (tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, celery, carrots – whatever you have)
- Anytime: with celery, snap peas, carrots or crackers hummus-style; or on rice cakes with some salsa on top
And even Dessert!
Fudgy Black Bean Brownies (I reduce the sugar by half)
National Library of Medicine. (2022). Potential anti-inflammatory effects of legumes. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35042569/
Medical News Today. (2018). Everything you need to know about black beans. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/289934
Medical News Today. (2020). What are the health benefits of black beans. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320192#benefits