Superfoods by Organicat

We've all heard about so-called "Superfoods" and how good they are for us...but if the idea of one more broiled salmon and steamed broccoli dinner drives you batty, come see what I'm cookin'!

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I'm a Foodie, Nutrition/Wellness Consultant and Personal Trainer. Eat well and love it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Beans, beans the magical fruit! The more you eat...

...The more you'll thank me!
Don't be put off by the more, um...fragrant aspects of beanery. These nutritional powerhouses offer more than just gas! High in fiber, iron, protein and flavor; beans can be used in countless ways.

First, the dispute betwixt canned and dry beans. There are a few things to consider when making this decision. Canned beans, while convenient, tend to harbor lots of sodium. If you're on a low-sodium diet, you'll want to rinse these very well or just avoid them altogether. Dry beans require a little planning. Most need about 8 hours of soaking, followed by a thourough rinse, boil and 45 minutes to 1 hour of simmering or to be brought to a boil, then simmered for a few hours.

My favorite way to deal with dried beans? I like to soak a moderately large amount (1 cup) overnight, and cook them right after breakfast (or whenever I have an hour to spare). I can then refrigerate them until I'm ready to season them.

The simplest seasoning I've concocted is a basic vinegrette with lots of dried herbes de provence. In a jar (for easy re-emulsion), I place about 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste, and another tablespoon of provencal herbs. To that, I'll add enough white balsalmic (or whatever vinegar I'm lovin' that day) vinegar to dissolve the salt. At this point, a finely diced shallot always adds a nice variation in texture, but you could even use diced red onion...I won't tell! If you're a garlic lover, like me, press a couple-3-4 cloves in your jar. Now, most classic vinegrette recipes call for a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar, but I prefer to go 1:1. You can play with the measurements and adjust them to your liking. After adding the extra-virgin olive oil, I tightly screw on the lid and shake the jar like there's no tomorrow. Pour this mixture over your beans, preferably while they're still warm. They'll absorb more flavor that way.

In order to avoid smashing the tender legumes, I like to place a lid of some sort over them and toss the beans in the dressing to coat them. You may be tempted to taste them immediately, but I've found that waiting about five minutes or so allows the vinegrette to permeate the beans. At this point, adjust the seasoning to your liking.

This is a good, basic way to incorporate beans into other meals. This morning I scooped a 1/2 cup of adzuki beans (prepared in this manner) over a 1/2 cup of a yummy brown rice mixture, then topped it all with copious amounts of cubed avocado and chopped cilantro. For an extra protein kick, I also like to drop a poached egg on top of all that!

If gas is an issue and you don't eat beans regularly, start with smaller amounts; no more than a 1/2 cup at a time. As your digestive system grows accustomed to those indigestible skins and high fiber content, the problems should subside. If you're so in love with the recipe and want to indulge beyond your intestinal limits, grab some Beano or your favorite chewable enzyme supplement. Chew them right before or with your first bite of the offending food.

I hope this helps anyone who's been intimidated by the super-bean. If you have any other recipe ideas, I'd love to read them!


Blogger triplecreme said...

Great bean info, Cat. Love the blog!!

10:31 PM  

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