10 tasty ways to prepare beans and lentils
Boost your intake of super-healthy legumes with these quick-to-prepare meal ideasBy Margaret Nearing
1. Spicy black-bean dip: Drain, rinse and mash a can of black beans. Stir in juice from half a lemon, a little cumin, and some finely chopped green onion, garlic, cilantro and jalapeño pepper.
2. Enriched meals in a bowl: Add puréed navy beans to squash soup, lentils to ham and barley soup, and lima beans to beef stew.
3. Need an easy potluck dish? Combine canned chickpeas with cooked couscous and lots of chopped tomatoes and parsley. Mix in ground cumin and sweet paprika to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
4. Mexican brunch: Serve poached or scrambled eggs with salsa, low-fat refried beans, corn tortilla chips and avocado slices for your own take on huevos rancheros.
5. The classic Jamaican dish “rice and peas”—a combination of pigeon or adzuki beans, brown rice, broth,
seasonings and more—makes a complete protein. Rice alone and beans alone lack certain amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
6. Add cooked chickpeas to a stew made with sautéed chopped pork, carrots, onions and kale.
7. Stuffed peppers: Cook equal amounts of lentils and rice (they take the same amount of time). Mix with toasted pine nuts, chopped tomatoes and mint and crumbled feta cheese. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, remove seeds and fill with mixture. Bake until peppers are soft.
8. Colourful salad: Mix cooked black beans with chopped mango, red pepper, green onion and cilantro. Add the juice from half a lime.
9. Bean “burger”: Sauté finely chopped onions, garlic and mushrooms. When cool, mix in a can of red kidney beans that have been rinsed and mashed. Form into patties and pan-fry in canola oil until well browned. Serve on warm whole-wheat pitas with your favourite condiments.
10. New twist on pasta: Sauté diced onion until soft; add chopped zucchini, red pepper, fresh or frozen fava beans and vegetable stock. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Combine with hot rotini pasta and a little olive oil.
Best Health Magazine, March/April 2009