Need some delicious recipes to enjoy a healthy diet? Don’t pass up the beans! They’re high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and so much more and are one of the secrets of longevity among cultures that live the longest and in remarkable health. If you’re looking for a tasty bean, white beans of any variety are versatile, delicious and packed with nutrition. Here are 5 recipes you’ll love and want to put into your menu rotation starting today!
The Mighty Bean
But why cook with beans in the first place? An increasing body of research supports the benefits of a plant-based diet, and legumes specifically, in the reduction of chronic disease risks. Studies have found that eating one serving a day (half a cup) of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils can significantly reduce “bad cholesterol” and therefore the risk of cardiovascular disease. That same serving provides roughly 20% of your daily fiber requirement and a high fiber diet has been linked to massive reductions in risk for stroke, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health risks.
The Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda, California live on average 10 years longer than the average American. While researching their diet secrets, I stumbled upon the fact that beans are one of their staple foods. Researching further into the humble legume led me across other studies that cite bean intake as the most important predictor of survival in older people from around the globe. Meanwhile, eating a bean-free diet might actually increase our risks for death and disease. Yikes! For more on the benefits of beans in your diet, check out my article Bean Consumption Linked to Longer Lifespans?.
Since beans are one of nature’s super foods and a staple of a whole foods-based diet, start looking for them in your grocery store aisles. White beans come in a variety of types from navy bean, northern beans, great northern beans, cannellini and others. All are easy to cook with and have a softer, creamer texture than some beans like kidney beans, making them wonderful additions to many dishes or as dishes on their own. You can buy them conveniently pre-cooked and packed in cans if you don’t want to bother soaking and cooking dried beans. Legumes are also a really cheap source of protein. In fact, they’re one of the cheapest whole foods to buy. Who doesn’t love that?
Now on to the recipes.
#1 – Tuscan White Beans
This recipe is simple on ingredients, simple on prep and takes no time to heat up and serve! It’s a great starter recipe for those who don’t often cook with beans. Time-crunched and busy people rejoice – the recipe calls for canned beans. No fuss, no muss. Enjoy!
#2 – Clams in White Bean Sauce
Get in a boatload of nutrition from this combo of vitamin-rich clams and nutrient dense beans. Top lemony steamed clams with a crisp fennel and parsley salad for an easy, elegant dinner. In this recipe, the beans are from cans to make prep work super simple. Switch out clams for mussels or shrimp if you’re not a clam fan or cook all three for a wonderful medley!
#3 – White Bean Dip
Looking for a healthy snack? Look no further than this white bean dip recipe that’s as good or better than hummus. It’s simple and you can use canned rather than dried beans. Savor this dip with veggie dippers or whole grain crackers or use it as a spread! After trying this, you’ll never want a chip again so long as this is on hand.
#4 – White Bean Sausage Soup
What’s better on a cool autumn or cold winter night than curling up with a hearty and flavorful soup? The recipe isn’t complex but it produces a rich dish that’s perfectly savory and comforting. This is one bean soup recipe you will want to cook again and again!
#5 – Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad
You probably already have most of the ingredients on hand to make this light and fresh salad. It’s quick and simple – and perfect for lunch or as a side dish in place of your typical salad.
Delicious, Flavorful Health
Beans are an underutilized and underestimated ingredient but the healthiest cultures in the world adore them. For instance, Italian cuisine is replete with bean dishes or dishes where a handful of tasty cannellini beans are thrown in. No one has ever accused the Italians of boring food so take a page from their cookbook to enjoy more white bean recipes in your weekly menu rotation. Your taste-buds and health will be delighted.
Remember, you don’t have to cook with dried beans. Grab canned versions for convenience but be sure to drain and rinse them to cut down on salt. Personally, I prefer cooking from dried. It’s super simple to toss them into a bowl with water, let them soak overnight, then cook them in my rice cooker. Other people swear by their Instapot so don’t think beans need to be labor intensive.
Looking for more recipe ideas? Check out this amazing list of 32 delicious and eye-grabbing recipes for white beans from Epicurious.
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