Beans are cray, ya'll. They're the overachieving friend that's involved in, like, 10 different things. And they're, SO, excited about everything. With a good reason, because they're excelling in everything they're doing, Right?? Do you guys have those friends? I love those friends! They're inspiring and I catch their excitement because I'm impressionable. Plus their personalities stretch and challenge me to step out of my comfort zone as an introvert. Almost annoying, but not.
So yeah, beans. They're a modern-day superfood. They fit into several different food groups: 1) they're rich in complex carbs like bread, 2) they deliver a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like vegetables, plus 3) they contain so much protein that they can hold their own in the protein group. AND! AND!! They have little-to-no fat and are cholesterol free! See??! The excited friend?? Let's do all the things!!!
Oh man, guys. The good reasons to eat legumes. There's a lot of them. **BUT**. I want to include a couple of risks that can apply to a small amount of people to bring awareness for those who find themselves in this category.
There is a possibility that beans can cause complications for people with gout. Some legumes can also trigger migraines or allergic reactions. They're ALWAYS toxic raw and need to be cooked before consumption. Soybeans contain substances that interfere with absorption of vitamins and nutrients. Cooking them inactivates most of this, but it's a good idea regardless to supplement with fresh fruits, yellow and dark green vegetables, and lean meat.
Okay, now! The reasons why we should make friends with legumes! Beans are heart healthy thanks to the soluble fiber inside them that can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A little trick for using canned beans without added sodium is to rinse them with water before using them. Just 1/2 cup of beans contains seven grams of protein, the equivalent to 1 oz. of meat or fish. This makes them a great protein source for vegetarians, vegans, and those who seldom get meat in their diet. The high amounts of fiber and antioxidants reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Fiber also helps promote regularity, and makes beans ideal for those sensitive to gluten. They're the LEAST EXPENSIVE PROTEIN SOURCE, easy to buy, and easy to store.
I found the inspiration for this recipe on Naturally Ella. Erin is a total cool girl. I love everything she does. Everything. She splits things into categories that let you explore individual ingredients, stock your pantry, pair components together, and plan your meals. She's the best.
Bruschetta White Bean Salad
Adaptation from Naturally Ella's Bruschetta White Bean Wrap
- 4 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup white beans
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 6 leaves julienned basil
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup greens
- 1 spiralized cucumber
- pine nuts (optional)
- crumbled goat cheese (optional)
Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and garlic, sauteing until warm and just turning golden. Remove from heat, add in the beans, and toss until combined. Let it sit for 5 minutes as the oil cools. Combine sliced tomatoes, basil, and garlic beans in a bowl, followed by the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Assemble the greens and spiralized cucumber in a bowl. Top with 1/2 - 3/4 cup of the bean mixture followed by pine nuts and goat cheese, if using. ~ This recipe makes more bruschetta than is needed, which is perfect for lunch with a friend or two, or to save for later.