Who Spilled the Beans?
When people are following a low-carbohydrate diet, they may be leaving behind a nutrient-packed food, known as BEANS! These complex carbohydrates earn their nutritional powerhouse status through being high in energy, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and soluble fiber. Did you know that beans are the only food to fit into two groups of the Food Guide Pyramid, both vegetable and protein? Don't omit this essential food from your diet. Not only do beans come in many varieties so you will never get bored with them, but they also are economical, they provide great flavor and texture, and they can be included in numerous dishes. When providing 10 grams of protein from either a steak or dried beans, the beans are $2 cheaper, and provide higher fiber, vitamins and minerals with no saturated fat!
Beans come canned or dry with canned beans and bean products being more convenient and time efficient. A few points to consider when preparing dried beans are:
- Soaking beans overnight will produce the best results.
- Avoid boiling the beans; bean integrity is best achieved at a high simmer.
- Use plenty of water to avoid flaking of the skin.
- Minimize stirring not to damage the bean appearance.
- For extra moisture in a finished bean dish, add salad dressing, milk or water.
Here are 10 popular beans to try:
Black: Medium-size, black-skinned oval with a sweet, earthy flavor. Use in salads, salsas, casseroles, soups, and stews.
Black-eyed Peas: Medium, oval, cream colored with black spot and subtle flavor.
Garbanzo or "chick peas": Round, medium-size, and beige with nutty flavor. Used in hummus and falafel.
Kidney: Maroon color with firm texture and meaty flavor. Use in soups, salads, and casseroles.
Lima: Flat and green with large size and buttery flavor. Use in soups and casseroles.
Navy: Small, white ovals with mild flavor and powdery texture. Use for soups and chowders.
Pink: Small, pale and pink with a rich, meaty flavor and slightly powdery texture. Use for chili and BBQ beans.
Pinto: Medium oval-size with a mottled beige and brown color containing an earthy flavor and powdery texture. Use for chili and refried beans.
Small red: Dark red and small with flavor and properties similar to kidney.
Soybeans: More than 1,000 varieties ranging in size and colors consist of red, yellow, green, brown, and black.