Hi all! Today is the day that we start highlighting ingredients! As we learn about more and more ingredients, you can go to ‘ingredient exploration’ under the ‘Recipes’ tab, and look up fun facts, tips, and recipes for each ingredient. So let’s begin!
Today we are featuring a classic ingredient: beans!
Beans are a great ingredient to always have in the pantry. Did you know there are about 40,000 varieties of bean in the world? Some of the more common varieties include black beans, pinto beans, soybeans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), navy beans, and kidney beans. And if you are creative, there are dozens of ways to prepare them! Between the varieties and the preparation options, you should never have a dull moment with this classic ingredient.
Did you know? January 6th is National Bean Day!
So what is a kid to do about these beans? Some general tips for preparing beans are:
- Soak them! Do you ever get that gassy or bloated feeling after eating beans? Beans have sugars called ‘oligiosacharides’ on the outer layer that some people have a harder time digesting. To prevent that uncomfortable, embarrassing side effect you can soak your beans overnight in the fridge and then rinse before cooking. This will remove those sugars that are so difficult to digest and allow you to enjoy the flavor rather than worry about the side effects.
- Try cooking a batch of beans in a crockpot or pressure cooker and putting them in the fridge. Then you have a quick healthy protein that can be added to salads, turned into a dip, used in a baked good, and much more
- Amazing source of fiber! Fiber is a nutrient that helps keep our digestive tract healthy and strong. Beans happen to have both kinds of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and can keep your belly working the way it should
- Healthy Protein: Beans are a healthy and cheaper substitution for meat. In fact 1 cup of beans has close to the same amount of protein as 1 cup of diced chicken.
- Full of healthy minerals: Our body needs minerals to stay healthy. Our heart, especially, loves the minerals you can get from beans. So keep your hear healthy and strong by adding some beans to your next meal!
Want to try something new with beans? Here are 10 creative ways to add beans to your cooking:
- Toss cold cooked beans in a salad
- Add to hot and cold pasta dishes for a protein boost
- Mix in with baked goods (brownies, cakes, etc.)
- Top off a slice of toast with your favorite type of bean for a famous English treat
- Eat beans with rice and eggs for a morning breakfast burrito
- Add to soups
- Puree with spices for a veggie dip
- Make a bean burger to grill
- Toss in with your favorite salsa recipe for a more filling snack
- Mix with your favorite veggies for a great pita or wrap filler
Varieties to try:
There are approximately 40,000 varieties of beans with several dozen available at the grocery store.
Here are a few examples to try:
- Lima Beans
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Garbanzo (Chickpeas)
- Great White Northern
- Navy Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Small Red Beans
- Fava Beans
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start creating! Look for this week’s recipe featuring this great ingredient!