It’s Eat Your Beans Day on 3 July. Hurray! Beans are wonderful and should form an integral part of any healthy vegan, vegetarian or plant-based diet. They’re a great source of protein and contain healthy carbohydrates that don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar. They contain potassium for adequate heart health, large amounts of magnesium for healthy overall bodily functioning, and they’re a great source of fibre for optimal digestive health. Beans also have a large amount of B vitamins and iron.
Beans are also generally inexpensive. A simple, non-perishable food source to keep in the cupboard. From burgers to dips, in salads and stews, creating desserts, or even using bean juice as an egg replacement in cakes and meringues, beans are super versatile.
Beans are usually found canned or dried and some can be found fresh seasonally. Canned beans are pre-cooked and stored in water, while dried beans are dehydrated. After soaking or boiling your dried beans in water, they will weigh more, so in the end you will get more from the bag of dried beans than a single can of beans. Overall – depending of course on the fuel cost associated with cooking them – the dried may give you a better bang for your buck. Nutritionally they are pretty much the same, however sometimes canned beans will have things added to them, including high amounts of salt. For convenience, canned are going to be a better option, but if you have the time and are looking to save money, then dried beans may be preferable.
We have a number of recipes on our website to make use of beans in all their guises. If you are looking for a great burger for the summer BBQ, try this excellent black bean burger. It’s easy to make and holds well on the grill. Black beans are small, soft and versatile. They are surprisingly high in healthy phytonutrients, which are often cited as warding off certain diseases.
Larger than black beans, kidney beans have a distinctive kidney-shape. They are also significantly 'meatier' in texture than other beans, which makes them ideal candidates for replacing many animal products in your favourite dishes. Again, these beans are chock-full of nutrients essential to healthy living. Why not try these excellent sausages made using red kidney beans? They’re perfect as part of a vegan cooked breakfast.
Try serving classic home-made baked beans with your breakfast. We have an excellent recipe here that uses borlotti or cannellini beans, both of which are full of protein, folate and have low glycemic indexes.
For a decadent dessert, try this chocolate brownie. It’s no fuss, rich, and made using whipped aquafaba – the liquid from canned beans such as chickpeas, black beans or kidney beans.
However you choose to eat your beans, try to include some in your weekly diet to feel the benefits and enjoy the flavours.