Dried Beans: Superstars of Healthful Meals

Dried Beans: Superstars of Healthful Meals

Although they might not be the most appealing ingredient, dried beans are fantastic in nutritious dishes. Dried beans can play a supporting role in dishes like chili or take center stage in dishes like black bean burgers, despite their small size and mild flavor. Beans can be mashed for dips or spreads, eaten hot or cold, and seasoned with flavors from throughout the world’s cuisines. They can also be used to soups, stews, salads, and sides.

Dried beans are an excellent addition to nutritious meals due to their nutritional value as well as their adaptability. Iron, zinc, and protein abound in dried beans. They also include a lot of fermentable and soluble fiber. While fermentable fiber provides prebiotics to support your gut ecosystem, soluble fiber helps you feel fuller and encourages regularity in your bowel movements.

Dried beans not only support digestive health but also lower blood sugar and cholesterol and may even protect against some cancers.

Recognize your Dried Beans

Peas and lentils belong to the family of dried beans, also referred to as legumes or pulses. They are inexpensive and generally available, whether you purchase them in a can or dried form. When cooked, 1 pound of dried beans equals about four cans of beans — at a fraction of the cost. There are so many varieties of beans that meal-making possibilities seem endless.

Here are some types of beans you’ll find at your supermarket:

  • Black

Also known as turtle beans, black beans are classic in Latin American cooking. They have a velvety-smooth texture and mild flavor. Because of their dense, meaty texture, they make a great addition to vegetarian dishes.

  • Cannellini

Especially in Italian cookery, these mild, starchy white beans are frequently used in soups and stews.

  • Garbanzo beans

These firm, spherical, nutty-flavored legumes—also referred to as garbanzo beans—are a mainstay in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.

  • Magnificent northern

These big, white beans work well in soups and stews because of their solid structure.

  • Kidney

Kidney beans, so named because of their form, are frequently used in salads and chili. They are available in a multitude of hues and designs, such as mottled, spotted, striped, black, red, purple, and white.

  • lentils

Lentils come in a range of colors, including red, yellow, brown, and black. They are small and lose most of their structure when cooked. They are the primary component in a lot of international recipes.

  • Lima

These beans, sometimes known as butter beans, are rounded and slightly curved, with a creamy texture and buttery flavor. When cooked, they maintain their shape well.

  • Navy

The classic option for baked beans, these tiny white beans cook more quickly than other varieties.

  • Pinto

Small and with a brownish-pink color, pinto beans are commonly used in Mexican and other Latin American cuisine, especially in stews, chiles, and refried beans.

Adding Beans to Your Nutritious Dishes

Although canned beans are more convenient, the texture and flavor of perfectly cooked dried beans are superior. Although each bean keeps its shape, the inside is mushy. Cooking eliminates the natural toxicity found in raw dried beans.

This is how Dry Beans are Cooked:

Arrange a pound of beans on a baking sheet, then make sure to pick out any stones or other debris. To remove any remaining dust, move the beans to a colander. Although it’s not required, presoaking shortens the cooking time and improves the tenderness of the beans.

To Soak Beans in Advance:

  • Overnight

Put the beans in a big saucepan, add water to cover, and leave it overnight. After draining, rinse.

  • Rapid immersion

Place the beans in a pot on the stove, add water to cover, and heat until boiling. After putting the beans to soak for an hour, turn off the heat. After draining, rinse.

To Prepare Beans:

  • Cooktop

Place the beans in a pot on the stove, add water to cover, and heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place a lid on the saucepan. Make sure there is always water on the beans. After an hour, start to assess the beans for softness. A bean’s cooking time can range from one to three hours, depending on its size, age, and type. After draining, rinse.

  • Slow cooker

Add water to the slow cooker with the beans. If the beans are not presoaked, they will cook on high for four to six hours. After draining, rinse.
Your beans are now prepared for use in recipes or freezing. Before freezing, divide the beans into freezer bags or containers, labeling each with the type of bean and the date.

Try this recipe using your preferred type of white bean, such navy, great northern, or cannellini:
Pasta with white beans, mushrooms, and grilled chicken
Yields 6

Two 4-ounce, skinless, boneless chicken breasts
One tablespoon of olive oil
half a cup of finely sliced white onion
One cup of sliced mushrooms
One cup of cooked or canned white beans (without salt added)
two teaspoons of finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup of freshly chopped basil
A 12-oz portion of raw rotelle or rotini pasta
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
ground black pepper according to taste

Start a charcoal grill fire, preheat a gas grill, or turn on a broiler. Cooking spray should be used sparingly on the broiler pan or grill rack when it is not in direct heat. The cooking rack should be placed 4–6 inches away from the heat source. The chicken should be cooked to 165°F and browned after 5 minutes on each side under the grill or broiler. After moving the chicken to a chopping board, let it five minutes to rest before slicing it into strips. Heat the olive oil in a big, nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Saute the onions and mushrooms for around five minutes, or until they are soft. Add the grilled chicken strips, white beans, garlic, and basil and stir. Stay warm.

Pour 3/4 of the water into a big pot and heat it until it boils. After adding the pasta, cook it for 10 to 12 minutes, or as directed on the package, until it is soft. After draining, put the pasta back in the saucepan and stir in the chicken mixture. Toss to ensure even mixing. Pasta should be divided among the dishes. Add a tsp of Parmesan cheese and black pepper to each garnish. Serve right away.

341 calories, 5 grams total fat, 74 milligrams sodium, 53 grams total carbohydrate, 2 grams total sugars, 4 grams fiber, and 21 grams protein are included in the nutrition for a 2 ½-cup meal.

Sanchita Patil

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