Since I'm trying to forgo meat I've got to get my protein from somewhere. This is where beans come in and their nutritional profile is pretty impressive. According to The New Becoming Vegetarian: The Essential Guide to a Healthy Vegetarian Diet: The percentage of protein as compared to fat and carbohydrates in beans ranges from about 20% to 33%, with soybeans boasting the highest protein content. In order to put this into perspective lean ground beef has about 37% protein. The kicker is that the fat content in beef is about 63%, and typically less than 5% in most beans. Soybeans are about 40% fat; however, this is non saturated and cholesterol free unlike the fat found in meat. Beans offer a balanced ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates with the addition of fiber that help you feel full and satisfied longer as they help to balance your blood sugar.
Protein and fiber are not the only nutritional boosts you'll get by adding beans to your diet, you'll also get iron and zinc. Vegetarian diets are often criticized for being low in iron, and beans are the key to increasing that iron intake. As an example, a cup of pinto beans has about 4.5 mg of iron and 1.9 mg of zinc. Compare this to 2 oz of ground beef with 1.1 mg of iron and 2.3 mg of zinc. I apologize for throwing all these numbers at you...let's just put it this way...beans are good for you! We all know the old rhyme we used to chant when we were served up a pile of beans, "Beans, beans the musical fruit. The more you eat the more you...." Well, you get the idea. Personally I don't have any problems with canned beans since they are already cooked and then get cooked again when I add them to meals. If you just can't digest your beans without clearing the room, look into buying some Beano from the drugstore. :-P I'll accept no excuses!
So here's the breakdown one of my absolute favorite books gives you, "SuperFoods: HealthStyle" by Steven G. Pratt M.D. and Kathy Matthews
Beans are a source of:
- low-fat protein
- B vitamins
The recipe that I chose for tonight was from a cookbook my friend Danielle let me borrow called Vegetarian Times. On page 274 you'll find Pinto Beans with Vegetables and Red Wine. I chose this because I had half a bottle of Cabernet left over from a housewarming gift my classmate and friend gave me. If I can use things that I already have in my kitchen, then I'll be saving $$$!
|I love my little glass bowls, they make cooking so neat and organized!|
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 large carrot, sliced into rounds
1/2 large potato, cubed
1 cup water
1 1/2 TBSP tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 can low sodium pinto beans, rinsed
2 cloves of garlic, minced, separated
kosher salt to taste
1/4 pound white mushrooms (4 oz), sliced
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the onions until they begin to soften, and then add 1/4 cup of water.
- Once the onions are translucent, add the carrot, potato, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf and one cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to allow it to simmer until the potatoes and carrots are cooked. About 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add additional water as needed to keep vegetables covered.
- After 20 minutes add the wine, beans, garlic and salt. Return to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms with the other half of the garlic in some olive oil until they are cooked. Add the mushrooms to the beans and veggies. You can serve it now or allow it to simmer a little longer and reduce down. Make sure your carrots and potatoes are nice and soft!
|My mini herb garden in my kitchen.|
|Dried thyme I made with the lemon thyme plant (far left). |
|Simmering the beans and wine while cooking the mushrooms.|
|The finished product...too bad I didn't have anything to garnish it with!|