Photo credit @klararisbergcooks
Beans don’t need to be boring or come in a can covered in sauce. Beans are a cupboard staple because they are so versatile and healthy. If you’ve only tried the canned variety, we’re here to convince you that you’re missing out on the true bean flavours that’s both good for your gut and the planet.
Beans are one of the best sources of protein and are low in calories so they’ll keep you feeling fuller for longer. Beans also increase the bacteria in your gut. A good mix of gut bacteria helps you digest food, boosts your immune system and reduces your risk of diseases like diabetes.
Did you know that beans are also good for the planet? When they grow, beans release nitrates into the soil, which helps with soil health and growth of other food in the fields. Beans are a staple part of regenerative farming. So if you’re not including beans in your diet, here are seven to try.
Best beans for your diet
Chickpeas are one of the most versatile beans. Creating hummus, falafel, and mouthwatering when roasted up and tossed on a salad. Chickpeas are rich in protein and fibre and are scientifically proven to reduce blood sugars.
Chickpeas taste great in Moroccan tagine or in a flavourful curry or side such as chana masala. Serve cooked and naked over your salad for a nutty taste.
Another popular bean choice. This bright red bean is jammed full of vitamins and minerals, including iron. So adding some kidney beans to your meals will give you an energy boost.
Of course, kidney beans go great in a hot chilli and served up with rice. They can also be served up in Pasta e Fagioli, an Italian soup with pasta and kidney beans that’s warm and filling.
These large creamy beans look like a big brother of haricot beans. Packed full of protein and carbs but low in fat, butter beans add a richness to dishes. Get some Greek inspo with a healthy serving of gigantes plaki served on freshly toasted sourdough for a quick lunch.
The soy bean is a great example of how flexible a bean can be. You’ll see the humble soy bean made into tofu, tempeh, milk, soy sauce, textured vegetable protein and more. Soy beans are packed full of calcium and you don’t need to eat the processed version to eat this tasty bean.
Edemame is another name for fresh soy beans. Pop them like peas straight from their pod for a fresh and crisp taste. In the form of tofu, they can create both sweet and savoury dishes.
Red, green or Puy, lentils are part of the bean-family. These are packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals that you need to boost your immune system. Adding lentils to your diet will help stave off your colds in winter.
Lentils taste great as part of salads, curries and a traditional dhal. These nutty little legumes will pack you full of energy without the extra calories.
Black beans are small but mighty and add a burst of colour to your food. Often black, blue or purple when you cook them, these are a great addition to a rainbow salad or Bhudda bowls. Like other beans, black beans are packed full of vitamins and minerals to keep your hair and skin healthy.
Black beans are great in one pots like chilli or curries. Some of that great comfort food to get you through the winter months.
Dried or canned?
The great bean debate is whether it’s better to have dried or canned beans. Of course the canned variety is much quicker to make and cook. However, we think that you’ll get a better flavour if you invest some time in the dried variety.
While soaking your beans takes some time, if you have a slow cooker, you can chuck them in there during the day. There’s no last minute planning with dried beans but if you know what you want the day before, you can stick them in water to soak overnight.
As with any food, the fresher the dried beans, the better.
Lentils don’t need soaking, which makes them a good quick alternative. If you prefer the time saving of cans, then chickpeas and butter beans are your best options.
Beans are bursting with goodness for a healthy diet and are one of the best foods to grow for soil health. We’re huge supporters of regenerative farming at On The Table so love experimenting with new ways to include beans in our recipes.
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