Is there anything they can't do? Beans lower cholesterol, add nutrients, effortlessly switch places with meat, and even save money.
“Edamame are young soybeans that are a good source of fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and protein. I like to use edamame because they are resilient and hold their color well. They're also healthy and tasty. You can find them frozen and pre-shelled and they work well blanched in salt water, sautéed, used in soups, stews or stir-frys, or roasted in the oven. Whole edamame in the pod can be blanched in salt water, chilled, and then eaten as a snack (alone or with dip).
“I developed a dish called Curried Edamame Beans, which combine blanched edamame beans and red lentils in a skillet along with garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and curry paste. It's finished in the same pan with rice wine vinegar and cream at the end, then seasoned with cilantro and sea salt.
I serve it hot, most often on catering menus, with poultry, seafood or beef. It could also be a vegetarian entrée with the addition of a protein like tofu, tempeh or mock chicken. I've gotten lots of positive comments on this dish.”
Dena Champion, MS, RD, LD
Gwinnett Medical Center
“I can't say enough good things about beans. Adding beans to almost any menu item (like soup) is an easy way to the up the fiber, nutrients and protein.
There are so many health benefits with beans. They are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps with reducing constipation. People always ask me about colon cleansing, and I say the best thing to do is to eat a high-fiber diet and drink lots of water.
Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, and there are many studies going on about its ability to lower blood pressure. Fiber also digests more slowly, making beans a good choice for diabetics and hypoglycemics.
Beans are high in nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, folate and iron, and they're low in fat.
Another benefit of beans is how inexpensive they are. We work with a population that oftentimes doesn't have insurance and definitely doesn't have a lot of money. Beans are something affordable and delicious, too. We serve a pinto beans and rice that's so good.”
David Jensen, Corporate Chef, Iowa Health Systems, Des Moines, IA
“Beans have come a long way. There is so much variety now. Most operators haven't even scratched the surface of how many different varieties of beans are available.
If you have people who don't eat meat, edamame is my first choice to provide variety as a protein.
At the Iowa State Fair, I've done demonstrations featuring ways to use beans. As a hospital, part of our goal is education. When people see the versatility of beans, they break out of their ‘meat and potatoes’ mode. They get excited about other options.
I use edamame to enhance the flavor and texture of Cucumber-Dill Salad, a classic summer-picnic type salad that's popular in Iowa. It originated from settlers with Scandinavian and German roots. I use a prepared cucumber-dill mayonnaise. The unexpected element that adds texture and excitement to my version of the salad is shelled edamame ((a href="/entrees/vegetarian/recipes/iowa-style-edamame-cucumber-0310/">see recipe). The taste reminds me of the freshest baby peas of spring.”
Handling Dry Beans
- Soak dry beans in room-temperature water overnight.
- Split peas and lentils do not require soaking.
- No time to soak? Add dry beans to water, boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then let beans soak for at least one hour but no more than 24 hours.
- Be sure to rinse canned beans. They might have extra sodium.
From Mayo Clinic Recommendations, www.usdrybeans.com