Give beans a chance
In this week's Plant-Powered Protein class, we covered an interesting fact about the typical American diet: it provides twice as much protein as we need, yet only about half as much fiber as is recommended.
Not that I would ever imply that any of you unique snowflakes are typical, but if you are looking to eat healthy amounts of both protein and fiber, beans should definitely be a semi-regular part of your diet. One serving of beans (1/2 cup) provides about 8-10 grams of protein and about 25-35% of your RDA of fiber.
The catch? Many people I know just don't like beans or don't know how to cook them so that they taste good. So today I wanted to cover 4 ways that bean-haters can learn to add a little of this affordable and versatile food group to their diet. If a lentil salad or black bean soup is just not on the menu for you, try one of these clever ways of preparing beans.
1. Roast them.
Chickpeas become a crunchy, salty movie snack when your roast them with salt and oil in the oven at 400 for 45-60 minutes. Use for solo snacking or for adding to salads and bowls. Recipe here.
2. Crisp them in a skillet.
Similar to the roasting method, this technique gives beans texture and crunch. Take cooked green, black, or brown lentils and make sure they are well-drained. Heat a skillet with a drizzle of oil and lightly fry the lentils with salt and spices to make a crunchy protein-rich garnish for soups, avocado toast or kale salads.
3. Blend them into a creamy soup.
White beans take the place of cream or potatoes in any blended soup. Before blending, add 1/2 can of any rinsed and drained white beans and blend away. This sneaky technique works on kids too and has the bonus of making vegetable-based soups more filling.
4. Put them in dessert.
Now this idea sounds the craziest to bean-haters, but that's the genius of it. Soft and creamy black beans have a similar texture to fudgey brownies, so I swap out flour and eggs in a traditional brownie recipe. My students are shocked and delighted every time. Check out my recipe for Black Bean Brownies here.