Easy Sneaky BeansNov 21, 2023
Beans are having a moment. It seems silly to say that, when legumes have been a staple in human diets for more than 10 000 years. But at least according to my social media, legumes have stepped into the limelight!
There’s a million ways and reasons to get legumes into your diet; they’re rich in health-promoting fiber, satisfying, affordable, sustainable, immune boosting and delicious! Whether enjoying recipes you grew up with or trying new-to-you techniques and recipes, beans and lentils offer endless variety.
As a long time bean lover, I’ve recently been making a concerted effort to eat legumes every day, which has tested my creativity in the kitchen! As well as enjoying them in a starring role, I’ve been experimenting with ‘sneaky beans’; adding beans in unexpected places where they amp up the nutrient density and staying power of the meal. I especially like the mild flavor and texture of white beans and chickpeas for this purpose. Here’s a few faves in rotation in my kitchen.
Creamy Bean Sauce: white beans (aka cannellini beans) have a very mild flavor and soft texture. Puree a can of white beans in the blender with some stock or olive oil, and add in flavors to make a velvety, flavourful sauce for your fave pasta or veggies. Especially delish: harissa and sundried tomatoes for a zesty pink sauce. Store-bought pesto also works great!
‘Chuna’ Salad: I saw this one on tiktok and was immediately converted - I make it almost every week. Mash up a can of chickpeas with a fork or potato masher (I use a pastry cutting tool!) so they are squished but still have a little texture. Then use as the ‘tuna’ in your favorite tuna salad recipe: I love a classic with mayo and dill pickles, but upscale with capers and fresh herbs is also fantastic. Great in a sandwich or on top of greens with some crackers.
“Souper” Beans: heat and serve soups are great emergency meals. Shelf-stable tetrapaks of tomato, squash or veggie soup can go from pantry to plate in a few minutes. Adding a can of beans turns soup into a meal that will really satisfy. Chickpeas in tomato soup with a sprinkle of cheddar on top, or butternut squash with black beans and a drizzle of yogurt are filling, comforting and literally less than 5 minutes to make.
Do you have favorite ‘sneaky beans’ or other quick and easy ways to get more legumes in your meals? Are you a fan of black bean brownies?!
Sneak some beans in!