Meatless Monday: Beans, Beans Good For Your Heart

Beans definitely live up to their name as the magical fruit, but not for the reasons you may think.  Packed with antioxidants, protein and fiber, these small nutritional legumes are surprisingly absent from most Americans’ diets, even though they are an extremely filling, low-calorie food that can help prevent heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

As an occasional fish eater (but mostly vegetarian), I have to be especially diligent about getting my iron.  Beans offer the perfect solution with minimal work.  The healthiest way to prepare any type of bean – from pinto to black – is to get organic dried beans and cook them yourself.  The vast majority of canned beans are spiked with the hormonal disrupter BPA, which lines the inside of metal cans, so I bypass this chemical soup by soaking beans overnight and simmering them the next day.

Ready to stir up a pot of beans this Meatless Monday?  See my recipe below and soon you’ll be singing the praises of this unassuming powerfood.

Greenista’s Bean Duo Salad
Serves 4-6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 75 minutes

Ingredients

4 large fistfuls of whatever beans you choose (beans roughly double in size when cooked, so adjust as needed).  I like to mix pinto and black beans I purchase from the bulk bins at Rainbow Grocery.

3 cloves of garlic

2 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes

¾ large red onion

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil and vinegar to taste

1 fresh bunch of cilantro

2-3 pinches of cumin to taste

Recipe Instructions

Soak beans overnight for 8-10 hours in a large bowl.  Make sure water is 2-3 inches above the beans and cover with a tea towel.

The next morning, pour out water and rinse soaked beans 2 times.  Place beans in a cooking pot and pour in fresh water, making sure water level is about 3-4 inches above beans.  Throw in 3 peeled cloves of garlic and drizzle in about a teaspoon of olive oil.

Bring water to a boil. Once it begins to boil, lower heat to simmering and let cook for 60–90 minutes, depending on the type of bean you have chosen. Sprinkle in about ½ teaspoon of salt 40 minutes into cooking the beans.

After 60 minutes, check beans for doneness.  In her book Super Natural Every Day, Heidi Swanson recommends tasting 4 or 5 beans, instead of just one, to see if they are fully cooked.  This method really works for me and I recommend it.

While beans are cooling, chop up heirloom tomatoes, onion and cilantro.  I also take out the garlic that was cooking with the beans, mash it up and mix it back into the beans.

Combine all ingredients and drizzle olive oil, vinegar, sea salt, pepper and cumin to taste.

Store in fridge for 2-5 days.

**With the weather turning cold, I also cook up some fair-trade quinoa or brown rice to warm up the meal and add the Greenista Bean Duo Salad on top.

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