Beans: beyond tooting

Beans.  Somehow these nutritional powerhouses got shortchanged when it came to marketing.  What other food item's primary claim to fame is making people fart?

If you've avoided beans for, ahem, digestive reasons, you may want to rethink your decision, because beans have many nutritional virtues.  Also known as legumes to the stylish set, beans are a great source of fiber.  (Depending on the bean, they pack between 11 and 15 grams of fiber in a single cup).  They are also high in protein, high in iron, and low in fat.

Though I sometimes make salsas with black beans, I love serving Canellini beans as a side dish.  Canellini beans have a mild flavor and aren't as dry as some other beans.  They also lend us weary and lazy chefs a quick, fresh, and different way to load up the plates, as a spoonful of beans is a nice substitute for rice, couscous, quinoa, or potatoes.

Here's how I like to cook them.  If you have 5 minutes, you can do it, too:

Rosemary-Canellini Beans:

  1. Select a can of Canellini beans at the grocery store.  Choose low sodium if you can
  2. Drain and rinse beans, but reserve some juice.  (Keep about 1/3 of the can)
  3. Finely chop one half of a medium sized yellow onion and 2 garlic cloves
  4. Chop fresh rosemary from your garden if possible.  Otherwise, crush dried rosemary
  5. Add olive oil and fresh, cracked pepper to a medium sized saute pan
  6. Over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic until soft.  Add rosemary
  7. Add Canellini beans and reserved juice and cook down until juice is thick
  8. Pair with chicken or fish

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