Friday, November 15, 2013

Beans, Beans, Beans

We've been eating a lot of beans recently.

'Bean.' photo (c) 2007, Linus Bohman - license:

For two reasons.  First of all, because I am trying to keep my protein intake high every day, due to my pregnancy.  Secondly, in light of our move, I am trying to use up what we have in our pantry, so that we don't have to move or giveaway too much food.  And what do we have a lot of in our pantry?  Twenty five pound bags of dry beans, because they are so inexpensive to buy in bulk (and last just about forever).

Of course there are the normal bean recipes, like anything mexican, black bean soup, chili, beans and rice etc.  And I have been making these things a lot.  But finding recipes that involve beans can be a bit limiting, so I have been branching out and trying to be creative.  I have found some unusual bean recipes (you wouldn't guess that they call for beans!) and found ways to incorporate beans into things that I usually make without them.

Here are some recipes I have discovered, and other ways to incorporate beans into every (yes, every!) meal of the day:

White bean sauce- You HAVE to try this one!  It tastes pretty much like alfredo sauce, but has a lot more protein.  Definitely blend the sauce so that it is smooth (recipe says blending is optional).  Mozzarella gives the most Italian like flavor to this sauce (I made it this way the other day and served it with shrimp and pasta, topped with parsley and parmesan), but experiment with different cheeses depending on how you are serving it (for example, sometimes I make it with cheddar and serve it with chicken and rice).

Egg burrito- Scramble an egg or two with a handful of pinto or black beans.  Serve on a tortilla with salsa and avocado.

Beans in your smoothie- Add a small handful of beans to any smoothie.  You wont taste it at all after you blend it.  I recommend using a soft bean for this, such as pinto or white beans.

Chocolate pumpkin white bean muffins - I made the second of the two recipes in this blog, so I can only vouch for that one, but Esther and I gobbled them down (Alex thought they were ok, but he doesn't really like any muffins.)  It called for a full 4 cups of beans- yes!!  Bonus (for us) is that the recipe also called for oats, another items we have a ton of right now.

Bean burgers/meatloaf- Add 1/2 to 1 cup of beans to your burger or meat loaf recipe (I usually do them in place of bread crumbs).  Make sure to chop the beans in a food processor first (I usually chop the veggies that I use for burgers or meatloaf first, and then add the beans and process for a bit longer before adding the spices and meat).  Another idea that a friend suggested was trying to make a homemade veggie burger (I don't have a recipe but I'm sure there are many online).  I haven't tried it, but if you know a good one, please link in the comments!

Hummus - Most bean haters still love hummus and don't realize that it is basically bean paste.  Hummus is a great snacky item to keep on hand.  I usually ferment it for the added benefit of probiotics.

As I mentioned in my protein blog, two dessert recipes that we like that use beans are Silky Smooth Bean Fudge and Black Bean Brownies.

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