Last night I spent some time shelling the beans I grew this year. When I grow my own food, I am MUCH more motivated to make sure I eat it right away. Granted dried beans can last a long time, but there's no way I'm putting these beauties in the back of the pantry to be forgotten about, like I may have done in the past with other legumes.
Legumes, like vegetables, are something that I try to think of creative ways to use. I'm always trying to sneak them into something. They are such a healthy food, loaded with fiber, carbohydrate, protein, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Beans are often on our menu as part of our healthy weight loss program .
I keep pre-cooked beans frozen in 1/2 cup portions in my freezer. I can easily warm them and add them to pasta dishes, green salads, bean soups, fresh salsa, cooked rice, or use them to throw together a quick batch of hummus or bean dip. I also like to puree beans and add them to baked goods. This is a pretty common way to sneak beans into things you would not expect them in. Pureed beans can be added to muffins, brownies, or used to make soup a little creamier. I've even made completely flour-less brownies with beans as the base!
If you don't need to hide beans, this is a great time of year for bean salads. Everyone is familiar with a classic 3 bean salad: green beans, kidney beans and wax beans, but why stop at 3 beans? Chickpeas and black beans added to this combination would make this a much more attractive salad. Some of our most popular bean dishes at Green Mountain at Fox Run are our Zesty Bean and Vegetable Wrap and our Garbanzo, Feta, and Tomato Salad. We also like to make bean cakes as a vegetarian protein for dinner from time to time.
What creative ways do you like to prepare beans?