Beans are a versatile and nutrient dense plant-based protein. They’re often not recognized for their health benefits, but beans can help lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Each variety of bean is high in fiber and helps support the beneficial bacteria in your gut. It’s always important to drain and rinse canned beans. This can help reduce the sodium content by about 25 percent of what’s listed on the nutrition label.
If you’re like most people, you might have stocked up on canned beans for the fall and winter. Perhaps you still have some lingering from last year. The reality with beans is they need spices and special prep so they can taste great. Here are three ways to transform a simple can of beans into the highlight of your meal.
- Roasted beans have a crunchy nutty flavor. They are a great snack, salad topper or side dish. Rinse, drain and thoroughly pat dry a can of beans. Then spread the beans on a rimmed sheet pan. Toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin. Roast at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the beans are browned on the edges.
- Pan fried. Canned beans can be crispy and flavorful when fried in a skillet or sauté pan. Much like roasting, an important step is rinsing, draining and patting dry to remove moisture. Heat a skillet to medium high heat with a thin layer of olive oil. Then add beans in one layer so they are all touching the bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Brown all sides then add garlic powder, oregano and paprika. Fry for one more minute to brown spices. These are a perfect addition to a grain bowl, baked sweet potato or taco topping.
- Make a dip. As always rinse and drain your canned beans then add them to a food processor with olive oil, your favorite spices and lemon juice. Making your own hummus or bean dip is an excellent spread for a sandwich, salad or mixed in with wholesome grains for a hearty meal.