Have You Given Dry Beans And Lentils a Place In Your Cooking?

by Susanne M.

Now is the perfect time to give beans and other legumes another try. They are convenient, inexpensive and provide your body with plenty of protein. If you’re not yet tempted to put a pot of beans on the stove, keep reading for some good reasons why cooking with beans, dry peas, and lentils is a good idea.

Beans Are Inexpensive

Here’s my favorite reason to cook with beans… it is really inexpensive to do. I can buy enough beans to cook three meals for my family for under two dollars. I like to buy beans at my local costco or a mexican supermarket by the way. They are usually quite a bit cheaper and I get a larger variety than what my regular grocery store has to offer.

Beans are a good substitution for meat in a meal. You can use more beans and less (or no) meat in casseroles and chilies and even tacos and burritos. I also like to add them to pasta sauces. Of course there are also all kinds of beans and rice dishes which make great side dishes and even main courses. Cooking more beans and less meat will help you feed your family for less.

Beans Are Good For Your Health

Beans have quite a few health benefits. Obviously they have a lot of protein and fiber. The fiber is what makes them good for your heart since it helps your body remove bad cholesterol. The protein is needed both to maintain muscle mass and to provide energy to your body.

You will also be pleased to hear that beans will help you prevent and fight cancer. For those of us with diabetes it is important to know that beans can help our body use insulin more effectively by creating more receptor sites. What a great reason to eat more beans.

They Are Delicious

You can make all kinds of different dishes with beans since they lend themselves to different flavors. You can make spicy chili dishes or mild beans and rice. Then there’s beans soups that taste almost sweet, smoky black beans with cumin and exotic dahl dishes made with middle eastern spices. Add some lentils or beans to your pasta sauce sometime for a yummy dish that’s also good for your waist line.

I love beans as a side dish. Just cook them and add some salt and pepper or your favorite spices. Then of course there are dips. You can turn anything from various varieties of beans (like pintos, black beans, kidney beans etc) to lentils and peas (especially chick peas) into delicious dips. Serve them with raw veggies, crackers, chips or pita bread for a healthy snack.

Reason 4 – It’s Fast and Simple

Let me explain why I think beans are quick and easy. Yes, you do have to cook some of them for quite some time (don’t bother with the pre-soaking by the way. They will cook just fine without), but the good thing is that you don’t have to hang around. Just let them simmer at the back of your stove. You can also cook them in your slow cooker. I like to start mine in the morning on low. By dinner time they are nice and tender and ready to eat.

The other thing I love about beans is how easy they are to store. I put mine in freezer bags or tupperware type containers. You can keep them in your refrigerator for a few days or freeze them up to a month. Just thaw them on the counter, or put them in your microwave to thaw and heat them.

I encourage you to give beans another try if you haven’t been a big fan so far. Just try a few different bean recipes. Even if you don’t like the first one, there is just the right one out there for you and your family.

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