Benefits of Beans + Easy Three Bean Salad
Beans and lentils are super food and part of the Mediterranean diet. Not only are they packed with healthy nutrients, but they also are very versatile and high in fiber. It is important though to remember that some people are allergic/sensitive to some beans. The two main legumes that a lot of people react to are, soy and peanuts (yes, peanut is part of the legume family). It’s not uncommon that a person who reacts to one kind of bean, may also be sensitive/allergic to another kind. People with IBS can also sometimes find it hard to digest legumes. I know personally I am sensitive to kidney, Lima and soy beans. I can eat all the other beans and lentils moderately. Usually my body will tell me when I’ve had enough (I have to just stop long enough to listen). With all this in mind, beans really are good for us and I love how I can create variety in flavors and dishes with them.
Fiber and Protein
Beans are really high in fiber. This is why replacing occasionally, meat with beans is good for the health. Fiber helps to lower sugar levels as well as promoting healthy heart health (remember your three H’s 😉 ). If you choose to go meatless by substituting with beans, just add either grains, seeds, nuts or dairy and you will have, what is called a complete protein. Example to that is eating beans and rice or hummus with bread.
Gut and Inflammation
Unless you suffer from IBS and other diagnosis which prevents you from eating beans, they are actually really good for gut health. According to research done in 2017, in particularly black and navy beans showed some major improvement of the intestinal environment by increasing good bacteria. Beans have high amounts of antioxidants which helps with controlling inflammation. Studies have also found that eating beans can lower the risk for some types of cancers.
Low in Fat and Helpful With Weight-loss
Beans really are good choice for those who are looking to shed some weight. One of the reasons is that beans are real filling. Beans have no cholesterol (unless you add fat, like some canned beans contain lard) and hardly any fat (not worth mentioning of). Basically because of the high fiber, high protein content and the ability to slowdown the sugar in the blood, which are all essential in weight loss, makes these babies champions in healthy eating.
It’s really easy to summarize the benefits of beans, they are inexpensive, filling and health promoting food choice. It can’t get better than that, unless you add some olive oil, garlic and few other healthy things, that’s when you get SUPER HERO FOOD!
This recipe below is real easy and quick. I like to use fresh herbs a lot, like the parsley in this salad. I always try to keep fresh garlic on hand (counter works great-away from sun). Leeks might be a new experience for you if you haven’t had it before. Leeks is like a mild green onion, but crunchier and firmer (If you need to, feel free to substitute leeks with green onions). This is a little tangy salad with a gentle kick (not spicy) from the flavors of garlic and onions.
*Optional: If you don’t have lemon on hand pull, out a cube of lemon from the freezer and let it thaw for few minutes and just add. 1-2 cubes should be enough.
Maria’s Easy Three Bean Salad
Yield: 6 Cups Prep Time: 15 min
3 Cans or 5 1/4 C Cooked Beans – Choose any variety you like: White/Black/Garbanzo/Kidney/Navy
1/3 Cup Chopped Sweet Yellow Onion
1/2 Cup Sliced (Chopped) Leeks
1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
2-3 Fresh Pressed Garlic Cloves
1 Lemon (Juice)
1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1/2/-1 Tablespoon Mint Flakes
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt (Less or more. According to your liking)
Prepare your beans; If you are using canned beans, open and rinse them under cold water gently. If you have cooked your (dry) beans, make sure they have cooled off. In a salad bowl (Minimum 1.5 quart/1.15 liter) add your beans, your chopped sweet onion (I like to use the greater amount of onion and garlic) and freshly pressed garlic. Chop parsley and garlic and add to your beans. Mix it gently. Now pour the olive oil over the salad (Feel free to use more olive oil, I DO!). Press the juice of one whole lemon and add the juice to your salad. Finally add your dry seasonings, salt (start with less and add if you need more ,*sometimes canned beans have high sodium), cayenne and mint flakes. Gently mix your salad and serve.
*This particular salad actually tastes even better the next day, after all the flavors have soaked in.
This salad goes well with everything as a side dish. On days that I am really busy and I need a quick lunch or even dinner, I’ll pull out some of my marinaded-cooked-frozen chicken , prepare it properly and serve it with a cup of this salad. All our kids love this side dish. Actually It’s really easy to over eat it.
Please give some feedback after you’ve tried it. Always appreciate hearing from you!