Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ode To The Bean: My Favorite Cheap Vegan Meal

Ktrion and L* are in the process of creating a postcolonial cookbook. On Ktrion's blog there is a recipe list and photo of their very own chile bean dish that's enough to make any meat-eater forget the fact that it's a vegetarian dish. Unfortunately, I happened to see her "You Should Blog More About Our Food" post at 4:30a.m. when it was just impossible for me to get in the kitchen and give it a try. I always seem to get my biggest cravings between three and five O'clock in the morning. Drats!

She also gives a nice shout out to the best of all beans, the small red bean, pointing out that it is the top food source of antioxidants. While it may hold the top spot in the antioxidant category, when it comes to taste, my number one personal favorite in the bean category goes to the kidney bean. And they place rather high in the other category too.

Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) per serving size
1. Small Red Bean (dried)
half cup
TAC: 13727
2. Wild blueberry
1 cup
TAC: 13427
3. Red kidney bean (dried)
Half cup
TAC: 13259
4. Pinto bean
Half cup
TAC: 11864
5. Blueberry (cultivated)
1 cup
TAC: 9019

Red beans, red beans, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

You know, the fact that red beans are inexpensive and very nutritious explains why they play such a significant role in Cajun/Creole cooking down here in Louisiana.

A pound of kidney beans, a bay leaf or two, a peeled whole onion, and a few dashes of salt, pepper, garlic powder/flakes and paprika (or substitute any seasoning blend you prefer) and you have a wonderfully tasty vegan meal that can feed an entire family of four for under five bucks. Of course, you could get jiggy with it and cut up a celery stalk and a bit of green onions and add a couple teaspoons of lemon juice if you have a few more bucks to spare. Put it all over a scoop of rice and you have a meal fit for a king.

Most people are used to eating red beans with sausage and I won't lie and say that it isn't my favorite way to enjoy it. However, if you need a filling meal and you don't have a lot of loot or you just don't care for the taste of flesh--cuz let's not kid ourselves here, that's what meat really is--then red beans are always a good choice.

Bean Facts:

1. Beans are an excellent, non-fat source of protein. Just one cup of beans provides as much as 16 grams of protein. Adults generally need to eat between 50-60 grams of protein a day.

2. Beans are loaded with complex carbohydrates - the nutrient that provides energy to the muscles and brain. Just one cup of beans can provide 15 percent of the carbohydrates needed daily.

3. Beans are one of the best sources of dietary fiber, containing both insoluble and soluble fiber. Studies link high fiber diets to reduced cholesterol levels and lowered cancer risks.

4. Beans contain an abundance of potassium, which may help reduce your risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Just one-half cup of cooked dry beans contains as much as 480 mg of potassium.

5. Dry beans are the best source of folate. Eating one cup of cooked dry beans provides, on average, 264 mcg of folate.

6. A recent study by Tulane University in New Orleans found that people who ate beans at least four times a week were 19 percent less prone to heart disease than those who ate beans once a week. The study also revealed that bean eaters lowered their overall risk of cardiovascular disease by nine percent.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and The German's mother (Martha Stewart ain't got nothing on Momma!) is treating the whole family to a nice feast that is sure to include a big pot of yummy red beans. Maybe I'll even take a few photos of the food just to rub it in for all you folks who won't be "eatin' good" like us this year. Hehehe!! Bon apetit!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I've been turned off to beans since my kidhood when red beans & rice stank up the whole house for days with their cooking. I think it was the meat that was thrown in the pot, but something smelled like it keeled over and died.

I want to eat beans and I want to like beans, but I'm still a little nervous about them. I'm bookmarking this post.

Ktrion said...


yummy yummy! we want to see them!

Ktrion wants to point out that her dad is among the unhealthy bean eaters of the world, since he prefers them with bacon grease or manteca (lard).

I would like to learn how to cook black beans. The Miami girls and su mamí make the best black beans. Rich and creamy. Here in the bay area, if we order a veggie burrito with black beans, it's always a little more "hard core" than the "melt-in-you-mouth" pinto beans. So, while I think of black beans as "healthy" I don't think of them as "luscious"