What’s so great about beans? (+Jambalaya Hummus!)

This is a guest post by Holly Larson, RD an Ohio dietitian and friend of WhyFoodWorks, in which she extolls the benefits of beans.  (If I have anything to say about it, she will someday have a product line called Holly’s Hummus!)

Holly says:

I love beans. Why? Let me count the reasons: they’re loaded with fiber and protein, they’re inexpensive, they’re kind to the environment and can be fixed a million delicious ways. The majority of Americans are sadly deficient in their fiber, getting only about 12g a day while the recommendation stands at at least 25g – for a small woman! Getting a fiber boost will increase your satiety, prevent constipation and can lead to weight loss, and a half cup of beans has about 6g.

The least expensive way to buy beans is dried – your slow cooker can be your new best friend for food prep: toss some beans in there with double the amount of water and turn it on to low. When you get home from work, the beans will be perfectly cooked and you kitchen won’t have burned down. You can also buy beans in the can – look for low-sodium if you can and rinse off the water that they’re packed in to reduce sodium.

And about that…er…musical fruit (the more you eat the more you….you know)? It is common to experience excess gas when increasing fiber. It isn’t permanent. Rinsing off cooking water can help, and not increasing your bean intake too fast will also help.

Now, too many people think that they don’t love beans. Give ’em a try. Hummus is a great gateway bean recipe – it is loaded with flavor and can serve as a dip your favorite veggie or whole-grain cracker. You can even spread in on your sandwich bread in place of mayo.

Jambalaya Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil, divided
  • 1-2 teaspoon Cajun spice blend
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a skillet, saute the veggies and garlic in one tablespoon of olive oil until softened.
  2. In a food processor or powerful blender, add the garbanzo beans, sauteed veggies, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, tomato paste and Cajun spice blend (start with one teaspoon and check the heat level). Add 1/4 cup of water and blend for a full minute. If you’d like the hummus to be thinner, add a bit more water and blend. Check seasoning level – add salt and pepper if you wish, and more Cajun spice if you want more heat.

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