Beans are nutritional powerhouses.
Not only are they a great, lean source of vegetarian protein, but they provide a myriad of health benefits, and they fit into several different food groups:
They’re rich in complex carbs like whole grains…
They’re full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like veggies…
and They’re high in protein like meat
I literally try to eat beans once a day in some form or another, because of 5 reasons:
#1 | They’re Heart Healthy. The high amounts of soluble fiber in beans help lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Side note: If you are using canned beans, rinse them in water before using them to eliminate 40% of the sodium (or buy a low-sodium variety like Eden Organic)
#2 | They’re a Lean Protein. Beans have only 2-3% fat (lower than meat), but 7g protein for every 1/2 cup serving (the same amount as 1oz of meat)
#3 | They balance blood sugar and help you lose weight. Thanks to their low glycemic index (because of their complex carbs + protein), beans are digested slowly which helps keep blood glucose stable. Additionally, their high fiber + water content keeps you feeling full without being high in calories.
#4 | They Keep Things Moving. Filled with fiber, beans can promote regularity and help keep tummy troubles away.
#5 | They are Easy, Cheap and Versatile. Beans come canned, frozen, or dry – so they are a breeze to purchase, prepare and store. They’re also the least expensive source of protein out there (especially when compared to fresh meat!). Lastly, they can be used in just about any dish. They can be incorporated into a main (soups, chili), a side (salads), an appetizer (bean dip), or a snack (roasted chickpeas). And there are so many varieties: kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, split peas and lentils to name a few 🙂
This soup was the perfect opportunity to use white beans in our dinner tonight. It’s rich, hearty, and super flavorful: thick and chunky, with oozing cheese and al dente pasta as toppings. The husband and Layla couldn’t get enough of it!
- 3 15oz cans navy beans
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
- 3/4 tsp salt (or 1 tsp if you need a little more salt)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (more to taste if needed)
- 1/2 cup dried small pasta shells
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese (2 tbsp per serving, about 1 cup total)
Step 1: Chop all of your ingredients (onions, carrots, celery, herbs)
Step 2: Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic, cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion is softened and begins to caramelize.
Step 3: Add the parsley, beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the beans soften.
Step 4: While the soup is simmering, cook your pasta until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
Step 5: Blend the soup partially with an immersion blender until the soup is chunky but not completely pureed. Mine looked like this when it was ready.
Step 6: Divide the soup into bowls and add 1-2 tbsp of cooked pasta and 1-2 tbsp of parmesan cheese to each. Eat and enjoy!