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  • Eating on the Cheap: Bean Cuisine

  • The Versatile Bean

    Beans are as convenient and versatile as they are healthy. Beans can be used in countless main dishes, side dishes and appetizers, from burritos, casseroles, pasta dishes, stews and soups to spreads and salads. Each type of bean has a delicious flavor all its own, yet their flavors are easily enhanced with seasonings and other recipe ingredients. Bean dishes can be prepared ahead of time and frozen and reheated in the microwave for future dinners or brown-bag lunches.bag of beans

    Beans are most commonly available canned or dry; either variety has its advantages. Canned beans can be used right away (after rinsing and draining) for last-minute meals. Dry beans require soaking and cooking but tend to be less expensive and a bit tastier than their canned counterparts. Many canned beans come in organic and low-sodium varieties. Hundreds of varieties of canned and dry beans can be found in your local grocery store and can be kept on hand in your cupboard.

    We might as well spill the beans: inexpensive, convenient, versatile and delicious, beans are, quite possibly, one of the world's most perfect foods!

     

    Lean 'n Mean Bean Recipe Ideas

    • bean stewTry a breakfast burrito to start your day.
    • For a light and healthy brown-bag lunch, whip up a chick pea hummus and pack with crackers or pita chips and baby carrots, celery or sliced cucumbers.
    • Delicious spreads can be made from practically any kind of bean. Just puree in a food processor or blender and add a little oil and seasoning.
    • Bring black bean and corn wonton cups to your next potluck.
    • For a yummy appetizer, spread a thin layer of chick pea hummus on a flour tortilla, add chopped ham and chopped black olives. Roll it up and chill an hour, then slice into rounds, arrange on a plate and serve to guests.
    • Make your next cookout a little healthier with our heart healthy baked beans.
    • Pair black bean, barley and greens soup with some crusty bread for a warm and satisfying dinner on a chilly evening.
    • For a colorful and nutritious main dish, try spinach, beans and whole wheat pasta.