Many of us have dutifully – or should we say obsessively – stocked up on nonperishables (how many cans of beans do we really need), only to succumb to craveable temptations as cookies, chips and dip and ice cream.
Fortunately, these two things – good-for-you nonperishables and splurge-worthy favorites – don’t have to exist independently. But we must think outside of the box (or in this case, the can). Read on for six crazy-delicious recipes that use beans of all types (think red, black and white) to create indulgences like ice cream, cookies, cupcakes, brownies and creamy dips that are actually nutritious, too.
But first, let’s talk about the health benefits of beans:
Beans are a legitimate superfood: The term “superfood” is tossed around blithely, but beans truly qualify. Red beans, for example, have a higher concentration of antioxidants than popular superfoods like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, garlic or almonds.
Packed with protein: Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, with one cup of most beans providing about 15 grams of protein. This is about what you get in 2 ounces of grilled chicken breast.
Electrolyte-rich: With more magnesium and calcium than a sports drink and far more potassium than a medium-sized banana, beans are rich in electrolytes that help prevent or relieve muscle cramping.
Filled with fiber: A single cup of beans packs in more than 15 grams of fiber –more than you’d get in four slices of most brands of whole grain bread. They’re also rich in soluble fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Heart protecting: One cup of beans provides 20% of the daily value for iron and as much as 60% of the daily value for folate, which helps to lower levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Flour replacer: Beans can be used in place of flour in our favorite baked goods by using 1 cup of cooked, pureed beans to replace one cup of flour along with two tablespoons of fat. Tip: Match the bean color to the finished product (e.g. black beans for brownies, kidney beans for red velvet cake, and white beans for chocolate-chip cookies). The nutritional benefits of swapping beans for flour: 50% fewer calories and 4 times more fiber.
Here are six recipes to satisfy any type of craving, from savory to sweet, creamy to chocolatey:
- White Bean Berry Ice Cream
- Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Red Bean Red Velvet Cupcakes
- Black Bean Brownies
- White Bean Hummus
- Mediterranean Tuna White Bean Salad
Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, registered dietitian with Ochsner Health System, manages the nutrition department of Ochsner Fitness Center and is founder of the Ochsner Eat Fit nonprofit restaurant initiative.
Tune in to her podcast, FUELED | Wellness + Nutrition and follow the Eat Fit team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @EatFitNOLA. Looking for healthy recipes? Download the Eat Fit Smartphone app and check out the NEW! Eat Fit Cookbook at www.EatFitCookbook.com
For more details, visit OchsnerEatFit.org