Beans, Beans, Beans, The More You Eat…

The better your chances of living longer! Research supports that good things happen to your health when you have more beans in your diet. When you combine a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds with beans, you can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. That’s pretty amazing. Beans are low in fat, have no cholesterol and are high in fiber and protein too. If you look at the diets of people around the world who live much longer than the average (also known as “blue zones”), beans are a staple in their diet. See our resources at the end of this post to learn more.

We hope you explore more ways to eat your beans. There are so many recipes out there. You can try sautéed beans with eggs for breakfast, chili for lunch or bean casserole for dinner. Experiment with different varieties, such as adzuki bean in soups, edamame as a snack or mix it up with fava bean pasta! We love to roast chickpeas with a little garlic powder and salt as a quick snack. With the holidays fast approaching, serve up this crowd-pleasing Cannellini Bean Casserole. Plant-based eaters and meat eaters will fall in love this dish. Enjoy!

Cannellini Bean Casserole

Ingredients

1¼ to 1¾ cups (300 to 420 ml) cold almond milk (or other milk of your choice)

2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil

4 tablespoons butter or vegan butter, divided

3 leeks, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon chives

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

3 cans white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup vegetable broth

½ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided

Salt and pepper

Method

1.      Preheat oven to 350 F

2.      Place oil and 1 tablespoon of butter into a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

3.      Add the thyme, chives, and bay leaf, and cook another 4 minutes.

4.      Stir in the beans, broth and ¼ cup of the breadcrumbs.

5.      Simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6.      Season with salt and pepper.

7.      While vegetables are cooking, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and toss with the remaining ¼ cup of breadcrumbs. Set aside.

8.      Pour the bean mixture into a 13X9 baking dish and remove the bay leaf.

9.      Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

10.   Remove foil and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture

11.   Continue cooking until the top is golden, about 5 more minutes.

12.   Serve hot with a side salad.

Recipe adapted from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook.

Resources:

Blue Zones (2016): https://www.bluezones.com/2016/06/10-things-about-beans/

CDC (2016): https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html

Journal of Clinical Diabetes (2015): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4608274/

Mayo Clinic (2017): https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/legumes/art-20044278

Megan Aronson