Katie’s Healthy Bites: Beans, Beans, Good for Your Heart

by in Healthy Recipes, Healthy Tips, July 12, 2009

Beans might get a bad rap, but all rhymes aside, they’re extremely good for you! An excellent source of complex carbs, protein and fiber, beans are also chock full of vitamins and minerals (calcium, potassium, B6 and folate to name a few), and go great in many dishes. Here are a couple summer recipes to try.

Though it’s healthiest to cook beans from their dry state, doing that can take a long time. A time-saving tip: Cook beans in bulk and use them in various recipes throughout the week. I always keep some canned beans on hand for those last-minute recipe revelations.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking — they’re good for you, but what about the unpleasant side effects? Try adding a piece of kombu (seaweed) to your cooking water to reduce that gassy side effect. It helps make the beans more digestible!

Here are some dishes that featuring white beans (cannellini):

Pesto White Bean Dip
Servings: 4 (1/2 cup)

2 cups of white beans (or 1 can)
1-2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought pesto
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. You can make it as chunky or creamy as you like. Serve with fresh, local veggies!

Nutrition Info:
Calories: 75; Protein: 4.5 grams; Carbohydrates: 11 grams; Fat: 1.6 grams; Saturated Fat: .5 grams; Cholesterol: .5 milligrams; Sodium: 115 milligrams; Fiber: 3 grams

Shrimp with White Beans
Servings: 4

2 cups cannellini beans (or 1 can)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bunch asparagus (cut into 1- or 2-inch pieces, discard woody ends)
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp, season with salt and cook for about 1 minute, tossing frequently. Remove the shrimp with tongs into a bowl. Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the cooked beans, tomato and basil and stir briefly. Cook together for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp. Toss well, and cook briefly to reheat the shrimp. Serve with parsley as a garnish.

Nutrition Info:
Calories: 321; Protein: 34 grams; Carbohydrates: 30 grams; Fat: 7 grams; Saturated Fat: 1.25 grams; Cholesterol: 172 milligrams; Sodium: 313 milligrams; Fiber: 8 grams

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, owns HealthyBites, LLC and is a finalist on The Next Food Network Star.

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Comments (12)

  1. Rachel says:

    Do you have baking recipes that use beans?

  2. thefensk says:

    Don't forget that soaked dried beans cook very quickly in a pressure cooker! You can soak them all day while you are at work … then when you get home they pressure cook them in a very short time, and they taste like they cooked for HOURS.

  3. thefensk says:

    Don't forget that soaked dried beans cook very quickly in a pressure cooker! You can soak them all day while you are at work … then when you get home pressure cook them in a very short time, and they taste like they cooked for HOURS.

  4. Abbey says:

    Hi Katie!
    I was bummed you went home last week on NFNS. I really liked your personality. Anywho, I love your website! It has awesome recipes. The pesto white bean dip looks yummy! I am 11 years old and am very inspired by your healthy cooking. Thanks a lot!

  5. shannon says:

    The pesto white bean dip sounds fabulous!

  6. Erica says:

    Love beans! I eat them almost on a daily basis. My favorite recipe- easy sloppy janes (i.e. red bean version of sloppy joes): http://itzyskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/08/fast-slo

    I love this blog Katie!!

  7. jill says:

    Does anyone know if people with soy allegies can eat beans and othe legumes?

  8. Bruce says:

    A quick, low-fat alternative to refried beans is to combine a can of drained black beans with some jarred salsa, garlic powder, and cumin and heat slowly in a saucepan. It will cook down into a thick mixture that can be thiinned with more salsa or tomato sauce, if desired. You an add anything to this- onions, top with low-fat cheese,etc. It has no added fat unlike refried beans.

  9. katie says:

    Thanks so much! Keep cooking…you will be amazed at the creations you come up with :)

  10. Abbey says:

    Hi Katie!
    I tried the white bean dip and I LOVE it. I am home schooled so I have a lot of time to cook. Like I said, I love your recipes because they are healthy and delicious. I hope I'm not making you think of a time you don't want to think about, but if Bob, Bobby, and Susie didn't let you go, I would have watched your show every time it came on. Even though I am only 11 you are really a huge role model to me. Thanks a bunch! :)

  11. katie says:

    You rock Abbey!!

  12. Abbey says:

    Thanks…. you rock too.

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