Market Watch: Shell Beans

by in Farmers' Market Finds, August 26, 2009

Also known as “cranberry” beans, these red and beige beauties are all over my market right now. They made an unusual but delicious addition to my summer succotash.

Once popped out of their shell (the pod isn’t edible), these beans look a lot like jelly beans, but they’re certainly better for you than the candy kind. They’re full of fiber, iron, folate and potassium — talk about a healthy legume!

To prepare, I simmer them in water or broth to soften and then add some to pasta, rice, salads, stewed chicken or vegetable dishes. I was able to make this summer veggie succotash with everything I already had in my kitchen.

Shell Bean Succotash
Serves: 6

1 cup shelled cranberry beans
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen and thawed)
2 cups sliced summer squash
3/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Combine beans, water to cover, 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 to 35 minutes until beans are tender, drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add corn, squash, onion, pepper, garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 3 minutes. Add beans and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Toss in fresh basil and serve.

Nutrition Info (per serving):
Calories: 168 calories
Total Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 0 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 29 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Sodium: 194 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: 9 grams

Here’s another recipe to try: Fresh Shell Beans with Caramelized Onion and Sage

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