Let’s power up with beans. They are jam-packed with protein and fiber, plus they offer a satisfying alternative to meat. Beans are a fun way to add versatility to your meal planning repertoire. Whether you use black, red, white or green beans, they are all delicious. My seven-year old daughter is a big fan of black beans as a snack or with meals; I love soy beans with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and white beans add a dash of refreshing color to a colorful salad. Beans are good food, however, if you are sensitive to beans (as they do produce gases like raffinose in your intestines), you can get some relief from products like Beano® – read more about it before using, as with any supplement.
Today, I am using white, cannellini beans – these beans are great in soups, chili and casseroles, too. They fill you up with fiberous, plant-based protein without cholesterol (FYI: cholesterol is only found in animal foods), saturated fat and sodium. So adding some “good” fats with olive oil, grape seed oil, seeds, nut or avocado works well to balance out the flavors and nutritional value of the meal.
Feel free to use canned beans – just rinse and drain them to take away some of the excess salt. I found a great low-sodium variety called Simply Balanced™. They are organic, GMO-free and in recyclable packaging. (You can find this brand at Target stores).
Get creative with beans in the kitchen by:
- Tossing them to pasta sauce, soup and chili
- Pureeing them into hummus and pesto
- Adding them to turkey meatballs and meatloaf
- Roasting them with root vegetables
- Topping tacos and quesadillas with them
- Stir frying them with garlic, shallots and zucchini
- Piling them over mixed greens with a drizzle of dressing
Today, we are getting into the kitchen and adding a peppery zip to this bean-based salad with a bit of arugula. I love arugula as this leafy green offers a ton of vitamin A and C, potassium (which is good for keeping blood pressure in check), and fiber. You can’t beat its unique flavor – no need to get the pepper shaker out. In this salad, I add a bit an extra kick to the dressing with jalapeno mustard – feel free to leave that out, if you want.
Cannellini Bean, Artichoke and Arugula Salad
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup marinated artichokes, drained and chopped
1 medium tomato, diced
1 cup arugula
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon jalapeno mustard (optional)
Pinch of salt
In a medium bowl, simply toss beans, artichokes, tomatoes and arugula together. For dressing, whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard (for a spicy kick) and salt. Drizzle on top and toss. Serve with a soup and crusty whole grain bread or pile into a whole grain wrap.
Nutrition Information (per serving): Calories: 261, Total Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 112 mg, Carbohydrates: 34 g, Dietary Fiber: 8g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 11 g
Enjoy eating simply,