Add Dried Beans to the Menu This Winter

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There is nothing better than a warm home-cooked meal on a rainy cold day. With increasing prices of groceries and a growing interest in plant-based eating, beans are an appealing high-protein option for dinner. Cooked beans have about 7 grams of lean protein in just half a cup, are a great source of iron, and are considered high in fiber. They can be a cost-efficient meal option for several reasons. Other than being less expensive than most animal options, dried and canned beans are considered shelf-stable items. Shelf-stable foods or non-perishable foods will last much longer than refrigerated items. This means if you’ve forgotten to thaw your fish from the night before you can always fall back on rice and beans. I have spoken to many individuals who only have one or two recipes for beans, but beans can be a versatile pantry staple. A few ideas for using beans include pressure cooking, stewing in the crock pot, mashing, or roasting in the oven.

Why Use Dried Beans Versus Canned?
Dried beans, though requiring more preparation time are often more affordable than the canned alternative. They are also salt-free. You may find that several servings come from just one small bag. Though a bit more costly, canned beans are fully cooked and only require heating which is ideal for dinner in a pinch. They are a great complete meal for camping. Perhaps you have heard that canned foods are higher in salt? If you are watching your sodium, consider rinsing your beans before heating them or watch for foods labeled with, “no salt added,” or “low sodium.”

Dried or canned beans can easily replace any animal-based protein in your family meal. If you are in need of dinnertime inspiration, check out the links below for some tried and true recipes.

Additional Resources & Recipes:

A Pocket Guide to Preparing Pulse Foods

Dry Beans and Peas