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Full o’ Beans (includes Cooking Guide)

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Full o’ Beans (includes Cooking Guide)

I can’t help but feel somewhat sorry for the humble bean… Somehow beans have developed a reputation for being dull, bland and boring, and have almost become a symbol of the common perception of vegan food as being, well… dull, bland and boring.

But not only is this not true about vegan food, it’s not even true about beans themselves. As with many other ingredients, it’s all about how you use them. Personally, I’m a huge fan of beans, both for their nutritional profile and also for the taste and texture benefits they bring to my cooking. But I don’t recommend eating beans alone or unseasoned, since I don’t think that’s the best way to enjoy them.

According to some sources, beans were one of the first crops cultivated when humans began to develop agriculture, and their cultivation played a key role in the human evolution from a primitive existence toward a more stabilized one. It’s easy to see what an amazing development this must have been for early humans, since beans are not only a powerful source of nutrition, but they can be dried and stored for years.

High in protein, fiber, B vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants, yet low in fat, sugar and of course cholesterol (which is only present in foods of animal origin), beans are simply one of the best foods available to us.

On a non-busy day, I like to cook up a supply of beans that I can use later on in the week. Preparing things like beans ahead of time is a good way to minimize dinner preparation during the week when you have a busier schedule. If you have some pre-cooked beans in the refrigerator, it’s easy to just add them into a veggie sauté which can then become a substantial portion of your meal. When they’re mixed in with cooked veggies and well-seasoned, you’d almost never know you were eating beans.

Image: © Kasia Biel

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Read more: Basics, Eating for Health, Food, Vegan and Delicious

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Angel Flinn

Angel Flinn is Director of Outreach for Gentle World – a non-profit educational organization whose core purpose is to help build a more peaceful society, by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition.

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8:54AM PDT on Jul 1, 2014

Cool beans! (Wish they didn't take so long to cook - uses a lot of gas/electricity).

4:55PM PDT on Apr 9, 2013


11:05AM PDT on Apr 9, 2013

thank you! love the idea of making salads!

8:41PM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

Splendid and tasty recipes, beans are splendid.

6:13PM PDT on Jul 20, 2011

Excellent article. Yummy recipes. Thanks for sharing.

2:54AM PST on Feb 26, 2011

I love beans, but I also have a reputation for being dull, bland and boring. Although I like my beans spicy and flavorful:-)

8:10AM PST on Dec 22, 2010

Thank you for this helpful article :D

6:36PM PST on Dec 17, 2010

We live in the southwest and the best beans I've ever tasted were pintos the way the Mexican people fix them...I've asked how they do it and they tell me just put them in water and cook 'em til their done.. Like good Italian cooking, it must be in the blood, mine never taste as good. So I'll try these recipes. Thanks.

5:37PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

The best bean dip I ever made is as follows:
Whatever amount of cooked beans you want to use, mashed. Add shredded cheddar cheese, & if you like it spicy add a dash of Tabasco.

5:35PM PDT on Oct 19, 2010

I already knew how to cook all kinds of beans. It doesn't take a genious. Water, beans, ham hock or bacon, onions & whatever seasonings you like: cumin, crushed red pepper flakes (or chopped fresh Jalapeno), salt, pepper, garlic powder chopped fresh garlic, anything else you like. I didn't care for any of the recipies. But maybe someone just learning how to cook could find this useful.

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