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