When I look at the daily protein requirements for my little family of three (three who actually eat table food, that is.), the numbers are staggering. I know I didn’t grow up eating this much protein, and I also know why.
Meat is expensive.
That’s why God made beans.
Beans are cheap. They also contain an average of 15 grams of protein per cup.
Beans are, unfortunately, infamous for their flatulence-producing capabilities, but before you write them off for that, you should know that after your digestive system adjusts to beans, the problem diminishes greatly – even disappears completely for lots of folks.
How to Incorporate More Protein Into Your Diet with Beans!
Most diets have a serious lack of protein. Whether it’s because people don’t know they need more or if protein in the form of meat is just too expensive, beans are a frugal fix.
Here is a list of twelve tasty ways you can get more beans in your diet.
- Chili – Beans are a great way to “beef up” chili. I love bean chili even more than I love meaty chili – but then, my family isn’t really known for its authentic chili.
- Hummus – Hummus rocks. I could eat it with a spoon (okay, sometimes I do). Hummus with pita chips is unparalleled.
- Bean dip with crudités – I can think of many things more nutritious and filling than raw veggies dipped in bean dip. You could use hummus – because we all know hummus rocks (see above) – or any number of bean dip recipes out there.
- Sandwiches – Chickpeas are a great replacement for meat or tuna salad on sandwiches. Or you could use them as an addition to meat, as we often do. Chickpea salad makes sandwiches more filling and, you guessed it, nutritious.
- Desserts – Black bean brownies are probably the most famous of the bean desserts and are delicious. You can also make cookies, cookie dough dips, cakes, and who knows what else with beans. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of eating a chocolate cake made with kidney beans. It was addictive!
- In taco meat – One popular meat stretcher is to add lentils to taco meat at up to 50% volume. If you have a large family, this can be a lifesaver!
- In sauces – I’ll never forget the day I first found a white bean Alfredo sauce recipe. It changed my life. Not long ago, we had rice pasta with white bean Alfredo for supper. Now that’s a creative beans and rice dinner!
- In soups – Bean soup, taco soup, white bean chili, the list goes on. Beans are great in soups. They belong in soup. And if you’re making soup where whole beans don’t belong, try using bean purée as a thickener.
- Traditional bean dishes – Cajun red beans over rice is one of my personal favorites. Gabriel’s is baked beans. Calico beans are another delicious, frugal dish that comes to mind.
- In salad – When I was a kid, my mom used to make a taco salad with kidney beans in it. It was the best salad ever! Now that I’m making my own salads, I put on the beans. Grilled chicken salad, gimme some beans! Mexican salad, being me more black beans!
- Roasted – Roasted chickpeas make a great snack, and you can spice them in a multitude of ways for variety.
- Split pea soup – Peas contain slightly more protein than other beans (except soybeans), making them a great addition to your repertoire. Who doesn’t love a bowl of steaming hot split pea soup?!
One of these days, I’m going to try making my own tempeh with chickpeas. Tempeh is a great source of not only protein but probiotics as well. I just had to get brave enough.
I’m sure there are many more we could add to the list. I’d love to know your favorite ways to use beans!
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