Different ways to eat beans

No one seems to recall who is responsible for designating today as National Eat Your Beans Day, but I bet it was a mom with kids. As a top-notch, quick-fix and cost-effective source of protein, fiber, calcium and complex carbohydrates, beans make delicious and affordable entrees, sides, snacks, dips and more. Beans will keep you feeling full longer between meals, without meat. These recipes go beyond baked beans and refried beans. Three out of four contain meat, but could be modified for vegetarians.

Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad


Here’s a classic last-minute, no-cook, hearty main-dish lunch or supper that needs just a crusty hunk of bread to satisfy appetites. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed

13-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup chopped parsley

12-ounce can solid white tuna in water, drained and flaked

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary. Add beans, tomatoes and parsley; toss gently. Stir in tuna and serve.

Two-Bean Chili with Smoked Ham

This is a good recipe for canned beans, as the cook time is only about a half hour. Recipe from “Quick from Scratch” by Food &Wine books; makes 4 servings.

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red or green bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 pound piece smoked ham, cut into half-inch pieces

1-1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth

1-1/2 cups canned tomatoes with their juice, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon salt

19-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

19-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 avocado, sliced

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium low heat; add onion, bell pepper and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add cumin and coriander; stir and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the ham, stock, tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, cayenne and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add beans, bring to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes more. Serve topped with sliced avocado; add sour cream and lime wedges if desired.

Black Bean Mango Salsa

Try this colorful condiment with grilled poultry, fish, or vegetables. Recipe from “Pacific Bounty” by Roy Yamaguchi; makes 4 servings.

1/2 cup dried black beans

4 cups water

1/2 cup diced onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4cup diced celery

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup diced fresh mango (peeled and seeded)

1/2 cup diced watermelon

Simmer beans in the water about 45 minutes or until cooked. Add more water if needed. Drain and reserve beans. In a large saute pan, lightly brown onions in olive oil. Add cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, red bell pepper and celery; cook about 1 minute. Place mixture in a medium stainless-steel bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add red wine vinegar, fruit and black beans; mix well and chill until ready to use. Serve slightly chilled.

Lamb, Lima and Potato Stew

This quick dish has just enough meat to add texture and flavor, but the veggies are the substance. Recipe adapted from “Eating Well is the Best Revenge” by Marian Burros; makes 3 servings.

About 2-1/2 cups chopped onion

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced

1/2 pound lean ground lamb

1/2 pound small new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced in a food processor

1/8-1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes

2 cups canned, no-salt-added crushed tomatoes

1-1/2 cups frozen baby lima beans

1 cup dry red wine

1/8t easpoon salt


Fresh ground black pepper

In a nonstick skillet, saute onion in hot oil; add garlic and stir. When onions begin to color, add lamb, breaking it up to keep it from clumping. Add potatoes; stir well and cook over medium heat until lamb is browned. Stir in pepper flakes, tomatoes, lima beans and wine; cover and cook until potatoes are done, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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