Where do you get your protein? That’s almost always the first question I get asked when I tell people I eat a plant-based diet. The answer? Well, first, protein is in all fruits, vegetables and grains, and most people are eating more than an adequate amount. Most of the protein in my diet comes from beans. I make a big pot of beans every week and build my week’s meals around that.
Even if you don’t eat a plant-based diet, there are some great reasons for eating beans. Beans are loaded with iron, B vitamins, and soluble fiber that may help to lower or maintain your blood cholesterol. If you are trying to lose weight, ditch the saturated fat from animal protein and switch in more beans. They are filling and satisfying. They are also inexpensive, especially if you buy them in dry form.
I encourage you to try making your beans from scratch. It’s so easy, and so much cheaper than buying canned. Let’s say you buy a can of beans for $1.50. You could make 4 times that amount of beans for the same amount of money by buying dried. Even though it takes awhile to cook a pot of beans, you can do it while you’re cooking dinner, cleaning, watching tv, reading, whatever. My favorite beans are black beans and chick peas.
Make a pot of beans…
1 cup of dried beans of your choice (see cooking chart below)
- Soak for 6 hours or overnight.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Place the beans in a heavy pot and add 3 to 4 cups of water.
- Bring to a full boil and skim off the foam.
- Add flavor! Bay leaves or garlic cloves taste great and also add digestibility.
- Cover, and let simmer.
Check beans 30 minutes before the minimum cooking time.
Add 1 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt 10 minutes before the end of cooking time.
- Beans should be tender and soft to squeeze when finished.
Cooking times per 1 cup of dry beans
|Black-eyed peas||60 minutes|
|Lima beans||60-90 minutes|
|Chickpeas (garbanzos)||120-180 minutes|
|Split peas||45-60 minutes|
Recipe: Black Bean Quinoa Salad
2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 cup of quinoa
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, diced
3 green onions, diced
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 lime, juiced
Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water – bring to a boil, put on low covered for 13 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop and mince all of the veggies & herbs, add to a big bowl with the beans. Mix the dressing.
Once the quinoa is done cooking, let cool. Then add to the bowl with the dressing.
Keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days.