Beans, beans, the magical fruit! Put them in salads, bake them for breakfast or grind them into a creamy dip; you have a million culinary options when it comes to these guys. But not all beans are the same, meaning they don’t cook the same either. Some work better in slow-cooked recipes, while others are great straight out of the can. Many people eat dried beans as a healthy mid-day snack. Whatever you want to use them for, we give you the bean breakdown.
One of the most common beans around, kidney beans come from a Latin America and are packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron and as much antioxidants as blueberries. The high fiber content in these beans make them great for as a filler, as they’ll keep you fuller longer. Fiber is also good for those with diabetes and kidney beans are also known to lower cholesterol. Kidney beans have a firmer texture, making them ideal for recipes that have a longer cooking time, like chili or baked beans. For a quicker recipe, kidney beans work great in salads as well. Mix them with other beans and your choice of vegetables for a fresh side.
A relative to the kidney beans, black beans are believed to have originated in Mexico or South America and is widely used in Latin cuisine. A high source of protein, black beans have a slightly sweet and meaty texture and pair well with smoky flavours like bacon and chipotle. Also high in fiber and carbs, black beans are very filling. Like kidney beans, black beans work well in slow cooking recipes like soups and stews. Try the black bean, sweet potato and red quinoa recipe soup in this article.
Also known as the garbanzo bean, chickpeas are one of the oldest cultivated beans in the world, dating back thousands of years. Chickpeas are the most consumed bean around the world and are popular in South Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine (see hummus). Chickpeas have a nutty flavour and strong structure and in some cuisines, are made into gluten-free flour. Chickpeas have a good amount of calcium, iron and protein, but are also high in carbs. Chickpeas work great in lots of vegetarian diets, like these veggie burger recipes.
Used in recipes for over 8,000 years, lentils are a staple in South Asian cuisine and since then have made their way around the world. Lentils are essentially a tiny version of beans, meaning they soak and cook more quickly. Similarly to beans, lentils have a high content of fiber, protein, potassium and folic acid, which is good for fetal growth. Because they’re so comparable, beans and lentils can be swapped for each other to add different twist in recipes. Check out 6 Ways to Use Lentils to help incorporate lentils into your everyday diet.
I never knew why someone would name their band after these beans, but after learning about all their amazing qualities, I’m not surprised. Black-eyed peas are packed with protein, iron and low fat and calories. Originating in eastern Asia, black-eyed peas are sweet and mild with a firm texture and absorb flavours well. Many cultures make black-eyed peas as a traditional New Year dish, as it’s believed they will bring good luck.