Recipe corner: three bean chili & avocado, black bean and brown rice salad
Beans are rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, iron and zinc, and they are an important protein source in plant-based diets. They also contain plenty of fiber, both insoluble and soluble—both types keep the gastrointestinal tract healthy and help fill you up, promoting satiety and helping to control weight. Resistant starch, also in beans, and the soluble fiber contribute to beans' low glycerin index, which helps keep blood sugars stable. Research suggests that beans can lower the risk for diabetes and ischemic heart disease, reduce cholesterol and favorably impact risk factors for metabolic syndrome. With all of these bean benefits, why wouldn’t you want to give these recipes a try?
Don’t feel that you have to limit yourself to only these three beans for this dish. Feel free to add the beans of your choice, or what you have on hand. The recipe calls for about 30-40 ounces of beans. You can even use four or five different beans for this dish. A little frozen corn can be added, if desired, for sweetness to balance the spice of the chili powder. Additional garlic, or hot chilies, can be added to adjust the flavor to your liking.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium carrots (peeled if desired), diced
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 28-ounce can pureed tomatoes
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- White or black pepper
- 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chick peas)*
- 15-ounce can red kidney beans*
- Half of a 15-ounce can cannellini beans*
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the garnish (if/as desired):
- Scallions, chopped
- Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt
In a large skillet or pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Add the carrots, zucchini and celery, and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, green pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano and white (or black) pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Rinse and drain the beans, and add to the vegetables. Cook until thoroughly heated—about 10 minutes. In the final minute of cooking, add some chopped cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, sprinkle with diced scallions, grated cheddar cheese and/or a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt.
*To cut back on the sodium in this recipe, you can use reduced sodium or no-salt-added canned beans.
Avocado, black bean, and brown rice salad
Serves: 8 (1-cup servings)
- 1 cup brown rice*, cooked
- 1 14-ounce can no-salt-added corn, drained
- 1 14-ounce can no-salt-added or reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup bell pepper** (any color), diced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado, diced
- Juice from 2 limes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
Place the cooked brown rice in a medium-to large-sized bowl. Add the black beans, corn, bell pepper and cilantro to the brown rice. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, tumeric, black pepper and salt to make a dressing. Stir the dressing into the brown rice, bean and bell pepper mixture. Cover and refrigerate the dressed salad for at least an hour before serving. Top each serving with 3-4 pieces of diced avocado.
*Brown rice can be substituted for quinoa. Be certain to rinse the quinoa before cooking.
**Bell pepper can be substituted for diced fresh tomatoes.
Note: The photo of this recipe has used substitutions—quinoa and diced tomatoes.