Today’s Health Morsel: Black Beans

I start out with a big fruity breakfast, then a hearty bowl of soup for lunch, and an Asian-inspired dinner that is based on black beans. Plus I’ll explain why black beans are such a large part of my diet and one of the things I always have in my pantry. I’m so lucky to have them as my favorite bean!

breakfast_text

  • 1 banana
  • 1 kaki fruit
  • 1/4 c. dates
  • 1 T. ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 c. berries
  • 1/4 c. nuts

I sprinkled the flaxseed over the fresh fruit. It goes best with the banana because of it’s nutty flavor.

Checklist items: berries, 3 other fruit, flaxseeds, nuts (6 out of 18 servings)


lunch_text

For lunch, I just threw together a quick soup of:

  • 1/2 c. purple carrots
  • 1/2 c. black beans
  • 1 c. spinach
  • 1/2 c. mushrooms
  • 1 T. ginger, minced
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 T. turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • a tiny bit of cinnamon

Checklist items: 1 beans, 1 greens, 2 other vegetables, spices (5 out of 18 items)


dinner_text

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Black beans are super awesome, because they have all the benefits of legumes plus black & purple foods. Black beans are loaded with both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. They are especially supportive of the health of the digestive tract, the colon in particular. The indigestible fraction of black beans is relatively high, which is probably why they are associated with a lower risk of colon cancer in some studies.

From 1 c. black beans you get 15 g of fiber and 15 g protein. Only legumes contain this “almost magical” (according to whfoods.com) combination, beneficial for blood sugar regulation, regular digestive processes, and cardiovascular health.

Just one word of warning: they are high in oxalate content, so anyone needing to follow a low oxalate diet for medical reasons may need to minimize black bean intake.

Unlike vegetables, legumes don’t lose nutritional content when canned, so feel free to buy canned beans in order to save yourself time – just be aware that some brands (perhaps I should say many brands) add extra salt and other additives. You’ll also want to make sure you buy cans that are BPA-free.

If you opt to cook the beans from dried (as I do), soak them first if you can plan enough ahead. Soaking beans overnight before cooking them improves the health benefits. Now, I know that there is debate over whether to throw out the soaking water or not. I’ve decided to follow this advice and toss it. If you don’t have time to soak, no worries! It’s not necessary. I like to use a pressure cooker to cook the beans, because it cuts down drastically on the cooking time (and thus saves some electricity or gas or whatever you use to power your stove.)

The recipe I’m making today is one I made up myself. I love sauces that I can make by just throwing everything in the blender! This is one of those. The full recipe for the sauce is here.

  1. Water-saute the bok choy
  2. Add beans and sauce and cook until heated through
  3. Pour over the pasta or noodles

Checklist items: 2 beans, cruciferous, 1 greens, spices, 3 whole grains (8 out of 18 servings)

* the amount of bok choy is enough for 1 serving of cruciferous and 1 serving of greens


Taking account of the day:

19 servings in total

We got at least the minimum recommended servings of everything today, plus an extra serving of spices.

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Recipe Review: Minimalist Baker’s sweet potato black bean burger

I frequently visit Minimalist Baker for inspiration in my meal planning – so many wonderful vegan recipes. And the sweet potato black bean burgers are no exception. Just get a load of this guy!

amazing-10-ingredient-sweet-potato-black-bean-burger-tender-flavorful-hearty-so-delicious
photo courtesy of Minimalist Baker

I kept fairly close to the original recipe, but did make some changes, and I have an interesting idea for the next time I make them! So, here’s how it went…

The Recipe
  • 2 c. mashed sweet potato
  • 1 c. cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked buckwheat
  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/2 c. diced green onion
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

The original recipe had rice – I substituted buckwheat, and it worked very well.

The original recipe also suggests optional chipotle powder, which I would have added if I had any, but the recipe is good without it.

Also optional in the original is brown sugar, but I left that out, and the sweet potato itself was plenty sweet for me.

Finally, though the recipe calls for walnut or pecan meal, and I do think that might taste even better, I used almond meal because I have some that is on its way out & so I wanted to use it before it went bad. They tasted great as I made them, so don’t be afraid to make the same substitution if that’s easier for you.

For instructions, see the original recipe. At first, I was worried because my mixture seemed very wet compared to other vegan burgers that I’ve made, but they molded & held together perfectly!

Nutrition Information

I made 6 big patties (though the original recipe calls for 12). Here is the modified nutrition info for my burgers & the breakdown of how this recipe fits into Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. The nutrition info is for the burger recipe alone. The Daily Dozen checklist will be for the 2 patties together in one bun (mega-burger!) with 1/2 c. arugula, 1/4 c. tomato &/or onion. And, of course,  you can add anything else you’d like.

spbbb_nutrition_info
I generated this information using cronometer.com

 

Just look at all that dietary fiber! That’s because of the buckwheat.

Checklist items: 2/3 serving beans, cruciferous, 2 other vegetables , 1/2 nuts, spices, 3 whole grains (a little more than 8 out of 18 servings)

To more easily fit this into a daily meal plan, here is a list of the servings you will need to eat during other meals, snacks, dessert to complete the day:

  • 2 1/3 servings of beans ( = 1/2 c. + 1 T + 1 tsp hummus or 1 1/8 c. beans/tofu/tempeh or 2 1/3 c. peas/sprouted lentils)
  • 1 berries
  • 3 other fruits
  • 2 greens
  • 1 flaxseeds
  • 1/2 nuts ( = 1 T nut or seed butter or 1/8 c. nuts or seeds)

Just by way of suggestion, this might be a good day to have a berry fruity breakfast and a beans & greens lunch!

Performance

I loved the sweet potato black bean burger recipe! I think the original would be great but, as you can see, it’s also very tolerant of substitution, so you can play around with it a little like I did to make it fit what’s in your pantry, or any current passions (like my new-found love of buckwheat).

In terms of cooking, I brought these to a BBQ and cooked them on the grill. Others had been cooking meat, so I used aluminum foil on the grill-top, and then a little square of baking paper on each side of each patty to ensure they wouldn’t stick to the foil. They cooked wonderfully. The grill wasn’t very hot, and I was very hungry, so I didn’t let them cook for as long as I should have. Next time I’d like them to be chewier & firmer. But that’s all in the cooking. My partner was just happy that they weren’t burnt (he gets a little overzealous with the grill at home).

What will I change next time? Other than cooking them properly, I want to try substituting  in black rice! That will up the antioxidant power, and I bet it’ll look cool, too!

So, the final word is: definitely try this recipe and incorporate it into your daily dozen!