Molly-fied Meatless Mondays: Heirloom Beans
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I’ve said it once, I’m going to say it again … going meatless one day a week is a great start to better eating habits.

Trust me I love bacon!  I’m not trying to bring you completely over to the dark side.  Eating veggies for a day is beyond doable and I promise you won’t be “missing out” on anything.  In fact, consider it an opportunity to expand your palate.  Try new foods, styles and spices… make it a culinary adventure to better health.

I’m not a crazy foodie, but I love good flavors and appreciate quality product. I try my very best to eat organic when I can, but I realize that can be very expensive.  I’m loving new companies like Thrive Market who are making healthy food choices more accessible to everyone.  Thrive Market gets extra bonus points with me because they also gift access to those in need.

I’m also not the girl to spend all day toiling over a hot stove making something with 500 complicated steps, so the recipe I’m sharing today is 100% in my wheelhouse. I think you will enjoy. How can you say no to delicious, healthy food that is beyond easy to cook and costs you pennies to make?

The Magic of Beans

I talk a lot about fiber focused eating in my book, The Everyday Supermodel and it is truly the key to weight loss and overall healthier eating. Beans are loaded with fiber and water, which help you feel fuller faster. They are loaded with protein making them an excellent option as a meat substitute. I fully believe that beans really should be considered a Superfood as they are said to lower the risk of heart disease, contain a wide range of cancer-fighting plant chemicals and provide a steady (and low) source of glucose which is hugely beneficial to diabetics.

Put away your thoughts of boring canned beans and overcooked refried beans from last Saturday’s midnight burrito.  I’m going to introduce you to a whole other fellow and you have NO idea how big his extended family is!!  I recently was given a great cookbook, Supper At Rancho Gordo by Steve Sando, and man does that guy know his way around a bean!!  Who knew they were SO many different types and flavors?  Below is a tiny smattering of a few of my new favorite legumes.  You can purchase them conveniently and inexpensively via Rancho Gordo’s site.

  1. Yellow Indian Woman:  Smaller sized bean yet super creamy.  Keeps shape after cooking.  Ideal in salads, chilis, soups and stews
  2. Vaquero: Kissing cousin the Anasazi bean.  Light in flavor. Ideal for soups, stews, chilis or on their own.
  3. Yellow Eye: Thick old-fashioned flavor.  Perfect substitution for any white bean.  Ideal for stews, navy bean soup, and baked beans.
  4. White Tepary: Small meaty bean.  Slightly sweet and suitable for many cuisines.  Ideal in salads and pureed.
  5. Classic Cassoulet: A beautiful white runner bean.  Developed by French farmers over generations.
  6. Midnight Black: Extra fancy turtle beans, perfect for all your black bean recipes or to enjoy on their own.

Keep it simple.

You don’t have to go crazy with your bean preparations.  I love making a big pot of beans and serving over the course of a few days.  You can have it as a main course one evening for dinner and with a salad for lunch the next day.  You can even make a nice cornbread to enjoy with it.  The options are endless!!  Below is my very basic but very delicious tasting bean recipe.  The beans I used this time around were the Christmas Lima beans.  Super meaty and delicious ... the perfect option for a Meatless Monday.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Dried Christmas Lima Beans
  • ½ Chopped onion
  • 3 minced Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat medium saucepan.  Add olive oil then garlic and onion.  Cook until softened and translucent.
  • Add beans and water (up to you whether to soak them or not…and to change the water or not…bean soaking and soaking water is a very heated discussion point as Steve points out in his wonderful book). Water should cover the beans and be 2” over.
  • Cover the pot and crank up the heat to bring everything to a rapid boil. If you soaked your beans, boil them for 5 minutes. If not, boil them for 15-20 minutes.
  • After the boil, lower heat to a low simmer and cook until beans are creamy. As for when to add salt, I took Steve’s advice and added it right when the pot started to smell like beans. Delicious!

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Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.