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A Fresh Approach to Eating

Beans make easy vegetarian recipes and can be used in soups, Mexican food, casseroles, pastas, dips and many other tasty meals. They are high in protein, low in cost and calories. In addition, beans are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, B vitamins including folic acid. Beans may be an important piece of diabetic nutrition because they are beneficial to help people maintain blood sugar and may help some improve blood cholesterol. Beans are also very filling so they can be part of a healthy meal plan to lose weight.

Canned beans can be rinsed and drained to lower the sodium content. Dried beans are also very easy to cook over the stove and crock pot although a little bit of planning may be needed.

Fresh food are the main ingredients for bean tacos!

To cook beans over the stove

Take one pound of beans that have been soaked and drained. Cover completely with water. Simmer for several hours until soft. Salt only after beans are almost soft.

To cook beans in the crock pot

Soak and drain beans ahead of time. Cover completely with water and cook for 4-5 hours until soft.

Soaking Beans Two Ways

  1. Beans can be soaked overnight in water and drained.
  2. If soaking overnight does not happen, try adding water to the beans and heat it to boiling. After the water starts to boil, turn off the water, put a lid on it and allow to set for one hour. After one hour, drain off the water and add fresh.

With all the benefits to beans, why wouldn’t all of us eat them more often? Many people worry about the added embarrassing gas that beans can add! This is because of a complex fiber/sugar in beans, oligiosccharide that can be difficult to break down in our GI tract. Here are a few ways that may help reduce the symptoms of flatulence that beans can add:

  1. Make sure that beans are properly cooked and soaked.
  2. Beans can be easier digested if they are eaten on a more consistent basis. This way the body can have more of the enzymes needed to break down the fiber/sugar in beans. You can start out with a small amount of beans and then build up to larger quantities.
  3. A digestive enzyme such as Beano can help with excess gas that beans may cause.

Fresh food are the main ingredients for bean tacos!

Here are the ingredients ready to make bean tacos!
Here are the ingredients ready to make bean tacos!

Bean Tacos

This filling works well for tacos, burritos or tostados!

Makes 6 servings at 1/2 cup each

2 cups cooked beans

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small onion chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin

1/2 cup medium or mild salsa

water if needed

1/2 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

Variety of toppings:

Chopped tomato

Chopped onions

Black olives

Sliced avocado

Grated cheese

Thinly sliced lettuce

Shredded cabbage


Baby spinach

Taco shells

Heat oil in skillet. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Add seasonings and heat through. Add beans and salsa. Add water if needed (so mixture is not too dry but a moist consistency).

Other seasoning for bean ideas:

The ways to season beans are endless! Some seasonings that I like to use include onion, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes or other hot chili, garlic, thyme, paprika, chili powder and cumin.

Try beans as one of your plant based recipes for your next Meatless Monday! If you are wondering what to make for dinner, this is an easy and delicious meal idea! You can find even more things to make in Denise’s Recipes,

As a registered dietitian nutritionist in Asheville, I love sharing some of the things that I make at home!

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