Why You Should Be Cooking and Eating More Beans
We love beans because they give you a lot of bang for your buck. Not only do they last forever in your pantry and freeze well, they are also extremely inexpensive while still packing in a ton of nutrients. They are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals, like B vitamins, folate, magnesium, zinc and iron. They're also a complete protein when eaten in combination with grains - enter beans and rice!
We always keep our pantries stocked with both dried and canned beans. While canned beans are perfect for throwing together a quick weeknight meal in a pinch, taking the time to soak and cook them makes them a lot easier to digest. They also have a much better flavor and texture. If you find yourself stuck at home and looking for a fun cooking project, try soaking and cooking your own dried beans!
Why is everyone stocking up on beans? Because it's comforting to know that if we can't leave our homes during this quarantine or find quality meat at grocery stores, at least we have a lifetime supply of beans and rice to survive on. However, many of use now find ourselves drowning in cans and bags of beans and not sure what to do with them.
Below is a recipe for one of my favorite ways to eat beans: beans on toast! Remember you can make substitutions based on what you have. If you don't have broccoli rabe, you can easily use kale or any other heart greens instead. If nothing else, this recipe will inspire you to try cooking beans from scratch!
For more inspiration, our publisher at Penguin Random House has created a collection of pantry-friendly recipes from their new spring cookbooks.
Recipe from Cool Beans Cookbook
Garlicky Great Northern Beans and Broccoli Rabe Over Toast
2 cups dried great Northern beans (may substitute navy, cannellini, or other white beans), soaked overnight and drained
1 onion, studded with 12 whole cloves
2 large carrots
1 (3 by 5-inch) strip kombu (dried seaweed)
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large bunch of broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 thick slices rustic sourdough bread, lightly toasted
1 tablespoon chile oil (optional)
1/4 cup vegan or traditional Parmesan, grated or shaved
Combine the beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring the beans to a boil. Let then boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat so the beans are at a bare simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are very tender, about 1 hour. (Alternatively, you can cook the beans, water, and aromatic vegetables in a stovetop or electric pressure cooker: Bring to high pressure and cook for 17 minutes if using a stovetop model or 20 minutes for electric. Let the pressure release naturally, then open.)
Discard the onion, carrots, kombu, and bay leaves and strain the beans, reserving all of the cooking liquid.
In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Stir in the broccoli rabe and sauté until very tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it starts to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the drained beans, 11/2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, and the salt. Cook just until the beans are hot and the flavors have melded, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pepper, taste, and add more salt if needed.
Divide the toast among shallow serving bowls. Drizzle with the chile oil, if desired, and spoon the bean mixture and broth on top. Finish with the Parm and serve hot.
Recipe and photo from Cool Beans by Joe Yonan