So, here’s the thing, we know that beans are super healthy and good for us. But we just have such a hard time incorporating them into our diets!
I’m setting out to change that in my life.
Beans are a great source of protein. For a plant-based eater, that is important for strength, muscle building, and just having enough amino acids for the body to perform daily functions.
Beans are also a great source of iron. For a plant-based eater, that alone is a worth its weight in gold, because iron can be poorly absorbed; as a plant-based eater anemia is a likely possibility; as a female, iron losses are inevitable; and as an athlete, iron is essential.
One way to absorb more iron is to combine it with Vitamin C.
This Middle Eastern bean dish does just that! I combined pinto beans with warm Middle Eastern spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric, with a splash of lemon juice to help the iron absorb better. After mashing up the beans a bit, I added chopped tomatoes (I like to use tomatoes on the vine, and always buy my tomatoes organic as they are one of the twelve foods on the EWG Dirty Dozen list of most contaminated foods) and parsley. More help for iron absorption.
You will see that I added onion and garlic to flavor the beans as well. When I cook with onion and garlic, I try to allow time to let them rest before using them to bring out the beneficial properties of the allicin in them (antioxidant that fights disease).
The night I made this dish, I ate it as a side with mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. Today, I took a riff off the Mexican Torta and spread the beans on a gluten free English muffin, added some avocado, and arugula, and paired it with some cucumber spears. Delicious!
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ onion, diced
2 – 3 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
salt and black pepper to taste
juice of ¼ lemon
1 tomato, diced
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1. Chop onions and garlic and let them rest for 5-10 minutes.
2. Open can of beans, drain and rinse.
3. Sauté onion in warm pan with olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and sauté three minutes more.
4. Add spices and lemon juice and mash a little with potato masher.
5. Add diced tomatoes and parsley and give the beans a stir.
6. Serve warm.