Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beans, Beans, Good for the Heart

So beans are like my least fave thing.  I can seriously never get excited to eat them or find a way to work them into my diet despite all their nutritional benefits (low fat source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium...).  But!  I think I have found a new way for me to finally get them in my life: the bean dip.

Now I'm not talking about 7 layers or a can of refried beans topped with melted cheese.  What good would that stuff be when you can't eat the tortilla chips??  I started with the inspiration of hummus (kinda blah) and took it to the next level.  Or maybe it was Giada who put the idea in my head.  Either way, I'm talking about a super smooth creamy dip that you would never even know was made outta beans!

I've made hummus a million times and followed every trick in the book to get it super smooth (whip the tahini first, painstakingly remove the bean skins...) but it's never as good as what I'm hoping for.  THAT IS until I blended it all up in my Nutribullet!  (How did I live before I had this thing?)  I usually need a little extra liquid to get it going since the bullet is designed for smoothies.  Throw almost anything in there and the Nutribullet grinds it down to a smooth paste and then whips it into a fluffy spread.  Chick pea skins included!

However, you really can't beat buttery cannellini beans.  If you aren't a chickpea fan either, next time grab a can of the white beans and you will be amazed at how luscious beans can really taste.  A few baby carrots and some bean dip is a perfect snack for me between lunch and dinner.  The options are endless!  Start with one can of cannellini beans and add:

a few tablespoons lemon juice, a clove or two of garlic, and cilantro (this has been my go-to use for leftover cilantro);
some roasted red pepper strips, smoked paprika and a few walnuts;
sun dried tomatoes and a handful of basil leaves;
some kalamata olives and a sprinkle of feta cheese;
a scoop of kale pesto!

After dinner I often find myself looking for one more little thing to snack on.  Often it's a scoop of peanut butter and a glass of milk, or maybe a few bites of goat cheese with a drizzle of honey.  But I think I am onto something with this bean kick - last night I blended up a can of black beans to make a yummy chocolate mousse that I think would be perfect on toast, some banana or apple slices (or a spoon).  You could take this same recipe and substitute white beans and vanilla extract, cinnamon, bananas, dates, honey, blueberries, peanut butter, melted white chocolate, you name it!

Who would have ever thought of beans for dessert?!  Enjoy!

1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed until water runs clear
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons milk (if needed to blend)

Blend all ingredients in a Nutribullet or other blender until smooth!

Not poop.

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