A Healthier Take on Beans for Lunch
June 28, 2020
By Isadora Baum
Bean, with their high fiber content, plant protein, and convenience are always a great idea for lunch. And you don’t need to stay limited to just black beans. There are white beans, pinto beans and kidney beans to explore, all with great fiber, protein and unique flavor. Whether you stuff beans into bread for a sandwich or between sweet potato slices for a lower-carb option, or you use in a quick salad with avocado, chickpea, and veggie toppers, here are 6 great ways to really put those beans to good use for that midday meal.
Made with chickpeas and sweet potatoes or butternut squash, this quinoa and green dish is easy to make for lunch and you can always use leftovers for other bean recipes like bean soup or to stuff into a burrito with a whole grain tortilla. If you don’t want spinach swap it out for kale. You can even take the Moroccan stew and add to stuffed peppers for a quick weeknight meal.
This vegan bowl has good protein and fiber from the black beans and some natural sweetness from plantains. If you don’t want black beans, you can swap for navy beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, or dried beans too. Sliced avocado adds in creaminess and good fats, which can protect your heart and keep you fuller longer.
Sprinkle with lime juice or lemon zest for a bit of citrus to round it out and add flavor. You can also add in cilantro, as well as Greek yogurt (if you are not vegan) for a cool, creamy element. You can also choose any grain you like, such as brown rice, quinoa or even cauliflower riced, and eat this as a weeknight meal or dinner too.
Beans on a sandwich? That’s right. These smashed beans taste great as a spread with avocado on toast and it works well for a quick on the go breakfast or an easy lunch. Plus it’s done in just 10 minutes. Add Greek yogurt for another smooth element, if desired, and consider making this for appetizers at a party or as meatless side dish too. Top with any veggies or spices you like, such as red pepper flakes, zucchini or sliced cucumber.
Tuna provides ample protein and healthy fats to boost satiety and protect against inflammation, while white beans or cannellini beans offer additional fiber. If you want you can also use lentil instead, which has protein and fiber too. Plus, they taste great when paired with sliced, salty green olives and crumbled cheese, like feta. No feta? Swap for parmesan, and add in fennel, which would work nicely with the sliced red onion too. Swapping in olive oil for mayo lightens it up, and it’s done in only 5 minutes total time.
Chili is hearty and filling, and pinto and kidney beans both work well together in this dish for a two-bean chili that’s high in fiber, protein and flavor. You can add in fresh summer corn and jalapeno for a spicy kick. Plus, the heat may speed your metabolism, too.
White beans are not typically used in a sandwich, but they should be. It’s thicker, hearty texture is a good alternative to meat, and it works nicely with cashews to make the consistency smooth. Add in smoked paprika and cayenne for some heat, and vegan mayonnaise to get it even creamier. It’s a 30-minute meal that’s easy to put together.
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