This protein-packed meal of beans a day keeps the doctor away

For over forty years chef, author and talk show host Cristina Ferrare researched and wrote about the effects of food on health. Now she’s back with Food for Thought: Recipes for Ultimate Mind and Body Health, and this isn’t your average cookbook.

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Ferrare encourages putting thought into the foods we consume and illustrates the importance of consuming proper nutrition.

But don’t worry, just because something’s healthy doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty. Food for thought contains recipes that will enrich your lifestyle and prolong your life, while offering how to prepare the foods you love without trans fats.

We asked Ferrare to share one of her nutritious winter recipes with us. High in fiber and full of minerals and vitamins, here’s her protein packed, hearty soup made with black beans.

But first, why even eat beans?

  • Dietary Guidelines say we should be eating more plant proteins. A half of cup of beans provides 7 grams of protein which is the same amount as 1 ounce of chicken, meat or fish.
  • Vegetarians, and individuals who seldom eat meat, poultry, or fish could count on beans as an alternative choice. Beans have a low glycemic index and contain a blend of complex carbohydrates and protein. Because of this, beans are digested slowly, which helps keep blood glucose stable, and may help curtail fatigue and irritability.
  • Scientists recommend that adults consume 3 cups of beans per week to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer. This is because of their abundance of antioxidants.

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Now let’s get to making that protein packed black bean soup.

Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6

3 – 15 ounces, cans of black beans.

1/4- cup extra virgin olive oil

1- large yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons shallots, diced

3- cloves of garlic minced

1- small red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced small

1- tablespoon ground cumin

1- tablespoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons ground chili

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1- teaspoon kosher salt

1- quart vegetable broth

2 jalapenos with seeds chopped small

1 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro

2 cups aged sharp cheddar cheese or Vegan cheddar cheese grated

½ cup sour cream or vegan sour cream

½ cup red onion diced small

Extra Olive oil to drizzle of soup

4 sprigs thyme leaves pulled off

Instructions

Rinse and drain one can of beans in cool water and set aside. The other two leave in their juice.

Heat a soup pot on medium high heat for 30 seconds, add the olive oil, onions, shallots, garlic and sauté for 8 minutes.

Add red peppers, cumin, coriander, chili, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, sauté for 1 minute.

Add the vegetable broth, 2 cans of the black beans with their juices.

Lower heat to a slow simmer for 60 minutes checking every 15 to make sure that the beans are not sticking to sides and bottom of pan. If you see the soup is too thick just add vegetable broth ½ cup at a time to thin.

Ten minutes before serving add the extra can of rinsed black beans to the pot and heat through for 5 minutes on medium heat.

Ladle into heated bowls and for each serving garnish with jalapeno, as much as you like, some cilantro, helping of cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, 1 tablespoon red onions, drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of thyme leaves.

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