Need a quick dish to celebrate the entrance of 2017? Instead of rushing out to see what is available in the stores, try making the following quick and tasty bean dip recipes. These recipes were submitted jointly by Debbie Petitpain, MS, RD, LD, and Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD to a recent VN DPG recipe contest.
No matter how prolific the evidence nor how well presented our website, there will always be someone who asks, “Can a vegetarian diet provide enough?” Enough might mean enough protein, enough variety, enough nutrients, enough of whatever the questioner fears might be lacking.
It’s not surprising that this question continues to be asked. The societal belief that a well-balanced diet must include meat, fish, poultry and dairy foods is deeply ingrained and has some roots in the association of these foods with an individual’s ability to procure them, that is, one’s personal affluence. During World Wars I and II, many foodstuffs were rationed including butter, sugar, meat, and coffee. Transportation of food was limited by fuel rationing and so people began to cultivate their own gardens and raise their own chickens. Thus, Victory Gardens appeared where flowers once grew or cars once parked. The ‘Eat locally’ movement had begun but with a slightly different intent than today’s locavores.
Naturally, with the rationing came a sense of deprivation that persisted until the end of the wars and the relative improvement of choices in the market. As people were able to add some of the former luxuries back into their regular diets, it wasn’t long before these luxuries became daily staples.
It’s worth noting here that as countries around the world become increasingly more developed and affluent, their diets also change to include the very luxuries mentioned above; fat, sugar, meat and another, alcohol. Patterns of disease in those countries parallel the dietary changes as both become more like disease and diets seen in Western countries.
So the question remains, “Does a vegetarian diet provide enough?”
Once again my dear photographer friend, who also happens to be a midwife, comes to the rescue with a delightful visual aid.
Take a look at the platter of food she compiled for her pregnant clients; its beauty belies its nutrient value. Not only colorful but also displaying the recommended plate proportions of protein, vegetables and fruits, this meal offers enough for an individual to meet nutrient needs as well as support good health. All the foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals and fiber while being relatively low in calories and fat as well as being free of simple sugars and cholesterol. These characteristics help to maintain appropriate weight and reduce blood pressure as well as risks for heart disease and diabetes.
White lima beans are this meal’s primary source of protein, with one cup providing 16 grams or about 30 percent of an adult woman’s daily requirement. The limas’ 30 grams of fiber meet the daily recommendation for adults and do a great job of modulating blood sugar, providing satiety and maintaining intestinal health. Besides being rich in potassium, white lima beans pack iron to the tune of 60 percent of the adult recommended daily intake. There are 140 calories in one cup.
Sugar snap peas, which are actually a hybrid of English peas and snow peas, are completely edible. One cup has barely 30 calories but more than 60 percent of recommended vitamin C intake. This is a vitamin K rich vegetable, which is why it is so aptly included in the lunch for pregnant women.
The much-maligned watermelon also does its share to support good health by providing vitamins B6, C and K, plus potassium and lycopene, a beneficial phytochemical found only in red-pigmented fruits and vegetables. One cup has about 50 calories, a trace of protein but no fat or cholesterol. What is fascinating about the protein is that it is comprised of amino acids that can metabolize to nitric oxide, a substance that helps to maintain artery function and thus improve blood pressure.
Without examining the familiar nutrient gifts of the mixed greens and herb salad, you can see that a lunch comprised of what we have just discussed can be not only quite filling but also nutrient dense, providing almost a third of a woman’s daily protein needs, wrapped in a wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well as including enough fiber for the day.
These nutrients promote good health; the fruit and vegetable packages they come in are visually and gastronomically pleasing, and the relatively low caloric load helps to maintain a healthful weight.
Is this not enough to make you curious to learn more about a vegetarian diet?
Beans can make up a good part of a vegetarian’s diet yet now that it’s summer, we often forget about them. Typically we allocate beans as the protein in soups, chili and creamy, hardy dips, and lose sight of how delicious they are chilled in hot weather dishes.
Take into account the fiber-filled bean salad. Beans offer protein (repair damaged tissue, transport nutrients through your blood stream, and build strong muscles), market-fresh vegetables add vitamins and antioxidants (that improve immune function and assist in high quality absorption of beneficial nutrients), and a delicious olive oil dressing for much needed dietary fat (to carry the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K to muscle cells and for insulation).
And, summertime bean salads are fast and easy. You’ll have a filling and flavorful meal the whole family will enjoy in no time!
Summertime Bean Salad
This fresh summer salad is filling yet leaves you light on your feet. Add more or reduce ingredients according to personal choice. If a hardier meal is desired, add in a cup of cooked farro.
Arugula, mesclun or spring mix greens of choice
1 – 1 ½ cups frozen corn, thawed (or equivalent of 2 fresh cobs of corn)
1 can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
½ small purple onion, finely diced
½ medium red bell pepper, diced
1 5-inch piece English cucumber, diced
½ fresh mango, diced
Grape tomatoes, cut in half, as garnish
Chili Lime Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Place a handful or two of arugula on 4 medium-sized salad plates or bowls.
Mix together the remaining salad ingredients from corn to mango in a medium-sized bowl.
Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or pulse in a small blender or food processor until well combined.
Stir vinaigrette into the bean salad mixture and place a few spoonfuls on top of the arugula.
Top salad with grape tomatoes and additional cilantro if desired.
Nutritional analysis (per serving using pinto beans): 297 calories, 33 g carbs, 7.4 g protein, 18 g fat
Exchanges: 2 starches/grains, 1 oz protein, 3 fat servings
Interesting synergy of the Universe – I’m eating a healthy serving of pinto beans doused with substantial spoonfuls of salsa and open my mail. Lo and behold, the Dry Bean Quarterly. Now, you think I kid you, but you never know what finds home in a dietitian’s mailbox.
With many of us either eating to prevent or recover from disease, I was curious to read that eating beans reduces cancer risk. In the Nurses’ Health Study II, eating common beans (as opposed to soybeans, which are oily) and lentils was associated with a significant reduction in breast cancer risk. Significant in research is powerful – it might be a small change in a large population but the change rates high on the board.
Dr. Henry Thompson, the author of the Dry Bean Quarterly, did a pre-clinical trial of his own – just to see if the change in risk was real. It’s keen that a food staple like beans that offers a rich source of protein, resistant starch (not as readily taken up in the bloodstream, thereby keeping blood sugar more constant), and soluble fiber can also keep our breasts cancer-free! The results of his study showed that cancer cells were inhibited by eating beans. Hence, he now recommends at least one-half cup of beans or lentils daily, and as much as 1 1/2 cups of cooked beans a day if you’re adventurous. For more info, log onto www.beaninstitute.com.
Beans, beans, good for your body, the you more you eat, the more you rest — with satisfaction that you’ve done a lot in preventing this disease.
This Valentine’s Day treat the ones you love with a little Mexican style parfait. This dish includes three layers – a savory bean and mushroom layer, a smoky red pepper and corn layer, and a refreshing tomatillo-avocado salsa. Not into the parfait look? This dish can also be “wrapped” with love in a tortilla.
Savory Layer (makes approximately 3 1/3 cup)
1 ½ cup, chopped, mini portabella mushrooms (4 oz)
1 – 15 oz. can no salt added black beans
2 cups cooked, brown rice
1 Tablespoon chili powder
Smoky Layer (makes approximately 1 1/3 cup)
1 red pepper, roasted and chopped
¾ cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup chopped red onion
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
Refreshing Layer (makes approximately 1 ½ cups)
1 cup chopped tomatillos
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, chopped
Juice of 1 Lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
For savory layer combine chopped mushrooms, black beans, and cooked rice in medium size saucepan and cook over medium heat until mushrooms are soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add chili powder.
For smoky layer cook onion in a frying pan over medium-low heat for five minutes. Add corn, red peppers, and water. Cook for an additional five minutes until water has evaporated. Add liquid smoke.
For refreshing layer gently toss tomatillos, cilantro, avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper to mix in a medium bowl.
To assemble, layer approximately ¾ cup savory beans and mushrooms, 1/3 cup smoky red pepper and corn, and a heaping 1/3 cup refreshing salsa in a 1 cup glass.