When prepared properly, beans are among the healthiest foods you can enjoy.
Kids might joke about the intestinal gas that comes with a three-bean salad, but even with that risk, a mixed bean salad is a great way to eat healthy and get some enjoyable flavors on your plate at the same time. Because beans have a lot of the right nutrients and allow you to get vital protein without eating animal meats, they’re a favorite of vegetarians and vegans, but they’re delicious to anyone, even if you never met a steak you didn’t love.
How Do You Prepare Beans?
This is vital to properly enjoying beans: they can never be eaten raw. Unlike some vegetables, which feature great health benefits when raw but lose them when cooked, beans are almost the opposite. They’re delicious and nutritious when properly cooked, but eating them raw can and almost certainly will make you sick.
That’s because beans have protective glycoproteins called lectins that keep them from being eaten in the wild. Lectins will poison anyone who eats them, and many animals can smell lectins and will avoid beans because of that.
Humans, however, cannot smell lectins and are at severe risk of food poisoning from eating undercooked beans. The good news, however, is that properly cooking beans kills the lectins, making the beans safe to eat. For this reason, you should never eat beans unless you know they’ve been cooked properly. Beans from a can are cooked in the canning process, so they are always safe to eat. Dried beans, however, must be soaked and boiled before you can consume them.
Why Should You Eat Cooked Beans?
Once beans have been properly cooked, they’re an excellent choice for anyone who wants to add protein and fiber to their diet. Because they’re loaded with both of those nutrients, beans are also great at curbing feelings of hunger. This is because it takes the longest for your body to break down proteins and fiber, so you’ll feel full for longer amounts of time.
They’re also great at providing vital minerals and other nutrients that your body needs. For example, kidney beans are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants and potassium, while Great Northern beans offer calcium.
What Kind of Beans Go In a Mixed Bean Salad?
It depends on what kinds of flavors you’re looking to create in your salad. If you want the beans to stand out and impart flavors of their own in your finished dish, stronger beans such as pinto beans, kidney beans and black beans are good choices. If you’re already planning to add some stronger flavors and want your dish to take on those flavors, white beans such as Great Northern beans or navy beans will absorb and display those flavors well.
How Do I Make a Mixed Bean Salad?
If you’re like most people, you don’t have a lot of time to soak and boil beans, so to make this dish, get some quality canned beans and be sure to rinse off their juices. The beans can be eaten in their juices, but rinsing them will lower the sodium.
Once your beans are ready, you’ll want to mix in whatever herbs and other vegetables you’re using to get that perfect taste. Tomatoes, red onions, peppers, cucumbers, basil and other bright-colored plants make a great addition to most salads, but you’re free to use whatever vegetables and proteins you enjoy!
When you’re looking for a new source of protein, mixed beans are a great option that can leave you satisfied throughout your day. A mixed bean salad can be a great way to get through your day without worrying about hunger!