Veggie of the Month -- Beans and Peas

Did you know that eating beans and peas is a great way to add muscle-building protein to your diet?

Beans and Peas Facts:

  • Beans and peas can be used as a source of protein, which is one of the food groups shown on MyPlate.
  • Beans and peas are often less expensive than other protein foods: meat, fish, poultry and eggs.

  • Beans and peas are low in fat, high in fiber, tasty, and colorful!

Types and uses:
  • Dry beans and peas can be used as main dishes, side dishes, in soups or salads, and served as a vegetable.
  • Used canned beans instead of dried beans when cooking in a time crunch.  Make sure to rinse them first to remove extra salt.

Choosing and Preparing Dry Beans and Peas:
  • Pick dried beans and peas that are bright, and uniform in color and size.  Cracked coats and loss of color are signs of low quality.
  • Sort to remove small stones and wrinkled beans and peas.  Accidentally biting into a stone can cause you or a family member to break a tooth!
  • Soak dry beans overnight.  Or if you are in a rush, bring 1 pound of dried beans and 8 cups of water to a boil for 2 minutes, then let the beans soak for 1-2 hours. 
  • Simmer the soaked beans for 2-4 hours, with the lid slightly open, until tender.  Add flavorings such as spices and vegetables to your beans.  Add water as needed, making sure your beans do not dry out.
Feeling adventurous?  Try our Bravo Bean Salad!

Bravo Bean Salad
Serves 20

1 can red kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 celery stalk, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 cup light ranch dressing
Baked tortilla chips (optional)

  1.  Pour the beans into a strainer and rinse.
  2. Dice onion, pepper, and celery stalk.
  3. In a large bowl, combine beans and vegetables.
  4. Stir in 1/2 cup of light ranch dressing.
  5. Enjoy!

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall