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Beans – an Underappreciated Food by Teodora Touzharova

As the winter approaches and the weather gets cold, our bodies start to adjust to the outside changes by craving grounding and warming foods such as root vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, and last but not least, beans and legumes.

Beans are a perfect fall and winter food. They are inexpensive, store well, are easy to cook, versatile and a great source of high quality protein, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium and many other micronutrients. They come in many varieties that differ by size, color, taste, texture and cooking time.

Beans often are overlooked because of their reputation for causing digestion issues. While that may be the case for some people, this usually happens because of improper preparation such as undercooking. Soaking beans overnight prior to cooking them will not only decrease the cooking time, but also will help reduce their gas-forming properties. Adding spices such as oregano or cumin or sea vegetables like kombu also aids digestion.

Having canned beans is a great way to prepare a quick meal, but remember to rinse the beans well under running water to reduce their sodium content. You also can choose to cook your own dry beans and store in your fridge for several days to add to salads or to make bean burgers and dips and so much more.

Adzuki Bean Dip

This recipe is great as a dip, spread or side.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked adzuki beans (if you are using canned beans, rinse well under running water)

1/4 cup olive oil (you can use less oil and add water as needed to get to the desired consistency)

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried sage

juice from ½ lime

salt to taste

Blend everything in a food processor and enjoy.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

This easy to make recipe can be served cold or warm and will last for a few days in the refrigerator.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups quinoa (any color)

3 cups of water

1 cup cooked black beans (if you are using canned beans, rinse well under running water)

1 cup cooked corn (if you are using canned beans, rinse well under running water)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 avocado, diced

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

¼ cup olive oil (less can be used as well)

2 tsps cumin, or to taste

juice from 1 lime, or to taste

salt to taste

Rinse the quinoa well using a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a saucepan, add 3 cups of water and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a large bowl and let it cool. Add beans, corn, tomatoes, pepper, avocado, and cilantro. For the dressing, whisk the oil, lime juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl. Add dressing to the quinoa and toss well.

Teodora Touzharova is a local holistic health coach and registered yoga teacher. She offers one-on-one and group health coaching. She also teaches yoga classes in locations throughout Orange County. She can be reached by calling 646-510-1797 or visiting Luminously- Healthy.com.

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