My grandparents (Regina) were from a very poor region of Southern Italy so their whole diet was based on inexpensive leafy greens and protein in the form of beans, lentils and eggs. I grew up eating delicious dishes like Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans), Chickpea Soup and Escarole and Beans not because they were good for me but because it’s what was for dinner.
I realize how lucky I was to be exposed to such incredible food and always want to share just how delicious vegetables, beans and legumes can be. Using beans as an ingredient for main dishes is a foreign concept to most Americans but there no disputing they are an scrumptious yet economical source of protein and fiber. Here’s one dish that might convince you to give it a try.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia; about 1 pound), thinly sliced
- 1 large bunch escarole (about 1-1/2 pounds), washed and torn into pieces
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 15½ - ounce can cannellini beans, undrained
- Parmesan cheese optional but highly recommended
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Lower heat and add a tablespoon of broth or water if onion is browning too quickly.
- Add escarole, cook, turning occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until leaves are tender and stem ends are still crunchy. Sprinkle with salt.
- Stir in beans with their liquid. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until heated through.
- Divide into 4 bowls and top with freshly grated cheese, if desired.
Beans can be used in a slew of other ways to bump up the protein and fiber of what you are already eating.
- Switching out 1 cup of all-purpose flour and replacing it with 1 15 oz can of black beans, pureed.
- Swapping out ½ cup quinoa with ½ cup cooked green lentils in a veggie bowl.
- Replacing mayonnaise with hummus as a sandwich spread.
- Substituting ½ or all of the ricotta in your lasagna with with pureed cannellini beans
If you enjoy our podcast would you write a review for us on iTunes or the podcatcher that you use? We really appreciate you and your time.