Natural Life Magazine

bean soup

Beans: Big Benefits Without Big Bucks

Dried peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas are complex carbohydrates, low in fat and good sources of protein, starch, fiber, iron, calcium and minerals, antioxidants, and B vitamins, especially folic acid. Plus, they provide all this great nutrition inexpensively and are incredibly versatile. Here are some recipes that will become family favorites year round. We encourage you to always use organic ingredients. Enjoy!

Kidney Bean & Tomato Soup

This is a visually and physically warming soup. It serves four with bread and salad, or two by itself.

½ large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 large organic tomatoes, chopped
½ cup water
2 cups kidney beans, cooked
½ green pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp basil

1) Combine onion, garlic, herbs, tomatoes and water in a soup pot.
2) Bring to a boil. Simmer with lid on for ½ hour.
3) Add veggies, and cook for another 15 minutes.
4) Add beans, and cook until they’re hot.
5) Serve with grated cheese or sour cream on top. A vegan alternative is to top with sliced apples.

Groovy Garbanzos

This salad serves six as a side dish.

2 cups chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 onion, chopped
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup wine vinegar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1) Soak chick peas overnight in enough water to cover.
2) Place in a saucepan, adding more water if needed to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until chick peas can be squished between two fingers. Replace water as needed. Drain.
3) Place chick peas in a large serving bowl. Fold in onion.
4) Combine olive oil, vinegar, mustard and basil in a jar and shake well. Pour over warm chick peas; sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Lentil & Cous-Cous Soup

This is a quick, hearty soup that keeps well. Serves six.

¼ large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil or butter
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
5 cups water or stock
2 cups green lentils, cooked
1 tsp tamari
½ cup cous-cous
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Sauté onions, garlic, and thyme in oil in a large soup pot until onions are translucent.
2) Add tomatoes. Add water/stock and boil slowly until tomatoes are very soft and mushy.
3) Add lentils, tamari and ground pepper.
4) Add cous-cous and pepper five minutes before serving, then allow to stand five minutes, covered.
5) Serve with a dark bread and cheese, or a salad.

Lentil Salad

This salad serves 6 as a side dish. Keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week.

1 cup dried green lentils
water (enough to cover lentils)
1 tsp. fresh basil or parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp. fresh chives, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
juice from 1 lemon
1 cup fresh, shelled green peas
1 large tomato, chopped
3 tbsp. yogurt or tofu mayo
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Simmer lentils in enough water to cover for 20 minutes or until soft. Drain.
2) In a small bowl, mix herbs with oil and lemon juice. Add to lentils, along with peas and tomatoes. Toss.
4) Grate pepper over the top. Let cool to room temperature.
5) Serve with a dollop of yogurt or tofu mayo.

These recipes first appeared in The Natural Life Cookbook – Simple Recipes for Healthy Living (The Alternate Press, 1993), which is now out of print.


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