Aren’t they pretty?

Maybe not pretty, but they are simple and good.

Beans are so versatile. You can make several different kinds of chili, soup, and dips. You can find a recipe for pasta e fagioli here. There’s baked beans and three bean salad. Add beans to salads, tacos, or to stretch meat dishes such as sloppy joes. They come in different colors, flavors and textures. Don’t forget about green beans and peas.

Beans are so healthful. Beans are full of fiber and contain B vitamins, folate, potassium and calcium. The more colorful a bean is the more antioxidants it contains. They are a great substitute for meat when mixed with a grain. The soybean is the exception as it is a complete protein. I’ve added beans to my diet to help lower my cholesterol. I’m trying to eat a half cup of beans on most days. I find an easy way to do this on the days that beans are not part of a main course is to throw some beans into a salad. I am particularly fond of the garbanzo bean or “chick pea”. It has a nutty, rich flavor that goes so nicely with a light oil and vinegar salad dressing. You could also make a southwestern inspired salad and add black beans.

Beans are so frugal. Beans are downright cheap. When you find a sale it’s even better. I recently found beans for under 45 cents a can and I stocked up. They will last for quite a while. I always drain and rinse my canned beans to lower the sodium content. It’s even more frugal to buy dry beans and cook them up yourself. You can do these ahead and tuck away portions in your freezer. Make sure to buy dry beans where there is a lot of turnover or you could end up with old beans that will never get soft no matter how long you cook them.

I’m seeing some four-bean chili in my future.