Beans and Greens - 20 Uses Beyond Salads

Slipping nutritious foods into your diet is easy when you have a little inspiration. In last month's issue of In Touch with Kowalski's, Sue Moores gave us 3 Tips for the Healthiest Year Possible. We've come up with some effortless ways to incorporate her advice into some of our favorite meals and snacks. With these simple choices, we're finding Sue's advice (and these recipe ideas) particularly easy to swallow!

Beans

She suggested we eat more beans in 2013, and we're finding Sue's suggestion a delicious one! Here are some creative ideas for adding these heart-healthy all-stars to everything from pasta to salsa.

  • BeansAdd a can to almost any soup recipe. We're loving navy beans in Chicken Noodle and chickpeas in Tomato Basil.
  • Add beans to pasta. In Italy, this is pretty common. Rinse and drain your favorite canned variety and add it to a jar of your favorite pasta sauce. In meat sauces, use beans in place of all or part of the meat.
  • Make a bean spread (a la hummus), with another variety of beans besides chickpeas.
  • Fresh green beans, wax beans or haricots vert are great steamed or sautéed, drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Or try them tossed with Kalbi Marinade or your favorite stir fry sauce.
  • Use beans as a filling in enchiladas, tacos and on nachos in place of all or part of the meat your recipe calls for.
  • Add canned beans to your favorite jarred salsa or salsa recipe.
  • Add canned beans to a favorite casserole, such as Tuna Casserole or Chicken Tetrazzini.
  • Chickpeas make for a great snack alternative to popcorn and nuts when roasted. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas; let dry on paper towels. Toss dry beans lightly with olive oil and desired seasoning. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a preheated 400° oven for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until beans are dark golden and crunchy. Let cool completely before serving.
  • Baked beans are great any time of year. Try them with pork chops or steak.
  • Make a black bean relish to scoop up with tortilla chips or to serve on pork, chicken or salmon.

Featured Recipes

Black Bean Confetti Relish
Bean and Corn Enchiladas with Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce
Mexican Baked Beans
Kalbi Green Beans
Spicy Moroccan Chickpeas
Tarragon Pesto and Pasta

Greens

Our Nutritionist also suggested eating a fruit or veggie at every meal or snack. Since we're obsessed with greens, we've come up with some ways to add them to the menu, too.

If you're thinking it's all salad, all the time, think again. Of course you can add them to salads, too, but these ideas are particularly great for winter and easy to adapt to suit your appetite.

  • WatercressStir them into soup. Baby spinach takes only a minute or two to wilt in a soup such as Vegetable or Minestrone, and kale or Swiss chard can be chopped (ribs removed) and will be tender in about 15 minutes. Try it in Chicken Noodle or Bean Soup.
  • Stir them into rice or grain dishes. Spinach and arugula will wilt from the heat of just-cooked grains. If you want to add kale, chard or collard greens, sauté them first.
  • Roast kale or chard to make snackable kale chips.Toss chopped greens with a little bit of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast at 425° on a parchment-covered baking sheet until the edges are dark and the greens are crispy. (Yum!)
  • Stir them into pasta. Spinach and arugula will wilt from the heat of just-cooked pasta. If you want to add kale, chard or collard greens, sauté them first.
  • Curly EndiveUse sautéed greens in place of starchy grains as a base layer for broiled or baked fish.
  • Sauté them in the pan until tender, then add scrambled eggs before cooking. Cook eggs as usual.
  • Add fresh spinach or arugula to a quiche mixture before baking. (To use kale, chard or collard greens, sauté them first.)
  • Add shredded cabbage of any kind, especially Napa or Bok Choy, to a stir fry.
  • Add fresh spinach or arugula to a casserole mixture, such as Tuna Casserole or Chicken Tetrazzini, before baking. (To use kale, chard or collard greens, sauté them first.)
  • Add chopped fresh spinach to a pizza before baking. (To use kale, chard or collard greens, sauté them first.)

Featured Recipes

Chicken Noodle Soup with Navy Beans and Kale
Linguini with Kale, Roasted Tomatoes and Chicken
Sautéed Kale with Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries
Italian Cannellini Bean and Spinach Soup
Spinach and Salmon Quiche
Fall Harvest Pizza
Sautéed Swiss Chard
Porcini Mushroom and Sausage Soup

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