About Kidney Beans

Kidney beansOne of the earliest cultivated crops, beans offer nourishment to both us and the soil. As is the case with all legumes, they are nitrogen fixers. This means that they have symbiotic bacteria within their root systems that produce nitrogen compounds that help the plant to grow. When the plant dies, it releases this nitrogen into the soil thus acting as a natural fertilizer.

Kidney Beans are an excellent source of vegetable protein, containing 15 grams of protein/cup. Because they are also a good source of soluble fiber, they have been shown to reduce serum cholesterol levels. They help regulate blood sugar levels because they are a complex carbohydrate, which supplies stable energy over a longer period of time than simple carbohydrates, that provide a burst of energy and then leave us feeling depleted.

This powerful little bean provides iron, that is an integral part of transporting oxygen to all of the body’s cells. Thiamin, a B-vitamin, is a critical component for brain cell and cognitive function and kidney beans have it in spades, as well as manganese, essential for energy production and supporting our antioxidant defense systems.

Unsure of trying kidney beans because of unwanted intestinal gas? Those unfortunate side effects come from complex trisaccharide sugars, stachyose and raffinose, that our systems cannot digest. Soak your beans for at least 8 hours (overnight makes it easy!) to leach out those indigestible sugars and also phytic acid, which binds to the minerals. By removing phytic acid, the minerals become more available to our metabolisms. Do NOT cook your beans in the soaking water, which now contains the phytic acid and the undigestible sugars. Strain them, rinse thoroughly, and then cook. Soaking cuts down on the cooking time, too.

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Kidney Bean Sloppy Joes

Kidney beans

We are rolling into picnic season, so we thought we’d offer a meatless version of this classic. It makes about 8 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup dried Nash’s kidney beans, soaked for 12-24 hours, drained, and cooked
8 rolls of your choice

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and green pepper and sauté until tender. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Prepare cooked kidney beans by roughly chopping before adding to the skillet. Once added, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Spoon bean mixture evenly into rolls of your choice and serve immediately. Enjoy this childhood classic!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

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Kia’s Chilled Veggie & Bean Salad

Kidney beansThis wonderful summer salad hits the spot for cookouts, as a topping for a fresh green salad, or as a high-protein snack on the go. It’s also versatile, so get creative about what types of veggies you use, depending what’s in your fridge or your weekly CSA box!

You can also mix up the types of beans you use in this dish. Any combination of black, kidney, garbanzo, Nash’s dried favas, or even lentils will work well.

This recipe was whipped up for one of Nash’s’ July Farm Lunches, as a topping for tacos. It makes about 3-4 quarts. Downsize the ingredient list accordingly, to make a smaller batch, as desired.

1 medium zucchini
1 medium-large cucumber
1 small-medium Wall Walla onion or red onion
1 green or red pepper
6-8 cups cooked beans (any kind!)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups fresh cilantro, finely minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce
(A cup or two of fresh cut corn and some diced tomatoes are also wonderful in this salad. I didn’t have any on hand at the time, but they would be a great addition!)

Shred or small diced the zucchini, cucumber, onion and pepper. Add the cooked beans to the fresh veggies and toss well.

Combine the vinegar, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, oregano, fresh cilantro, chili powder and liquid aminos or tamari with the veggies and beans, and mix everything up really well.

Eat immediately, or let dish rest for an hour or two, or even a full day if possible, for the marinade to work its magic!

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Kia’s Bean Dip

Kidney Beans

What’s your favorite bean to make into dip? Let us know in the comments below!

You can use pretty much any bean you want in this recipe. Seriously. I recently did a combo of Nash’s dried fava beans, black beans and the last of my dried scarlet runner beans from the garden last year. Any combo of beans (or lentils!) will work great for this recipe, so use up the little bits of this and that in your pantry and get dippin’!

5 cups cooked beans, drained
1/3 cup Walla Walla onions or red onions, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 cup salsa, or fresh or canned tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, or ground cumin, or chili powder
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine everything in a food processor or blender and whirl it up! Thin with a splash of water or more olive oil as needed. Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for up to 5 days or so. This dip is great with raw veggies, pitas, chips, burritos or as a side with rice and a green salad. Yum!

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Sausage Bean Pasta Ragout

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Nash’s ground pork sausage
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups cooked beans (kidney, pinto, black)
4 teaspoons dried basil, or 1 cup fresh
3 teaspoons oregano
Crushed red pepper, to taste
1/2 cup macaroni
2 cups fresh greens (kale/chard/spinach/arugula/cabbage)
1/3 cup grated romano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: grated beets, carrot, and turnips

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 6 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until brown, breaking up meat with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, beans, basil, oregano, and dried crushed red pepper. (Optional: add grated beets, carrot, and turnips too!) Simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook until tender but still firm to bite, about 15 more minutes. Add greens and cook just until wilted, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Mix in 1/3 cup cheese and more fresh basil, if you have some. Season ragout with salt and pepper; ladle into bowls. Serve, passing additional cheese separately.

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Warm Quinoa Salad with Cilantro and Kidney Beans

quinoa plant

Ever wondered what a quinoa plant looks like? We eat the seeds that grow in pyrimid-shaped heads.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium-large red onion, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1 cup dry white quinoa
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1 1/2 cup of vegetable or chicken broth (water can be substituted)
1 cup dried kidney beans, soaked overnight, rinsed well and pre-cooked
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
4 cups spinach
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Lime for garnish

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onion and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa, paprika, cumin, chili powder, and salt; stir to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups broth or water and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer, covered, until the quinoa is almost soft and most of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Add the beans and half the cilantro; cook until they are heated through, uncovered, and no water remains, about 3-4 minutes. Serve on a bed of spinach and scatter the feta and remaining cilantro on top. Garnish with lime wedges. Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from
50 Best Plants on the Planet: The Most Nutrient-Dense Fruits and Vegetables, in 150 Delicious Recipes by Cathy Thomas.

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Aquacotta-Tuscan Peasant Soup

4 cups onions, sliced 1/3 inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt
3 cups celery, chopped fine, including leaves
3 cups savoy or green cabbage
2 cups lacinato kale, sliced fine
1 cup firm tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed
8 leaves basil
Broth, vegetable or chicken
1/3 cup dried Nash’s kidney beans, soaked, cooked and drained
12 slices day old bread
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
6 eggs

Place onion, salt, and olive oil in a pan and cook until onion wilts. Add celery, cabbage, and kale, and stir. Add tomatoes, basil, and broth until all veggies are covered by 2 inches, and simmer 2-3 hours. Add beans and pepper to taste.

Toast bread and soft-cook the eggs. Don’t overcook because you want the yolk runny. Place a piece of toasted bread in bottom of soup bowl, ladle the soup on top, sprinkle with some cheese, and top with an egg.

From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazen.

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Six Tips for Cooking Dried Beans

Don’t shy away from any great legume just because it’s dried. Here are some preparation suggestions, thanks to The Kitchn.

diana fava beans

Need some inspiration for your bean dishes? Try diana fava beans, the smaller and rounder sibling to the more typical lima bean-shaped windsor fava bean. They’re super tasty!

1. Use as little water as possible. Don’t let the beans get soggy or ultra-soft, because that dilutes their rich pot liquor, the incredibly flavorful liquid that comes off as they cook. Cook them slowly over low heat, only adding water if they start to dry up. Add enough water to just cover the beans, bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, as low as you can.

2. Don’t mess with the beans. Some people add bacon, ham or garlic. However, well-grown heirloom beans have incredible ranges of flavor, nothing like canned beans. Try a couple pots of beans with just salt and pepper. You’ll be surprised at what you taste.

3. Don’t forget the salt! Beans need some salt. They have immense natural flavor, but they need some salt to bring it out, and they absorb quite a bit before it starts show through. Add a teaspoon of salt to the cooking water and more to taste in the last half hour of cooking.

4. Soak the beans. Rinsing dried beans then soaking them overnight in clean water will reduce the cooking time for most beans, although good fresh dried beans are less in need of a soak.

5. Cook dried beans for the right amount of time. Cooking time depends on the bean, but usually you’re looking at about 2-4 hours. Cover with water and simmer on an evening when you’re doing other things. Refrigerate and eat over the next several days.

6. Fresh beans need less cooking time. Freshly hulled beans will cook in about 45 minutes or less.

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No-Guilt Bean Dip

kidney beans

Nash’s grows kidney beans? That’s right! Get kidneys along with a variety of other legumes and grains at the store or our farmer’s markets.

Makes about 5 cups

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups cooked Nash’s dried corn, cooked until very soft
1 32-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1-3 tablespoons salt (to taste)
6 cups cooked kidney beans, cooked until mushy

In a large Dutch oven or sauce pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened and just turning golden. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add corn and tomatoes and cook until excess liquid from tomatoes has simmered away. Stir in spices, brown sugar, and one tablespoon salt.

Stir in beans, using the bowl of your spoon to smash the beans against the bottom and sides of the pan. Continue stirring and smashing until the beans are as mashed as you like. Leave some of the beans still whole for the texture if you like. Taste and add salt and other seasonings as needed. Serve with thinly sliced pieces of toast, vegetable sticks, pita chips, or tortilla chips.

We thank The Kitchn for this great recipe.

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Grain and Bean Soup

Spilling the Beans

“I like to stir in a big handful of cheese and garnish the top with some as well!” says Lynne Vea, PCC Chef.

1 cup Nash’s dried kidney beans (or any other dried beans, such as cannellini, navy, adzuki, black-eyed peas, etc. in any combination)
1/2 cup Nash’s whole grain wheat berries (kamut or barley also work)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon rosemary
6 to 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 can (14 ounces) Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (or your favorite brand)
1/2 cup lentils (optional)
2 cups frozen tortellini
2 cups winter greens, such as chard, kale or collards, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Romano or Parmigiana cheese for garnish

Soak the beans and grains together in about 3 cups of cold water overnight. Drain and proceed with the recipe.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the vegetables and herbs for 5 minutes. Add 6 cups of the stock, the tomatoes and the soaked beans and grains. Add the lentils here if you are using them. Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beans are tender. (Add a little more stock if the mixture is too thick.) Stir in the tortellini and the greens and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes more or until the pasta is just al dente. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve garnished with freshly grated Romano or Parmigiana cheese.

We thank Lynne Vea, PCC Chef, for this recipe. It appeared originally in PCC Fresh in January 2010.

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