I’m not a vegetarian, but it would be very easy to be one here in Mexico. Like I mentioned in this maize post, the diet of pre-Hispanic Mexican civilizations didn’t contain a lot of meat. Their main ingredients were maize, squash, chiles, amaranth, and wild greens among many others. One of the of most important ingredients was beans. When mixed with the other ingredients already mentioned they created a healthy and balanced diet that allowed civilizations to thrive for thousands of years.
Beans are one of those super foods that, when you include it in your diet, really makes a difference in your health. Here are some of the benefits of eating beans:
Each half-cup serving of beans provides:
- 6 to seven grams of protein
- only 100 to 120 calories
- an average of 25 grams of carbohydrates per serving. The carbohydrates in cooked beans are mainly starch, a complex carbohydrate, and less than 1% of simple sugars, mostly Sucrose
- about 25-30% of the Daily Value of dietary fiber. About 75% of the fiber is insoluble which may reduce the risk of colon cancer. The remaining 25% of the fiber is soluble fiber which may reduce blood cholesterol.
- less than 0.5 grams of mostly polyunsaturated fat and no cholesterol. Pinto bean lipid is 84% polyunsaturated fatty acids. Most of this fatty acid is linoleic acid.
- provides 36% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of 400 micrograms of folacin and 11% of the RDI for thiamin.
- contains large amounts of iron, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium, and zinc.
Other benefits of eating beans are:
- They provide a complimentary protein profile when beans and grains are served together in dishes like beans and rice, or tortillas and refried beans, .
- They produce a moderate increase in blood glucose and insulin levels which may be helpful in the metabolic control of diabetes.
- The slower release of glucose and the increased satiety from beans may also to enhance the effectiveness of weight-reducing diets.
Are you a convert yet? No? What if I told you they’re delicious too and so versatile you can use them with almost every other food group. But I don’t want to just tell you. I want to show you. Remember these gorgeous scarlet runner beans?
I had some leftovers from the risotto with mushrooms and squash blossom I used them for and decided to use them to stuff some zucchinis for a vegetarian dish that turned out so delicious we didn’t even miss the meat.
- Bean Stuffed Zucchinis
- The ingredients:
- •6 zucchinis, I used eight ball zucchini squash, the round zucchini that is very common in Mexico
- •2 cups cooked scarlet runner beans with broth
- •2 TBSP olive oil
- •1/4 white onion, chopped
- •1 garlic clove, minced
- •4 roma tomatoes
- •1 smoked chipotle pepper
- •spices: dried rosemary, basil
- •salt and pepper to taste
- •Melting cheese, I recommend Chiuahua cheese, but you can use mozzarella.
- The how-to:
- Trim the zucchini tops and trim just enough from the bottom so they can stand upright. Cut them in half sideways.
- Scoop out some of the zucchini flesh leaving about ⅛" thick shell. Reserve the flesh.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°C (175°F).
- In a saucepan saute onion and garlic. Add the zucchini flesh you saved and cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and spices.
- Drain beans saving the broth for the sauce.
- Stir in the beans and turn heat off.
- Arrange zucchini shells in a baking dish or pan.
- Drizzle some olive oil, salt and pepper on the zucchinis. Stuff with the bean and zucchini mix.
- Blend tomatoes and chipotle pepper with the bean broth and pour over the zucchini. Place some cheese on top of each zucchini.
- Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes or until the zucchini shells are cooked.