Beans are nutritional powerhouses that deliver tons of fiber and proteins. They are also low in fat, and have no cholesterol. As part of the legumes family, they grow in pods then are shelled and dried. Beans are either round, kidney-shaped, or oval shapes with varying degrees of size and thickness. They come in many colours, flavours and textures and add a great deal of nutrition to any meal, primarily protein and complex carbohydrates. Because they do not have essential amino acids, it is important to combine them with grains.
Rich in magnesium, these legumes have a velvety texture and a subtly sweet taste that goes well with smoky flavors, such as bacon or chipotle. Pair brightly colored vegetables and fruits with the shiny purple-black beans for festive salads. Black beans are available dried or canned.
Small, plump, and spotted, these beans are an excellent source of folate (important for pregnant women). Their earthiness complements salty meats, like bacon and ham.
These large, rosy beige kitchen mainstays (also known as white Italian kidney beans) are creamy and delicately flavored.
Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are consumed more than any other beans in the world. Round and firm, with a nutty flavor, they're the basis of hummus.
Great Northern Beans
These small, white, kidney-shaped beans are an especially good source of calcium. Because they're mild and easily absorb seasonings, they work well in stews and soups.
This popular chili ingredient, known for its reddish skin and white interior, packs protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and about the same amount of cancer-fighting antioxidants as blueberries.
Green, flat, oval-shaped lima beans-both the larger, potassium-packed butter (or Fordhook) beans and the sweeter baby limas-have a buttery flavor and a starchy interior that can turn mushy, so they're best in quick sautés. They are often sold cooked and frozen.
These light brown beans have substantial amounts of fiber and protein. Their earthy flavor and smooth texture works well in dips and stews or in Mexican refried beans.