Black Bean Salad + Plant Protein

Bean salad2I find that beans are one of the most underrated foods. Competing in a world of sexier animal products like meats and cheese, beans are often forgotten. Yet the humble bean is a powerhouse of protein, fiber and antioxidants.

If like me, you don’t eat a lot of animal protein, it’s important to be careful about getting enough protein, and beans are a great option. In my home, humus is a staple and so are different types of lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

A word on plant protein:

Plant proteins are incomplete proteins, meaning they do not have the 9 essential amino acids needed by our bodies to build protein. For this reason, it was thought that different types of plant proteins always needed to be combined to create a complete chain of amino acids. Typical combinations include humus & bread, tortilla & beans, lentils & rice. Recent studies show that as long as you combine various sources of plant protein within a 24 hour window, your body magically combines the amino acids – so if you have lentils at lunch and beans for dinner or are simply eating a good mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, your body has enough to work with from this amino acid ‘pool’.

Black Bean Salad

One of the healthiest varieties of beans is black beans – they are the highest in antioxidants of any bean choice. Cooking them in a pressure cooker if you have one allows you to retain the most antioxidants.

If you are cooking beans from scratch, make sure you always soak them for at least 8 hours, longer if you can – you can also add a strip of kombu seaweed to improve digestibility.

If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can find out more about cooking beans here.

This recipe is a wonderful way to add more beans to your diet. The combination of beans, pineapple, coriander and cayenne pepper give it an exotic edge while the Swiss chard provides a more grounding, nutrient-rich base.

Ingredients

2 cups black beans

2 handfuls pineapple, small chunks (preferably fresh)

4 stalks Swiss chard

4 large tomatoes

1 red onion

4-5 artichoke hearts – I used frozen but you can also use canned, pickled or fresh

A handful of grilled pine nuts

Coriander

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

A dash of sea salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and chili flakes.

Method

Cook beans until tender. Leave to cool.

Chop up all the other ingredients. If you don’t have all the ingredients above, it’s also easy to replace one ingredient for another. Mix everything in a bowl and add the dressing and chopped coriander as garnish.

Enjoy!

Bean salad1

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One Comment

  • Faris on Oct 24, 2013 Reply

    Looks delicious. As you said beans are definitely underrated!

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