Think that can of 4-bean mix in your pantry is uninspiring? Think again. Here are 10 nutritious and delicious meal ideas using that humble can of mixed beans.
Do you have a can or two of 4-bean mix in the back of your pantry, just begging to be used every time you open the door? You know beans are healthy, but maybe you have run out of ideas about what to do with them. And eating them straight out of the can isn’t overly appealing.
Let’s explore some culinary applications for the humble can of mixed beans.
4-bean mix is made up of cannellini beans, chickpeas, red kidney beans and lima beans. They are all jam-packed full of nutrients such as thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, zinc and selenium. Plus they are a good source of low GI carbs and fibre, contain a decent whack of protein and very little sugar. Studies show that eating beans can help to lower cholesterol levels, due to their soluble fibre content. Plus they can help to keep us regular. They are a nutritional winner.
Here are my top 10 meal ideas using a can of 4-bean mix
1. Mexe bean tacos
Any night can be ‘Taco Tuesday’ with the addition of 4-bean mix. Boost the nutrition and taste profile of your favourite taco by adding the beans along with some spices such as paprika, coriander and chilli to your tortilla or taco shell.
2. Homemade baked beans
Baked beans are an Australian staple. To make your own, simply add a can of 4-bean mix to some passata or tinned tomatoes and toss through some herbs and spices. Serve them hot or cold, or team them with eggs on grainy toast for a delicious (and nutritious) start to the day.
This is the perfect wintry dish to create when you’ve got leftover or tired veggies. Traditionally made with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and capsicum, you can boost the protein and fibre content of ratatouille by tossing in a can of 4-bean mix. Serve the ratatouille with pasta, or dish it up as an accompaniment to meat, chicken or fish.
4. Veggie soup
Soup is the perfect winter warmer. And there’s no better way of increasing the nutrient content than by adding beans to the mix. Protein and fibre help to increase satiety, the feeling of fullness, so adding in a can of 4-bean mix not only makes your soup even tastier, but so very hearty and wholesome.
Liven up any salad with the addition of 4-bean mix. This nutritional dynamo adds colour, important nutrients and muscle-building protein. The addition of mixed beans means that salad doesn’t have to be rabbit food.
6. Burger pattie
Beef up your homemade burger pattie with a can of 4-bean mix. It’ll make your mince stretch further, and save you a few bucks off your food bill.
7. Beef stew
Slow-cooked meals may be just the order of the day in the cooler months. Top up your stews with a tin of mixed beans. The beans will be even more delicious when they soak up all the flavours and juices from the meat and veggies.
8. Chicken wrap
Fill your lunchtime wrap with a selection of different coloured vegetables and a can of 4-bean mix. It’ll be sure to keep you motoring on well into the afternoon and hopefully help you dodge 3:30-itis.
9. Buddha bowl
Buddha bowls are my favourite culinary creation. The idea is to include a variety of different plant-based foods + protein together in a bowl. Add in a can of mixed beans for an enlightening meal.
10. Tofu curry
Top up your hearty tofu curry with a can of 4-bean mix. It’ll add a stack of nutrients as well as a different textural component to the dish. Your taste buds will thank you.
Happy cooking, everyone!