Incorporating beans into your diet for heart health

Living Well

February is American Heart Month, and canned beans are a pantry staple that are perfect for both plant-based and heart-healthy eating.

The possibilities are endless when you can choose from pinto beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, kidney beans and more.

Dietitian Kim Galeaz creates healthy meals with canned beans.

Beef ‘n Bean Taco Skillet

Beef ‘n Bean Taco Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet (1.4 oz.) taco seasoning
  • 1 can (~16 oz.) Pinto Beans, any variety, drained
  • 1 can (10.75 oz.) condensed tomato soup
  • ½ cup salsa, mild or spicy
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Directions

  1. Cook beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until well browned; break up any clumps of beef. Drain fat.
  2. Stir taco seasoning into beef. Add beans, soup, salsa and water. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top with cheese.
  3. Serve with flour tortillas. Makes about 4 cups beef ‘n bean mixture (about 6 servings.) Recipe is courtesy of cannedbeans.org.

Dirty Beans ‘n Rice

Dirty Beans ‘n Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 can (about 16 oz.) Kidney Beans, any variety
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked brown or white rice
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, celery, garlic and spices. Cook 4-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in beans and stock. Stir in rice; cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Makes 8 servings. Recipe is courtesy of cannedbeans.org.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 can (~15.5 oz.) Cannellini Beans, any variety, drained and rinsed
  • 1 box (16.5 oz.) red velvet cake mix (Kim used 15.25 oz. box)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup applesauce + 1 or 2 extra tablespoons*
  • Optional topping: frosting of choice (Kim’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe below)

Directions

  1. In small food processor, add beans. Pulse until smooth puree.
  2. Blend cake mix, pureed beans, egg and applesauce in large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds).
  3. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  4. Use 2 standard size cupcake pans with paper liners or sprayed with cooking spray.* Fill each 2/3 full of batter.
  5. Bake in center of oven at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Cupcakes are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  6. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
  7. Add optional topping, as desired. Recipe is courtesy of cannedbeans.org.

Kim’s Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 bag (2 pound bag) powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Add cream cheese and butter to bowl of electric mixer and beat until thoroughly smooth and combined.
  2. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add vanilla and stir until blended.

Kim’s adaptation: add 1 or 2 tablespoon extra applesauce to canned beans in food processor if they need a boost to be blended/pureed. Aim for the beans to be a thick smooth paste, not a liquid puree. Kim made 16 or 17 cupcakes, rather than 24, for fuller cupcake. They still need 12 to 15 minutes maximum cooking time. There will be lots of leftover icing, so if you want to make a ½ batch, that would be more accurate for one batch cupcakes.

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