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Beans are Heart Healthy

With the price of food on the rise you might be looking for some inexpensive meal options. Look no further than the canned bean aisle at your supermarket! Beans are cheap, versatile, and packed with good nutrition. In fact, the American Heart Association suggests that eating beans as part of a heart healthy diet can help to improve your cholesterol levels.

When I can I like to cook dry beans from scratch, but I almost always have a can or two of beans in the pantry for quick meals. Here are a couple of my favorite recipes:

Smashed Chickpea Salad

· 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

· 3 Tablespoons light mayonnaise

· 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

· ¼ cup diced onion

· ¼ cup diced celery

· Black pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl smash the chickpeas with a potato masher or sturdy fork. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Serve on bread as a sandwich or as a salad topping. Makes 4 servings.

Quick Black Bean Soup

· 2 cans low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

· 1 small onion, diced

· 2 cloves garlic minced

· 2 teaspoons cumin

· 2 cups low sodium vegetables broth

· Salt and pepper, to taste

Add a splash of the vegetable broth to a pot over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, about 3-5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add cumin and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Add half (about 1 1/2 cups) of beans and remaining broth to the pot. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and mash the beans with a potato masher or use a hand-held blender to blend until smooth. Return to heat and add remaining beans and optional ingredients (see below.) Simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Season with additional salt and/or pepper to taste. Serve as is or with suggested toppings. Makes 4 servings.

Optional ingredients: Canned tomatoes w/ chiles, chopped tomato, chopped peppers, corn, sliced zucchini, brown rice.

Optional toppings: Avocado, chopped tomato, chopped onion, shredded cheese, cilantro, squeeze of lime, tortilla chips.

While beans are great for heart health, too much sodium is not. When choosing canned beans look for the lowest sodium option available. Rinse and drain beans to remove even more sodium.

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