Wednesday, June 27, 2007

My healthy Mexican black bean salad recipe

I previously posted this on the Younger Next Year community blog but am adding it here for easy linking. I made up a big batch this morning. It's high in Protein & fiber, low in fat, easy to make, keeps 5 or 6 days in the fridge and makes a great main dish, salad topper, pocket filler, side course or a quick snack.

2 - 2 lb cans Black Beans
1 - 1 lb can Chick Peas
1 - 1 lb can small red beans
1 - 1 lb can dark red kidney beans
1 large onion
1 tomato
1 large red bell pepper
4 jalapeno peppers
3 tablespoons (heaping) chili powder
Dash of crushed red pepper or other hot stuff. Sometimes I use “Hot Shot”
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil

Drain all but ½ cup of liquid from the back beans which is poured over the beans in the bowl as a base for the dressing. Rinse the beans – & combine in a large bowl. Dice the onion, tomato & peppers mix with the beans. Add chili powder, sprinkle crushed red pepper (to taste) go easy unless you like hot stuff. Drizzle balsamic vinegar & oil over the beans & mix well. Adjust hot peppers & chili powder to your taste. Sometimes I throw in chopped up black olives or sprinkle with cilantro for a little flavor twist.

Serve chilled – keeps well in closed containers in the fridge.

Approximate nutrition information: Serving size ½ cup: 90 calories with only 5 calories from fat 7 grams protein & 6 grams of fiber About 460 mg sodium – although rinsing the beans may reduce this a bit. A good source of iron

For more on the benefits of beans see: Dr. Perricone's 10 Superfoods In a large study of almost 10,000 men and women, those who ate beans four or more times a week cut their risk of coronary heart disease by about 20 percent, compared with those who ate beans less than once a week. It appears that this health benefit was independent of other health habits, since adjustments to account for other important cardiovascular disease risk factors produced minimal change in the risk estimates.

Other studies show that within two to three weeks, diets high in either canned or dry beans (3 to 4 ounces per day) reduce blood cholesterol levels by 10 percent or more: an effect that can result in a 20 percent decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. Beans and lentils have the same potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants—flavonoids and flavonals—found in tea, fruits, grapes, red wine and cocoa beans. In particular, the reddish flavonal pigments in bean and lentil seed coats exert antioxidant activity 50 times greater than vitamin E, protect against oxidative damage to cell membrane lipids, promote healthy collagen and cartilage, and restore the antioxidant powers of vitamins C and E after they’ve battled free radicals.
There is a downside - beans are the "musical fruit" - don't eat too many when you will be sitting for an extended time in a confined space with other people...

Live Long & Prosper,

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