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Beans for Good Health on a Budget

Updated on September 9, 2011

Eat beans for good health on a budget!


An Ode to the Lowly Misunderstood Navy Bean


Beans are nutritious, delicious, easy to make, and inexpensive. So, why don’t we all eat more of beans? We don’t eat them because we are not familiar with all the easy ways to make beans and how healthy they are for our families.

In today’s economy who doesn’t want to provide an inexpensive tasty and healthy meal?

Beans are packed with protein, minerals, fibers, and vitamins. Beans are known to reduce the risk of many cancers. Many heart doctors recommend beans to help manage cholesterol levels too.

Beans are high in fiber and it is this fiber that helps reduce cholesterol levels. Beans also help maintain a feeling of fullness longer and that is good for your diet. Beans also help to maintain sugar levels.

There are many types of beans. I am going to work with the Navy bean here. I think it absorbs flavors and spices the best.

There is a bit of a social problem (gas!) noted with beans that I think should be addressed, especially if this is what is stopping you from eating the wonderful bean.

Here’s some help with that problem. Introduce beans to your diet a bit each day. This will help your gut develop the digestion ability to NOT have THAT problem.

In general, if you have those kinds of problems do add some quality natural yoghurt to your diet each day. Add about 1 T. a day for a month or just have a serving! This will help your gut develop better digestive enzymes. Many people don’t realize that antibiotic medicines kill all the bacteria both good and bad in our bodies. There are many friendly bacteria in your gut that help you digest your food so that you may get all the health benefits from good food. Dr. Weil recommends taking probiotics. See his web site for the full scoop on this. Oh, while you are at his website be sure and read how he extols the lowly bean too!

Below are the answers to two questions:

1. How do I make dried beans? Hint: easy peasey that’s how!

2. How do I make beans that are tasty, special, different, appealing and that my family will eat?

Basic Recipe for Dried Bean Cooking

Begin with a bag of dried Navy beans (about 8 ounces)

Rinse them in a colander to pick-out anything like rocks or unusual looking beans

Place them in a Dutch oven and cover with filtered water.

Set stove on high and once the beans reach a boil, let them boil for 2-minutes

Take Dutch oven away from heat and let the beans sit for 1 ½ hours.


Soak beans covered in water overnight

Now you are ready for the easy-peasey part.

Throw away the water that the beans were boiled or soaked in.

Rinse the beans

Place them in an electric slow cooker

Cover them with water

Add/stir in:

1 chicken bouillon cube (veg cube if you want)

1 t. cumin

2 t. onion powder

2 t. garlic powder

Turn on high and once they reach that low slow cooker boil let them cook for 3 hours!

They should not boil dry but do watch and add more water if needed!

Taste test a bean to make sure it is soft. If not, cook some more!

Eat them when done or cool the beans and place in the refrigerator over night.

That’s the basic making Navy beans recipe.

Here are some flavorful family pleasers!

NOTE: These recipes are all made the next day with the refrigerator cooled beans.

Recipe for New Mexico Beans

Add a can of enchilada sauce, you pick the spice level

OR add tomatillo sauce (not both!)

Add ¼ C. mild green chiles


Serve with a crumbling of cooked chorizo sausage

Add corn chips (for the kids….beans make a nice dip too!)

Recipe for Pizza Beans

1 jar of pizza sauce heated with the beans

Top the bowl with pepperoni bits and mozzarella cheese

I admit this is the BEST way to get kids to eat beans! Pizza is always a winner!

Recipe for Traditional Navy Beans with Ham Hocks

Cook ham hocks with the beans in the electric slow cooker from the beginning.

Serve with a skillet crisped piece of ham

Corn bread goes nice with this and there are some nice box mixes or homemade is good too!

Recipe for Beans and Greens

Throw in a handful of greens. The greens shown in the picture are Indian Greens and are easy to grow. You can select what greens you want. Greens are wonderful here.

Try some soy sauce on this too.

Recipe for Beans and Veg

You can cook nearly any veg with these beans. I add tomatoes and/or chiles all the time. Carrots are also a nice colorful addition here. Nearly any left-over veg you have will make a nice addition though!

Recipe for Greek Beans

I have NO idea if this is even remotely Greek but I have added some Greek seasonings to these beans and served with a squeezed lemon and cucumber on top. We liked it.

The basic bean recipe freezes real well. My recommendation would be to make the basic beans and freeze family side-dish sized portions. Then when you serve the beans add the variation ingredients above. Make sure your family has side-dish size servings until their tummies are fine with digesting beans.

HINT: The left over beans make great bean dip too! Just add your favorite seasonings!

No more excuses, eat the incredible healthy and inexpensive bean now!


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    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      My daughther is a vegan and beans are very high on her 'i will eat these' list!

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      My daughter went vegetarian a little while ago, so this is really good info. I hear beans are a great source of protein and nutrients, especially for those who have cut meat out of their diet. Thanks for sharing!

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Why thanks BlueSatin! Yes, those of us who grew up familiar with beans KNOW how good and easy they are!

    • profile image

      BlueSatin 6 years ago

      Hello there in New Mexico! That just happens to be my favorite place on earth. I make the trek there from California as often as I can. Those lovely cobalt blue skies and pink sunsets are truly a sight to behold. I hope to visit there again in the spring. Lowly bean? Says who? Nothing at all lowly about 'em. However, I think it's a regional thing. People who hold such an opinion are those who did not grow up eating them and therefore don't know how to cook them. I'd have to say, though, that the folks who really do a bang-up job cooking beans are Southerners. They really know how to season them up with onions, garlic, peppers, spices, etc. and smoky ham. Also, soaking beans is not at all necessary. Never did any of my Southern relatives soak their beans and neither do I. I put on a pot of beans at least twice a month. Pintos, red beans, black beans, navy beans, I love them all! They usually cook in about an hour. If they take hours and hours to cook it's because the beans are old. OR if you add salt to them before they're done. By the way, ham hocks take much longer to cook than the beans, so it's best to give them about an hour head start. I enjoyed reading your article and I hope it encourages people to add more beans to their diet. They're delicious, healthy, inexpensive, AND high in fiber. My regards to the Land of Enchantment!

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Kids are funny about what they will eat and what they will not eat.... I am going to have to try the pizza beans.

    • NMLady profile image

      NMLady 6 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Thanks for your comments.

      My step-daughter thought I was trying to force some horrible food down her UNTIL she tried the pizza beans.

      She liked them. I tried beans on her when she had not known me long! Now, she is okay with MOST of my cooking (lol)

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

      I think one of the first statements that you made is right on, most people don't know what to do with beans, myself included. I did not grow up eating beans much but I try to incorporate them more now as an adult. These are some great recipes that I'm sure I will be trying.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      This is a great hub. I love that you have pointed out the healthy benefits of eating beans. I also love that you have mentioned the pressure cooker because it really cuts down on cooking time for legumes. Beans are healthy for you and they taste pretty good too!