Beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and a wonderfully cheap source of fiber, protein, and vitamins that will keep you full and healthy. There are a variety of different beans that you can add to your diet to help form protein and build muscle from the amino acids that they contain. For this recipe, I chose to focus on pinto beans because of the delicious creamy texture that goes well in a soup and will keep you full throughout the day whilst getting all the added benefits that beans give you.
Pinto beans have a low GI which means that they don’t spike your blood sugar when you eat them. They also contain a plethora of nutrients such as: molybdenum, folate, fiber, copper, phosphorus, manganese, protein, vitamin B1 & B6, magnesium and iron. For 1 cup of super filling, fibrous beans they only contain 245 calories which is outstanding if you pair them with some rice and a large amount of hardy veggies.
Because of the high fiber content in pinto beans, they help reduce cholesterol levels which makes them any especially good choice for people with diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypoglycemia. The soluble fiber in pinto beans also make them a great food to help relieve constipation and help prevent and reverse digestive disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
The folate, magnesium, and potassium that beans contain help lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Folate on it’s own helps to lower levels of homocysteine in the blood which when high enhances the risk for heart attack, stroke, and other forms of heart disease. The magnesium in the beans helps to improve the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients having beneficial cardiovascular effects. As well, the potassium in pinto beans is super important to the muscles (including the heart), helping them to have an easier time contracting, contributing to a healthy heart.
All beans including pinto beans are a fantastic source of iron, an integral part of hemoglobin which transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the cells in the body contributing to a healthy metabolism and energy production (whfoods.com).
Beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and provide us with so many benefits while giving us a good source of protein, lots of nutrients and being relatively fat-free. The American Heart Association recommends that everyone has 5 servings a week of legumes (1/2 cup is the recommended serving), while the NHS in the UK recommends 5 servings of fruit and veggies a day allowing beans to count towards those 5 a day, the Canadian Food Guide suggests 7-10 servings of fruit and veggies a day also allowing beans to contribute to that and Dr. Greger (my favourite plant based doctor) recommends 3 servings a day. So if you aim for any of these recommendations you will be keeping your body full of soluble fiber and will be healthier for it!
Here is a link to this printable checklist made by Dr. Greger to make sure you are getting all the whole food vitamins and nutrients you need in your daily diet.
Check out the recipe below using pinto beans to boost the intake of legumes in your regular diet and stay warm in the winter!
Golden Pinto Bean and Potato Soup
- 1250g potatoes or 5-6 large russet or yellow potatoes with the skins on (peeled if you desire)
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 4 large carrots chopped
- 2 cans pinto beans
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tsp better than bouillon (vegan and reduced sodium)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- sprinkle of salt if desired
- Peel and dice red onion.
- Peel and mince garlic. Sauté the onion and garlic in 1 inch of water (**Water-fry**see notes**) in a medium to large pot for around 5 minutes at medium to high heat until translucent and fragrant.
- Wash and chop potatoes into 1 inch cubes (peel if desired) and dice carrots. No need to peel these veggies as long as they are washed really well. Add them to the pot along with 4 cups of water and the tsp of better than bouillon.
- Add in the two cans of pinto beans. I always strain and rinse my beans thoroughly, especially when they are from a can.
- Next you will add your spices: the turmeric and dried thyme. Stir all ingredients really well.
- Let the soup cook for around 10-15 minutes on medium heat until the potatoes and carrots are fully cooked and tender (you are able to pierce them easily with a fork).
- Once the soup is fully cooked you my reduce it to a simmer or the warming setting to keep it warm mixing in the nutritional yeast and a bit of salt if desired. **If you are trying to reduce your salt intake then only add salt to the top of your food when it is already put in your personal bowl as you mainly taste the salt on the top of your food.**
Serve warm with rustic sour dough bread and enjoy!
INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:
- If your have an instant pot you may use the sauté setting to water-fry your diced red onions and minced garlic for 5 minutes in 1/2 cup of water until translucent and fragrant.
- Then chop, peel and dice the remaining ingredients as the above recipe describes and add it into the instant pot.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the instant pot EXCEPT the nutritional yeast and salt.
- Set the instant pot to 9 minutes on manual and close the knob on the top of the pot to sealing.
- Once fully cooked (the timer is complete) the instant pot will start releasing the pressure naturally. Allow it to do so for 10 minutes then switch the knob on the top to venting. This will allow the pot to release any steam that has not escaped the pot yet.
- Take off the lid and mix in the nutritional yeast.
Serve warm with rustic sour dough bread and enjoy!
**Water-fry** Water-frying means to fry your food with water instead of oil. Place 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the non-stick pan or rock pan (non-stick or rock pans are best for this) and cook as usual. This will allow your food to fry the same as usual without the greasiness and non-nutritious calories that oil provides.