Beans support red blood cell function, support skin cell production, and support nerve function. Beans also contribute to preventing symptoms of osteoporosis, dementia, mental fogginess, irritability, depression and anemia. How do beans do this? With their awesomely high content of folate, containing around 180 micrograms of folate per serving. So, don’t knock beans. They are extremely good for you! They also happen to be very economical, while being an excellent allergen-friendly food (see peanut allergy comments below*).
(*Please keep in mind, however, that some with peanut allergies may react to beans. If you suffer from peanut allergies, speak with your doctor about whether or not you will react to other legumes. If you are cooking for someone with a peanut allergy, consider another dish and forgo making beans.)
That said, beans are pretty easy to work with. And though many are concerned about gas issues, work with dried beans as there seems to be less of an issue with dried beans vs. store bought canned beans. Every now and then, I make a large batch of pinto beans from scratch. I store them and use them over the next few meals with various seasoning combinations. Dinners vary from chili beans for tacos, italian pasta fagioli soup, three bean salad or a quick version of the traditional baked beans.
The secret to success for delicious BBQ-style beans is the sweet onion flavor. If you are out of onions, substitute with a generous amount of onion powder to taste. (I do this often if I’m feeling a bit lazy).
2-3 slices of turkey bacon from humanely raised source (omit if vegan or vegetarian)
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 cups cooked pinto beans (or 3-4 14oz cans, drained and rinsed)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
In a large non-stick skillet, fry the bacon and transfer the bacon to paper-towel lined plate. Pour excess grease/oil into a bowl to discard in the trash later.
With some of the flavored oil remaining, saute’ onion until tender.
Add the remaining ingredients and, if using, crumble the bacon into the bean as well.
Simmer on medium-low heat until the liquid has thickened.