White beans: Superfood of the week

Written by Kate Jonuska on . Posted in Food

whitebeansFiber is a main ingredient in many items classified as superfoods, and for good reason. Fiber keeps you full and regular, both for a relatively low fat trade-off.

One third of a cup of beans offers up to 12 grams of fiber, which is almost half of the USDA recommended amount for adult women. The fats present in beans are of the “good” variety, including the omega class.

More importantly for vegetarians, beans are a natural and inexpensive source of protein, vital for keeping your energy levels up. And remember beans’ fiber? Vegetarians luck out there because meat has none.

This dish is versatile in that it can be served as a side dish or as a main dish when you serve the veggies over pasta. I enjoy orzo, which is now sometimes available in whole wheat.


White Beans with Fennel and Tomatoes
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main dish

1/2 onion
1 fennel bulb, fronds retained and set aside
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 or up to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pint tomatoes, either grape or cherry, halved
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 can no salt added white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Parmesan cheese
8 ounces orzo pasta, whole wheat if possible, cooked (optional)

Chop onion and fennel into 1/2-inch-square pieces. Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add onion and fennel and sprinkle with salt. Stir occasionally. Cook until fennel begins to soften, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium low if vegetables begin to brown too much.

Gently stir in the tomatoes, oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper (if desired). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. (Meanwhile, cook the orzo, if you’re making the meal option.)

Continue cooking over medium low to medium heat about 5 minutes longer, until tomatoes release some of their juices but are not wholly dissolved.

Stir in the beans and continue to heat until beans are warmed through and tomato juice coats the beans. Add a handful of Parmesan cheese. Serve warm, over orzo if desired.
croppedKate Jonuska is a freelance writer, photographer, food blogger and tech enthusiast who is also dining critic at The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs. (Thus the reason for no headshot here.) On the rare occasions when she's not cooking or eating, you'll find her hiking with her beloved dog, a corgi named Ein.

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