Less Meat, More Beans and Legumes

Beans and Legumes

Are you trying to eat less meat as a goal for 2020? Adding beans and legumes to your diet can be daunting if you are just starting out. Canned beans are the easiest to use but dried beans are the least expensive.

  • Click here to learn why we should eat beans and legumes.

Using dried beans in your cooking requires a little advanced planning.

  • Click here for an excellent overview on how to prepare dried beans the old fashioned way

Do you have an Instant Pot?

  • Click here for instructions and recipes on cooking dried beans in an instant pot.

Click here for recipes using beans and legumes.

Interested in trying a vegan diet but don’t know where to start? Click here to try the FREE 21 day Vegan Kickstart offered by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

I use both canned and dried beans depending on what I am making and I do not have an instant pot-I plan ahead!

I normally make bean soup on Sundays in a slow cooker so on Saturday I put 2 cups of dried assorted beans in a bowl and cover with water and let sit. I put the bowl in the fridge over night.

Sunday morning- drain the beans and then put in a pot and cover with fresh water and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that forms. I let the beans boil for a minute or 2 and then take off the heat, cover and let sit while I prep the rest of my soup.

Mixed Bean Vegetable Soup

Into a large slow cooker add:

  • 2 cups assorted dried beans soaked overnight, boiled 2 minutes, drained (see above)

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms

  • 1 onion chopped

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed into bite size pieces

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed

  • 2 stalks celery chopped

  • Anything else you want in your soup-sometimes I throw in cherry tomatoes or chopped red pepper if I have them.

  • Water to cover (you could use chicken stock instead)

  • 2 TBSP veggie soup base (Better than Bouillon brand)

Stir, close lid, put on high, cook all day.

Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

The following is a recipe from Forks Over Knives, a whole foods, plant based cookbook. I chose this recipe to share because it is less involved than others in the book and is lentil based. Lentils need no advance soaking and cook in 45 minutes (or less).

Moroccan Style Shepherd's Pie

Serves 6-8

  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice

  • 3 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch dice

  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 2 cups green lentils, rinsed

  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock, no sodium added

  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste (We used 40 turns of the pepper grinder)

  • 2 lbs. spinach (about 12 cups packed spinach or two large plastic containers full from the market)

  • 1 cup chopped cilantro

  • 3 extra large yams, peeled and diced

  • 2 cinnamon sticks


1. Place the onion, carrots, and celery in a large saucepan and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add the paprika, cumin, turmeric, crushed red pepper, lentils, and vegetable stock. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook, covered, for 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Season with salt and pepper and add the lemon zest and juice. Add cilantro and spinach and mix until the spinach is wilted (about 5 minutes). Pour mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.

(Note: make sure you put in the full amount of spinach so it thickens up the mixture)

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

3. Place the diced yams and cinnamon sticks in the large saucepan and fill with water just until potatoes are covered. Boil the yams over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain water and remove cinnamon sticks. Mash the yams until smooth and creamy, then spoon the mixture over the lentil/spinach mixture, spreading evenly. Bake the casserole for 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and let sit for another 5-10 minutes.

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