In consideration of my shift to a vegan diet recently, I’m ever mindful of the need to cook well-balanced meals that include enough protein. Here’s a good excerpt from an article describing the nutritional value of beans:
“During the lean years of the Great Depression, beans were also tagged “poor man’s meat” because of their protein power at pennies per pound. Beans are a source of Niacin, Thiamin, Riboflavin, B6 vitamins and many other nutrients as well. They are also rich in complex carbohydrates and fiber. All of these nutrients are necessary for normal growth and for the building of body tissues. Beans are high in potassium which is required for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles. A cup of cooked beans contains more potassium than a banana. In fact, beans have more calcium and iron per cup than three ounces of cooked meat but contain no cholesterol and with less calories.
Beans are the best source of folate and are excellent sources of minerals and vitamins. High in fiber they have good cancer fighting characteristics and have been specifically linked to lower the risk of colon cancer.
Recent research has brought to light that beans have ‘anti-aging’ agents or antioxidants found in the seed coat. There are eight flavonoids in the outer bean layer, six of which are particularly strong antioxidants. Because of new research, we are learning that beans have a perfect nutrient base for people interested in weight loss. They also aid in reducing cholesterol, improve digestion and, as already mentioned, are an aid in cancer prevention.
Beans are grown throughout the world. The legumes we supply come from the United States and are grown throughout the country on 1,700,000 acres of land producing from 1 to 1.4 million metric tons annually, half of which are exported all over the world. From improved agricultural practices, we feel beans grown right here at home in the USA have the highest quality of any bean grown anywhere.”
Keeping in mind the nutritional importance of beans in a vegan diet, I’ll be making a variety of bean-based dishes. I love curry, and this soup was a fantastically tasty variation of my usual “garden variety” lentil soup! 🙂
8 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 stalks of celery, finely chopped
5 tbsp. curry powder (or, to taste)
2 cups sorted and rinsed dried lentils
3 32-oz cartons of organic vegetable broth
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
In a large pot, heat 4 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté the onion, carrot, and celery until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and curry powder, sauté for about one minute, stirring. Add lentils, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 35-45 minutes. Meanwhile, puree garbanzo beans in a food processor (I used my Vitamix) with lemon juice, 8 tbsp. water, and remaining 4 tbsp. olive oil until smooth. When lentils are tender, stir in garbanzo bean mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes, add cannelloni beans, simmer another 5 minutes and add salt and pepper (if needed) and more curry to taste. Add some fresh arugula/spinach/kale, or other leafy green to the bowl when you serve it.