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Beans have everything going for them; they just need to make it to your plate! They’re bargain priced, loaded with nutrients, low in fat, and high in protein and fibre. They’re even environmentally friendly since growing them pollutes much less than breeding livestock. We have two types of beans stocked on our shelves: dry, which may require soaking before use, and canned for ready to eat. When it comes to cooking beans, we all know the basics: chickpeas equal hummus, and yellow peas, soup. But there’s more! Here are some new original ideas to add these little wonders to your menu.

As an appetizer

Tired of setting out nuts and chips as appetizers? Prepare some spicy chickpeas. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, combine with oil and spices (steak seasoning, chili seasoning, etc.), and bake at 200°C (400°F) for about 50 minutes, stirring frequently. You’ll have crunchy, tasty chickpeas to serve instead!

In a creamy soup

Several soup recipes are made with beans, with minestrone soup coming first to mind. But have you ever thought of adding them to your creams? For example, try switching potatoes for white beans. Not only will you add protein and fibre, but the texture of your soup will be creamier.

In an Indian dhal

The word dahl simply means lentils or something made from lentils. There are a ton of dahl recipes with coconut milk and curry for an easy and quick meal you can enjoy with naan bread and rice.

To replace half the meat

It’s easy to replace ground meat with lentils in spaghetti sauces or even shepherd’s pie. If you’re not a huge fan of beans, start by replacing only half the quantity of meat with lentils, you won’t even notice the difference!

As a dessert

Beans for dessert? You bet! They’ll be incognito and even reduce the quantity of fat in your recipe, giving you a nice texture while adding protein and fibre. Not convinced? Try these Chocolate and Chickpea Squares. I’m willing to bet your guests won’t even guess that this chocolatey dessert includes beans.

Another tip: save the liquid from your can of chickpeas to use as a substitute for egg whites in meringues. Skeptical? Try our recipe

Want to learn more about beans? Take a look at our special feature on legumes and beans!