Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kid Superfood: Black Beans

If you follow this blog you already know that I love to add beans to meals. Beans are a great source of protein, fiber, B-vitamins, and a wealth of minerals: iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium and zinc. As with fruits and vegetables, the darker color the better for beans, too.

They have a very mild flavor so even my pickiest child enjoys them. Because of this they tend to take on the flavor of whatever you are adding them to so you can flavor beans the way your family will like them.

Beans are also incredibly inexpensive. Stock up on dried beans, soak and cook them when you have time, and freeze them for easy meal preparation (see this earlier blog post for details).

Try whipping up this yummy black bean soup. The Vitamin C from the peppers makes the iron in the beans easier for your body to absorb. Serve it up with lots of topping choices so everyone in your family can prepare it their own way.

Black Bean Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 green pepper, roughly
4 15-oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
4-5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1 ½ Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Optional spices: chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, or crushed red pepper

  1. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and peppers and cook for about 10 minutes until the onions are softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add beans, broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until carrots are soft.
  3. Remove soup from heat. Use an immersion blender (or work in small batches in a blender) to blend soup until smooth. Taste to make sure spices are okay, and serve.
  4. If you want to spice this up, you could add some crushed red pepper to the vegetables in step 1, or a bit of chipotle chili powder (which adds a smoky spice) or a tiny bit of cayenne pepper with the other spices in step 2. Adjust any of the seasonings to make this the way your family likes it!
  5. Serve soup with toppings like: shredded cheese, chopped green onions, plain lowfat Greek yogurt, chopped tomatoes, avocado chunks and crushed tortilla chips.

 Other easy ways to add beans:
  • Melted with cheese and veggies in a quesadilla
  • Sprinkled into salads
  • Mixed into brown rice with salsa
  • Mashed into hummus
  • Combined in the meat mixture for tacos, burritos, or pasta dishes like lasagna or manicotti
Today's tip: Black beans are an easy way to add protein and powerful nutrition to your family's meals.

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