Pass the Beans… or Pass on the Beans??

So I have a question for you…
DO YOU or DON’T YOU like beans???

For a very long time I HATED beans. Kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, baked beans. The whole lot. I remember back in the days of watching my brother play pee-wee football, I’d stand bundled up in the freezing New Jersey winter drinking hot chocolate for warmth and I completely refuuuused to eat the chili from the snack stand – regardless of the warmth it would have provided me – because I knew there where beans in it.

I’m pretty sure my aversion to them early in life was based on the fact that my parents didn’t like them… so I just assumed I wouldn’t like them either. Most of my food aversions early in life were because of the same reason…like Brussels sprouts (which now I love)!

I wish I could say I remembered exactly when I decided I liked beans. I am pretty sure after a few years of shivering, I finally tried that snack stand chili, and my life was changed forever!!

I am genuinely fascinated by the number of people I know who still don’t eat beans. I feel like 95% of the bean haters I know have never actually even tried one!!

Beans aren’t called “the magical fruit” (as my father likes to call them) for nothing, ya know. To my knowledge, beans are typically most associated with fiber, which I think we all know at this point is good for your health (not JUST because they help you poop! grow up!). The soluble fiber in beans aids in lowering bad cholesterol and regular consumption increases heart health. Beans are also super low in fat and high in protein – on average there are about 7 grams of protein in 1/2 cup of beans. Beans also contain loads of antioxidants and the complex carbohydrates in them keep you fuller and happier for longer. I don’t know about you, but I love to be full and happy!!

The best part about beans, though, in my opinion is that THEY ARE SO FLIPPIN’ CHEAP!!!! Dry or canned, beans are one of the cheapest sources of protein ever….and I love it.

This is one of my favorite weeknight dinner recipes using one of my favorite beans – cannellini beans! This recipe is quick, easy, and has an awesome balance of whole grains, protein, vegetables, and healthy fats! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!

Balsamic Chicken Spaghetti with Spinach and White Beans

serves 2 -4 (depending on your appetite)

  • 1/2 box whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup cannelini beans
  • 2 whole, roasted red peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and oregano. Add the chicken to the skillet with garlic and onions and cook until no longer pink – about 8 to 10 minutes more.

Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan and stir well to combine. Let cook for about 2 minutes until the vinegar begins to thicken.

Add the cooked pasta, beans, peppers, and spinach to the chicken mixture and toss well until the spinach wilts and everything is combined. Add pasta water as necessary if the mixture seems to dry.

Serve immediately, topped with parmesan cheese, with a big glass of wine!

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So tell me, are you or aren’t you on the bean wagon??

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