This month, we take a fresh look at why you may want to include more beans in your diet and include details of our blackbean avocado and sweetcorn salad recipe. This salad recipe is quick and easy to make, and is super colourful, brightening up any lunchtime or evening menu.
Health benefits of beans
Beans play an important role in plant-based or vegetarians diets, as they are a good source of protein. Yet many non-vegetarian or non-vegan people shun them or simply do not know what to do with them. Here at La Crisalida Retreats we include a number of different varieties of beans in our menus across our week. We hope that this recipe will encourage you to explore including more beans into your weekly diet.
Black beans are especially common in Latin American cuisine but are used all over the world. They are high in fibre and packed with nutrients, so they are a healthy addition to any dish. Beans are also a source of complex carbohydrates, which means that they release energy slowly after eating. So, if you eat beans for lunch your energy will remain constant for the afternoon, avoiding that mid-afternoon slump. Beans contain little fat, and are free from cholesterol. An extra benefit is that beans are usually relatively low cost, so as well as being good for your body, they are kind to your pocket!
If you are new to eating beans, you might experience some gas and bloating at first. This is because they are high in fibre. We suggest that you start to include beans into your diet slowly, and gradually increase them over time. The more regularly you eat beans, the more your body becomes used to digesting beans, so the amount of gas or bloating will reduce. The benefit of eating high fibre beans is that you are unlikely to experience constipation (remember to drink sufficient water during the day too).
How to use beans in your food
We use dried beans here at La Crisalida – soak the beans overnight in cold water, rinse and then place the beans in a pan, cover with cold water. Bring the water to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 30 to 60 minutes (check the instructions on the packet). If you are short of time, you can also use pre-cooked black beans – remember to give them a good rinse beneath cold running water to get rid of the storage liquid. (Pre-cooked beans often have preservatives and/or salt in the liquid to store the beans, so rinsing them helps to get rid of the excess sodium).
You can change the olive oil for hempseed or flaxseed oil for an added omega boost. Alternatively, if you wish to reduce the calorie count of this dish, reduce the amount of oil: use 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tables spoons of water. Use a hand blender to combine the oil and water with the other ingredients. The avocado is responsible for about one-third of the calories in this dish, so you might also halve the quantity of avocado. Saying that, nutrition is more than just calorie counting – remember, avocado provides you with healthy fats, required for many of your body´s systems and functions so it is likely to be worth including.
The dressing will keep in your fridge for a few days, in a sealed container, so you can also use it on salad leaves.
This is a complete dish and is a great snack to take to work for your lunch.
Blackbean, avocado and sweetcorn salad recipe
Calories: 1597 total, or 266 per portion
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
400g cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
250g sweetcorn (tinned – drain first; or frozen – cook for one minute)
1 avocado – peeled, stone removed and diced
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
Large handful chopped fresh coriander (optional)
Cherry tomatoes (for decoration)
Make the dressing first. Add the following ingredients to a small jar with a lid: lime juice, olive oil, garlic and cayenne pepper. Cover with lid, and shake until ingredients are well mixed.
Combine the beans, sweetcorn, avocado, pepper, tomatoes, red onion and coriander in a bowl. Shake the lime dressing then pour over the salad. Stir the salad well, making sure the beans and vegetables (particularly the avocado) are coated with the dressing, top with the cherry tomatoes (plus extra coriander) and serve.
Plant-based diets – more information
Here at La Crisalida we serve a plant-based menu to allow our body to relax, cleanse and detox – read more on our food page. For more articles about nutrition, click on the category “nutrition” on our blog page. You might also like our other recipes that contain beans: cannellini bean dip, bean quesadillas and veggie bean burgers.