I started eating beans like thirty years ago because this girl served lentils and rice for dinner one night, and I wanted her to like me, so I started making lentils and rice myself. I figured she’d be able to tell — I guess I was wrong about that. Nevertheless, I’ve been a bean man ever since. They’re cheap, tasty, and filling — and it turns out that they also seem to prevent chronic disease. According to How Not to Die, the most comprehensive analysis of diet and cancer ever performed concluded that people should eat legumes at every meal. “Not every week or every day: Every meal!”
Another study found “an eight percent reduction in risk of premature death for every twenty-gram increase in daily legume intake — that’s barely two tablespoons worth!”
So if I eat half a cup of chick peas every day, my risk of dying early from chronic disease drops by like 20%?
And half a cup of collard greens or spinach drops the risk by another 20%.
If there’s a catch, it’s that you have to eat beans and greens every day to live longer, the way you might take Lipitor or some other drug every day, for the rest of your life. Lipitor isn’t tasty or filling. It may seem cheap, but that’s because your health insurance company raises my premiums to cover the difference between what you pay for the drug and what it actually costs.
Greens are easy for us out here on the farm: we almost always have some in the field, even in winter. Right now we’re in something like the Medicare Doughnut Hole for greens, but we have a hundred little baggies of kale in the freezer, so we’ll be okay until the row covers come off.
You can buy beans anywhere. After you fall in love with them, you may start craving special beans, like the ones Steve Sando sells at Rancho Gordo.
Last night we made an entree loaf with chick peas, carrots, celery, sweet peppers, and chopped walnuts. I generally avoid dishes that seem interested in masquerading as meat or cheese items, but this no-meat loaf sounded so good on the page that we gave it a try. Well worth the effort.
Beanie Vegetable Loaf from PlantPure Nation
½ cup low-sodium ketchup (no high-fructose corn syrup)
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
¾ cup water, divided
3 Tablespoons flax meal
1 onion, diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced
¼ cup vegetable stock, for sautéing, plus more as needed
1 ½ cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup dry oats
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cup shredded carrots
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375º. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, Dijon mustard, chili powder and ¼ cup of the water. This will be your glaze for the top of the bean loaf. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, combine the flax meal and remaining ½ cup water and let stand while you are preparing the remaining ingredients.
- Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion, celery, garlic and bell pepper in the vegetable stock until tender.
- In a large bowl, smash the chickpeas. Add the sautéed vegetables, the flax mixture, and the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. If you do not have the consistency of “meatloaf” add more vegetable stock slowly until the mixture is moist and holds together well.
- Spoon the bean mixture into the prepared loaf pan and even out the mixture with your hands or a spatula.
- Pour the glaze over the top of the loaf.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the glaze is caramelized and the loaf is solid.
- Let the loaf stand for 20 minutes before slicing.
Yields 6 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes
Source: The PlantPure Nation Cookbook