Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Figs

When you hear the word fig, you probably think of Fig Newton cookies. Just thinking of the fig in terms of a cookie, however, doesn’t do it justice. Figs are a great snack on their own, and they can be used as a healthy substitute for candy the next time you’re in need of a sweet treat. Figs, most commonly sold in dried form, are lower in sugar than candy, and higher in fiber, too. A quarter cup of dried figs also counts as a serving of fruit, so you can’t go wrong by adding them to your repertoire of healthy treats, or using them to add a little bit of sweetness to your meal.

Black Beans with Figs and Bell Peppers

Ingredients
1 ½ tablespoons corn oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
12 medium dried figs, diced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 15-ounce can low-sodium black beans, rinsed

Instructions
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, garlic, cumin and cilantro. Cook, stirring often, until the onion softens, about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Add the diced figs, lemon juice, and brown sugar to the onion-pepper mixture.
3. Add the beans, cover and cook over low heat until the peppers are soft, about 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Serve hot or chilled. Serves 4.

Recipe adapted from California Figs

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