If you’ve ever eaten the classic Cajun dish Red Beans and Rice, then you’re familiar with kidney beans. These beans are full of fiber and protein, making them a filling addition to any meal. They’re also an excellent source of the B vitamins thiamin and folate and a good source of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Kidney beans are available dried and canned; you can get them on the table much quicker if you use the canned variety, but as always, be sure to watch their sodium content by choosing low-sodium varieties and rinsing the beans before you cook with them. I normally try to feature each Healthy Ingredient in a new or unique way, but I couldn’t resist paying homage to my favorite city in the world, New Orleans, by including a recipe for its signature dish (albeit in a slightly healthier form).
Guilt-Free Red Beans and Rice
1 cup brown rice or wild rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed, or a heaping ½ cup dried kidney beans, soaked and cooked
½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning or blackening spice mix
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 scallions, sliced
1. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute.
3. Add the beans, Cajun seasoning, ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Fold the rice and scallions into the bean mixture. Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple