By Molly Kimball RD, CSSD, registered dietitian with Ochsner Health System, Nutrition department Manager at Ochsner Fitness Center and founder of the Ochsner Eat Fit nonprofit restaurant initiative.
Many of us dutifully – or should we say obsessively – stocked up on nonperishables during Covid quarantine (how many cans of beans do we really need), only to succumb to such craveable temptations as cookies, chips and dip, and ice cream. Oh, ice cream. I know. It’s truly a thing for many of us these days.
Fortunately, these two things – good-for-you nonperishables, and splurge-worthy favorites – don’t have to exist independently. But we must think outside of the box, or in this case, the can.
Here are three crazy-delicious recipes to use beans of all types (think red, black and white) to create indulgences like ice cream, cookies, cupcakes, brownies and creamy dips that are actually nutritious, too.
Here’s why this is a really great thing:
Beans are a legitimate Superfood. The term ‘superfood’ is tossed around blithely, but beans truly qualify. Red beans, for example, have a higher concentration of antioxidants than popular superfoods like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, garlic or almonds.
Packed with Protein. Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, with one cup of most beans providing about 15 grams of protein – about what you get in two ounces of grilled chicken breast or in
Electrolyte-Rich: With more magnesium and calcium than a sports drink and way more potassium than a medium banana, beans are rich in electrolytes to help prevent or relieve muscle cramping.
Filled with Fiber. A single cup of beans packs in more than 15 grams of fiber, more than you’d get in four slices of most brands of whole grain bread. They’re also rich in soluble fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Heart Protecting: One cup of beans provides 20 percent of the daily value for iron and as much as 60 percent of the daily value for folate, which helps to lower levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Flour Replacer: Beans can be used in place of flour in our favorite baked goods, using one cup of cooked, pureed beans to replace one cup of flour along with two tablespoons of fat. Tip: Match the bean color to the finished product (e.g. black beans for brownies, kidney beans for red velvet cake, and white beans for chocolate-chip cookies). The nutritional benefits of swapping beans for flour: 50% fewer calories and 4x more fiber.
Here are three recipes to satisfy any type of craving, from savory to sweet, creamy to chocolatey.
Red Bean Red velvet cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen cupcakes
For the Cake:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/4 cup 2% reduced fat Greek yogurt
½ cup coconut flour
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) natural red food coloring
1 cup Swerve Sweetener
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Natural red sprinkles, optional
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioners-style Swerve Sweetener
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Puree beans, vanilla extract and eggs in a blender or food processor. Add yogurt and continue to blend until all lumps are removed. Pour into a bowl and add cocoa powder, food coloring and Swerve. In another bowl, mix together coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and vinegar. The mixture should begin to fizz. Add to batter and mix in.
Grease cupcake pan or spray cupcake liners with cooking spray and pour the batter in, about 4/5 full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Place cakes onto a rack and cool.
For frosting, mix cream cheese, Swerve and honey until smooth in a food processor, mixer or blender. Spread on top of cupcakes with a knife or spatula, add red sprinkles if desired.
Per Serving: 110 calories, 4 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 170 mg sodium, 34 grams carbs (6 grams net carbs), 5 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 6 grams protein
White Bean Berry Ice Cream
Makes 4 servings
1 large raw egg yolk
½ teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon Swerve Sweetener
1 cup, fresh strawberries, halved and frozen (can use any type of berries)
1/4 cup lowfat milk or unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup canned white beans, drained and frozen on a sheet pan in a single layer.
This ice cream is super easy to make: just mix everything in a blender until smooth. It doesn’t freeze well, so best to enjoy immediately.
Per serving: 100 calories, 2 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 40 mg sodium, 15 grams carbohydrate, 3.5 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 6 grams protein.
Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free, Low Carb
Makes 12 cookies
1 can white beans (drained and rinsed)
1/3 cup almond butter, peanut butter or Sunbutter
2 tablespoons honey (maple syrup for vegan cookies)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1.33 ounce 70-85% dark chocolate (about 1/2 dark chocolate bar, in pieces + chunks).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend all ingredients except chocolate in a food processor or with immersion blender. Take care to blend all of the white beans thoroughly, until smoothie. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in dark chocolate pieces. Spoon dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
Per serving: 100 calories, 5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 95 mg sodium, 14 grams carbohydrate (6 grams net carbs), 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 4 grams protein.
Looking for healthy recipes? Download the Eat Fit Smartphone app and check out the NEW! Eat Fit Cookbook at www.EatFitCookbook.com
About Eat Fit
Eat Fit is a nonprofit initiative of Ochsner Health System, designed to help the community live their healthiest, strongest lives possible. The team of Eat Fit dietitians works closely with local restaurants, markets and other foodservice establishments to identify and develop dishes that meet the Eat Fit nutritional criteria. These items are identified directly on the menu with the Eat Fit seal of approval, making the healthy choice the easy choice when dining out.
Free to all restaurants and foodservice partners, Eat Fit encourages nutritious choices whether an individual is looking to lose weight, feel better or look better, as well as help to manage health issues including diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure.
With more than 300 partners, Eat Fit has expanded across the state to include Eat Fit Northshore, Eat Fit BR, Eat Fit Acadiana, Eat Fit Shreveport, and Eat Fit Monroe, with support by Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana.
The Eat Fit team connects deeply within the Eat Fit communities, serving as a resource for all things wellness. Download the Eat Fit smartphone app to find participating restaurants with full nutrition facts of Eat Fit menu items, as well as recipes, community wellness resources, and to connect with a health professional in your area.