Mediterranean Diet Recipes: Bean Dishes

Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and fava beans are two of the most common beans in Mediterranean cooking, but you also see other varieties, such as black beans and kidney beans. Beans are such a great food because they add delicious plant-based protein, tons of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals (which help prevent chronic diseases).

Black Beans with Tomatoes and Feta

Prep time: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

4 Roma or plum tomatoes, diced

Two 14.5-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, sliced

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Salt to taste

  1. In a serving bowl toss together everything but the feta and salt.

  2. Top with the feta and season with salt to taste before serving.

Per serving: Calories 121 (From Fat 42); Fat 5g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 4mg; Sodium 173mg; Carbohydrate 15g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 6g.

Chickpeas with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Red Peppers

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 22 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

1 red bell pepper

2 cups water

4 sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Two 14.5-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Salt to taste

  1. Slice the red bell pepper in half lengthwise. Place it skin side up on a baking sheet and broil (about 5 inches from the broiler) for 5 to 8 minutes, or until it’s slightly blackened and the skin is bubbled.

  2. Place the charred bell pepper halves into a brown paper bag and roll the bag down to seal it. Allow the pepper to steam for 10 minutes. Then remove the pepper, pull off the charred skin, and cut the peppers into thin strips.

  3. Meanwhile, microwave 2 cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl for 4 minutes or until boiling. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and allow them to reconstitute for 10 minutes. Drain the tomatoes and thinly slice them into strips.

  4. In a serving bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, garlic, and olive oil. Toss in the chickpeas, roasted red bell pepper strips, sun-dried tomato strips, and parsley. Season the mixture with salt to taste and serve.

Per serving: Calories 195 (From Fat 65); Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 198mg; Carbohydrate 26g (Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 8g.

Beet and Kidney Bean Salad

Prep time: 12 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

4 beets, scrubbed and stems removed

One 14.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

4 green onions, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup or juice

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Fill a 2-quart stockpot with water and add the beets.

    Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer until the beets are fork tender (about 10 minutes). Strain in a colander and immediately put the beets in ice water to halt cooking.

  2. Allow the beets to chill for 3 minutes.

    Remove the skins of the beets (they should peel easily without the need for a paring knife). Cut the beets into thin half-moon shapes and set aside.

  3. In a serving dish, toss together the kidney beans, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, and pomegranate syrup and toss gently to mix. Add the beets, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Per serving: Calories 175 (From Fat 67); Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 200mg; Carbohydrate 22g (Dietary Fiber 7g); Protein 6g.

Falafel

Prep time: 12 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Two 14.5-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 a large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce for serving

  1. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic, and cumin for 3 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir the mixture for even mixing.

  2. Combine the baking powder and flour in a small bowl. Remove the chickpea mixture from the food processor, stir in the flour mixture, and form the bean dough into twelve 3-inch patties.

  3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute or until hot. Add the patties, being careful not to crowd the pan. Pan-fry the patties for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until a golden crust is formed.

  4. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serve with 1 to 2 tablespoons of tzatziki sauce.

Per serving: Calories 207 (From Fat 62); Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 465mg; Carbohydrate 29g (Dietary Fiber 7g); Protein 8g.

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