In the Spotlight: White Beans

If there is one food that I am so grateful for year round, it would be the bean. Winter, in particular, tends to lend well to the white bean. Hearty, meaty, and nutritionally well-balanced, they are a regular go-to. One of it's most attractive qualities is it's stand alone strength. They do not require a lot of fuss or complex artistry to satisfy the senses. Many times, I will enjoy white beans as a salad, with some fresh cucumber, tomato, avocado, cilantro and lime. Or, as the mood strikes, with lemon, tomato, zucchini, pine nuts, a dash of balsamic and a chiffonade of basil. Yum.

White beans boast a powerhouse of healthy carbs, protein and fiber, as well as a generous amount of folate, thiamine and B vitamins. I am crazy about foods that can claim all that. In addition to enjoying them in the aforementioned preparations, I would like to share two of my favorite white bean recipes. These also happen to be two of my all time favorite recipes, period.

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Believe it or not, I do not live in my kitchen. I'd love to, but...life. Many of my weekly meal prep selections would appear rather disappointing and unsuitable for this website. I do, however, crave my white bean chili on the regular. It was intentionally designed to include only a limited, but powerful set of ingredients to be prepared in record setting time. Because of the nutritional power of the white bean, I am assured that my diet is sound, balanced, and happy. Prepared mild or spicy, this is a dish that can absolutely be enjoyed all year long.

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As a vegan, I consume embarrassing amounts of hummus. The chickpea...well, let's just say we're in love. Sometimes, however, it is fun to experiment and stray from the norm. This white bean dip was born from this very mood and serves as a delicious alternative to my aforementioned staple. Master your own version of the base recipe and then adjust the flavors and seasonings to your mood, for additional creative flavor profiles. Pair with toasted baguette, roasted or raw vegetables, a spread for sandwiches, or if you're me, by itself with a giant serving spoon, this dip is simply delicious.

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More to come as the seasons progress, as I am a self-proclaimed bean fanatic! Black beans, kidney beans...don't get me started on that chickpea.

Enjoy!