Delicious Bean Stew Recipe to Improve Your Health
The recipe that follows this intro is for health-conscious people who care about their mind and body.
As I get older, I have become more conscious of what kinds of food I eat. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do include a plant-based diet at least twice a week.
Many of my friends have trouble maintaining their health. Changing the types of food they consume would be a healthier solution.
I had read in several professional journals that a plant-based diet could help with heart disease, Alzheimer's, and cancer of the prostate and colon:
- According to the summer 2013 edition of The Journal of Family Practice, a study of 198 people with cardiovascular disease were monitored while on a plant-based diet over a four-year period. Of 21 people who didn’t stick to the diet, 13 of them had a stroke. The other 177 who stuck to the diet never had another cardiac event.1
- The Wall Street Journal also ran a report about plant-based diets cutting the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.2
- In addition, researchers found that a plant-based diet could slow the progression of prostate and colon cancer (reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).3
After all that research, I began making meals with beans, all kinds of beans.
After many revisions, I ended up with an easy-to-follow method of cooking a healthy bean stew. Sometimes I make rice or potatoes to go with it, but it’s just as plentiful as a stand-alone stew.
Beans are legumes, which are a good source of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins.
My cholesterol and triglycerides came down a lot when I had my last annual physical. I have high blood pressure, and that improved too. My doctor said it had to be due to my dietetic changes.
My Bean Stew Recipe
I have this worked out to a three-step process that takes three hours from start to finish, but you don’t need to slave over the stove all that time. The actual prep involves less than 45 minutes. You do that during the simmering process in step two.
- Three cups Mixed Dry Beans
- Two cups Chopped Celery
- Two cups Chopped Carrots
- One Half Green Cabbage
- One Onion, peeled and chopped
- Two Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup Green Olives
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tablespoon Basil
I use a six-quart pot, and I make enough for three or four days. I freeze the rest, so I don’t need to spend time cooking every day. If you have a smaller pot, adjust accordingly.
For the beans, you can use any type you like. I use dry beans, and I usually include a combination of pinto, black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, and great northern.
I don’t use canned beans since they have chemicals and preservatives added, plus a lot of sodium. Canned beans are also more likely to cause gas because they are not cooked in a way to remove the gas-producing enzymes, as I describe below.
Stay healthy and avoid all that bad stuff by using dry beans.
Quick Summary of Cooking Instructions
- Bring beans to a boil and soak for one hour. Then rinse.
- Simmer in fresh water 45 minutes while preparing veggies.
- Chop up a half green cabbage, two cups of chopped celery, two cups of carrots, plus half an onion.
- Add all ingredients and simmer another 45 minutes.
Detailed Cooking Instructions
Step 1: Soaking - One Hour
- Measure out three cups of mixed beans.
- Rinse and then fill water 1 inch over beans.
- Bring to boil and then shut off the heat and let sit for one hour.
- Pour out the water and rinse beans under running water until clear.
If you plan ahead, you can soak the beans overnight in cold water. However, my method works just as well, bringing them to a boil and soaking one hour. Either way works well.
Just remember that you need to drain that water you soaked them in and complete the cooking in fresh water. Properly soaking and draining helps remove the gas-producing enzymes. I'll explain this in detail later.
Step 2: Simmer 45 Minutes While Preparing Veggies
- After rinsing beans, add 10 cups water to the beans and bring to a boil.
- Then reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- While simmering, prepare all the vegetable ingredients.
- Chop up celery, carrots, and onion. Prepare enough of it so that you have two cups of chopped celery and two cups of carrots, plus half an onion.
- Chop up a half green cabbage.
You may want to use a little more than a half if the head of cabbage is small.
You can adjust all the ingredients to your desire, especially after you've done this once or twice. There are no hard and fast rules.
- Cut a few green olives in half.
- Mince two cloves of garlic. Optionally, you can use garlic powder or none at all (your choice).
Feel free to try various alternatives. Sometimes I like to add kale as well.
Kale needs to be chopped up into small pieces. Use less cabbage if you're adding kale.
Step 3: Add All Ingredients and Simmer Another 45 Minutes
- Add all the veggies, cumin, cayenne pepper, and basil (left image below) to the beans.
- Mix and add more water, if necessary, to cover everything.
- Increase the heat to bring back to a simmer and then reduce heat to continue simmering for the final 45 minutes, as shown below (right image).
During this last step while simmering, you can cook either rice or potatoes to go with the stew once completed. Sometimes I eat it alone since it’s so substantial by itself.
There are a lot of choices, and you may come up with your own serving ideas as you try different things, just as I did.
How well do you like it?
Health Benefits of Ingredients
Celery, Cabbage, Onion
Plant-based foods are a good source of antioxidants, which may help avoid cancer, as reported by the Mayo Clinic.
The carrots provide Beta Carotene (an antioxidant) as well as vitamin A, which is known to be good for eye health.
Kale contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which have been reported to slow the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. It may also help fight other diseases and some forms of cancer.
Black Beans are an excellent source of Vitamin B1, Thiamine. They contain about 28% of the USDA recommended daily allowance.
The deficiency of vitamin B1 can harm the nervous and circulatory systems. Extreme deficiency of vitamin B1 can lead to the development of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which results in severe fatigue and degeneration of the cardiovascular, nervous, muscular, and gastrointestinal systems. On the other hand, over-consumption of vitamin B1 is unknown.
Avoiding Gas from Beans
There are two ways to prepare dry beans:
- You can soak them overnight,
- or you can boil the beans for one minute and then simmer for an hour, as I described above.
Soaking loosens the skins of beans and releases the gas-producing enzymes (oligosaccharides). The initial water used for soaking should be poured out, and the beans rinsed before continuing the cooking process.
Different types of beans have various amounts of gas-producing enzymes:
- Beans that are seeds from the pods of plants are easier to digest and leave no gas if prepared correctly, as explained above. Known as legumes, some of these are pinto beans, black-eyed peas, black beans, and mung beans.
- Navy beans, kidney beans, soybeans, green and yellow split peas, and chickpeas are somewhat harder to digest and can cause more gas. If you include them, soak them longer.
As I mentioned before, canned beans are more likely to cause gas because they're not cooked the same as I described above. I only use dry beans for that reason.
Bean Stew Nutritional Facts Averaged Among All Ingredients
|Serving size: 1 cup|
|Calories from Fat||72|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 8 g||12%|
|Unsaturated fat 7 g|
|Carbohydrates 49 g||16%|
|Sugar 4 g|
|Fiber 36 g||144%|
|Protein 12 g||24%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 255 mg||11%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Note that most of the sodium is from the 1/2 cup of green olives. If you leave out the olives then you'll reduce the sodium of one serving to only 48 mg instead of 255mg.
1. Harvard Heart Letter. (Sept 2014). Halt heart disease with a plant-based, oil-free diet. Harvard Health Publications
2. Sumathi Reddy. (April 20, 2015). A Diet Might Cut the Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s. Wall Street Journal
3. National Institutes of Health. (June 17, 2008). Prostate Genes Altered by Intensive Diet and Lifestyle Changes. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Questions & Answers
© 2016 Glenn Stok