A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Healthy Boost with White Bean Bell Pepper Puree

Did you know meatless meals are gaining ground in popularity and meat and poultry consumption is expected to drop 12 percent this year? To some, this is no surprise as the price of meat is only going up, and when you’ll only consume humanely raised meat (like Kelley and me), things get expensive fast!

Source - http://www.formerfatguyblog.com/2008/05/17/black-bean-recipes.html
Pound for pound, beans actually offer just as much if not more protein than beef; and at a fraction of the cost! Many people fear they won’t get enough protein unless they eat meat, but this is not true. Check out this link from the Vegetarian Resource Group providing a sample menu for the day with the total amount of protein consumed.

Luckily, vegetables and legumes have plenty to offer in the way of nutrition and flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love meat, poultry, and fish, but most of the meals I consume are meatless.

If you feel like you “can’t” go without meat, I’m willing to bet you haven’t had a vegetable dish that ranks high on the flavor scale. As always, the key to consistency with anything is that YOU have to like whatever it is you’re doing; or eating in this case. This holds true for anything from exercise to the food you eat.
The colors make this dish stand out already!

Red, White, and Green.....Italian colors for an Italian (kinda) meal!
Now it's orange, but still really good!  I added some arugula to mine

I made an incredibly creamy and tasty slow-cooker white bean, bell pepper and mixed veggie puree this weekend that will please the vegetarians and carnivores in your life.

White Bean Bell Pepper Puree

-1 cup dried white kidney beans, soaked (use this method for soaking)
-1 small avocado, ripe
-2 red bell peppers, seeded, cored, and chopped
-4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
-10oz bag of frozen chopped onion and celery mix (you can use half an onion and 2 stalks of celery too)
-16oz bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower
-1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
-I just eyeballed the following dried herbs and spices: cumin, turmeric, paprika, chili powder, pepper, cayenne, basil, oregano, and thyme

Add all ingredients to your slow-cooker and mix to combine. Turn cooker on to high and cook for 4 hours or low and cook for 6 – 8 hours. Once everything is cooked, use an immersion blender to puree everything right in the pot; I added 2 tablespoons of non-fat dry milk powder to help thicken everything, but it’s not necessary; plain yogurt works well too. If you don’t have an immersion blender, scoop the mix into a blender (filling only half-way) and blend in batches until everything is creamy. Serve right away in a big bowl with ground pepper, cayenne, and parsley as a garnish. This should be enough for 3 or 4 servings; make extra and freeze for a quick meal next week!

 I love slow-cooker cooking; it requires little prep time but offers loads of flavor. If you don’t like or have any of the listed ingredients, you can simply sub whatever you have on hand and it will still turn out great! These white kidney beans (a.k.a cannellini beans), as with most beans, are low in fat, high in fiber and protein, and offer generous amounts of minerals and B vitamins.

The weather is warming up around here and I hope it stays that way. I am not a fan of cold at all; unless it’s in Colorado and you’re surrounded by awesome landscapes. In Texas, you just get cold and wind which suck together. Ha ha, that sounds funny; maybe I should say cold and wind “blow” together. Sorry, lost my train of thought.

Are you excited about the weather warming up, or do you prefer the cold?

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