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February Veggie of the Month: Dried Beans

Packed with nutrients and versatility, dried beans are a pantry staple and a delightful addition to everyday meals. Let’s dive into the heartiness of dried beans and explore why they should be a star in your kitchen.

Dried beans are an excellent source of:

  •  Protein: Dried beans are an excellent plant-based source of protein, making them a crucial component for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Fiber: Loaded with dietary fiber, dried beans promote digestive health and help maintain steady blood sugar levels.
  • Antioxidants: Rich in antioxidants and low in fat, dried beans contribute to heart health by reducing cholesterol levels.

Dried Bean Fun Facts:

  •  The oldest-known beans were discovered in Thailand and date back over 9,000 years.
  • Dried beans are an integral part of the traditional Three Sisters planting method used by Native Americans, where beans, corn, and squash are grown together for mutual benefits.

Selecting the Perfect Dried Beans

Choosing the right dried beans is crucial for a flavorful and satisfying dish. Here’s how to pick the best ones at the store:

1. Check for Uniformity: Opt for dried beans that are uniform in size and color. This ensures even cooking.

2. Avoid Cracks or Wrinkles: Beans should be smooth and free from cracks or wrinkles, indicating freshness.

3. No Signs of Moisture: Ensure the packaging is intact and free from any signs of moisture, which can lead to mold.

Storing Dried Beans

Proper storage is essential to maintain the quality of your dried beans:

1. Cool and Dry: Store dried beans in a cool, dry place to prevent them from absorbing moisture.

2. Airtight Containers: Transfer them to airtight containers to protect them from pests and maintain freshness.

3. Avoid Direct Sunlight: Keep dried beans away from direct sunlight, as exposure can cause them to lose flavor and nutrients.

Ways to Add More Beans to Your Daily Routine

Why should beans have a special place in your daily meals? Here are some fantastic reasons to make them a star in your kitchen:

1. Protein-Packed Breakfast: Kickstart your day with a protein-packed breakfast by incorporating beans into omelets, breakfast burritos, or savory breakfast bowls.

2. Wholesome Soups and Stews: Create hearty and wholesome soups and stews by adding a variety of dried beans. They absorb the flavors of the broth, creating a comforting and nutritious meal.

3. Sensational Salads: Toss cooked beans into salads for an extra protein boost and a satisfying crunch. They add substance and depth to your favorite greens.

4. Versatile Side Dishes: Dried beans are versatile, from flavorful curries to bean-based patties. Experiment with different cuisines and create delightful side dishes that steal the show.

Exploring Bean Varieties

Dried beans offer a vast array of varieties, each bringing its unique flavor, texture and nutritional profile to the table:

1. Kidney Beans

Flavor Profile: Robust and slightly sweet.

Culinary Uses: Kidney beans shine in chili, stews, and salads. Their hearty texture makes them a favorite in vegetarian dishes, adding substance and protein.

2. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Flavor Profile: Nutty and slightly earthy.

Culinary Uses: Chickpeas are the stars of hummus, a beloved dip. They also add a delightful crunch to salads, and when roasted, make for a tasty and healthy snack.

3. Black Beans

Flavor Profile: Mild and earthy.

Culinary Uses: Black beans are versatile, complementing dishes from soups to burritos. Their creamy texture works well in dips, and they’re a great source of protein in vegetarian meals.

4. Navy Beans

Flavor Profile: Mild and delicate.

Culinary Uses: Navy beans are the go-to for classic baked beans. They also shine in soups and casseroles, absorbing flavors and providing a creamy texture.

5. Lentils

Flavor Profile: Earthy and nutty.

Culinary Uses: Lentils are quick-cooking and perfect for soups, stews, and curries. They come in various colors, each offering a unique taste and texture.

6. Pinto Beans

Flavor Profile: Earthy and slightly sweet.

Culinary Uses: Pinto beans are staples in Mexican cuisine, perfect for refried beans, burritos and chili. They hold their shape well and absorb flavors beautifully.

7. Great Northern Beans

Flavor Profile: Mild and nutty.

Culinary Uses: Great Northern beans are wonderful in casseroles, soups and stews. They have a smooth texture that pairs well with a variety of flavors

Hearty Bean and Vegetable Stew Recipe

Get ready to warm your soul with this Hearty Bean and Vegetable Stew – a comforting dish that celebrates the heartiness of beans and the freshness of seasonal vegetables.


– 1 cup dried mixed beans (kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans – your choice!), soaked overnight

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 large onion, finely chopped

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 2 carrots, diced

– 2 celery stalks, diced

– 1 bell pepper, chopped (any color)

– 1 can (14 oz) crushed tomatoes

– 4 cups vegetable broth

– 1 teaspoon dried thyme

– 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Fresh parsley for garnish


1. Prepare the Beans: Rinse the soaked beans and cook them according to package instructions until tender. Set aside.

2. Sauté the Aromatics: Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add chopped onions and garlic, sautéing until fragrant and translucent.

3. Build the Base: Add diced carrots, celery and bell pepper to the pot. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

4. Add Tomato: Pour in the crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

5. Add the Beans: Incorporate the cooked beans into the pot, stirring gently to mingle the flavors.

6. Infuse with Flavor: Pour in the vegetable broth and add dried thyme and rosemary—season with salt and pepper to taste.

7. Simmer to Perfection: Bring the stew to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the vegetables to tender.

8. Serve: Ladle the stew into bowls, garnishing with fresh parsley for a burst of freshness.

This Hearty Bean and Vegetable Stew celebrates wholesome ingredients coming together to create a symphony of flavors. Pair it with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete and satisfying meal. Customize the recipe with your favorite bean varieties and seasonal vegetables.