Make a Creamy, Fiber-Packed Pasta Sauce Out of Beans

I have a passion for beans, which developed back when I used to cook for the Tuscan chef Cesare Casella. The Tuscans are famous for their beans (they’re sometimes called the mangiafagioli—bean eaters—in Italy), and Cesare is no exception. When I worked for him, he’d import thousands of pounds of beans every year from Italy, and I learned plenty of tricks from him on how to use them.

One of those tricks was this simple pasta with a sauce made from puréed beans, which I’ve made with chickpeas here. It couldn’t be easier to make: You simply sauté some garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil, add some cooked beans along with some of their cooking water, then purée it to make a smooth, creamy sauce. Add a handful of whole cooked beans for some texture, and you’re basically done.

Source: How to Turn Beans Into a Creamy Vegan Pasta Sauce

Mashed beans pretty much all work the same. If you are having issues with lentils, you’re probably forgetting to ditch the lentil husks.

Advertisements

Make Almost Any Boring Protein Into a Delicious Meal by “Piccata-ing” it

A whole bunch of us grew up eating chicken piccata at Italian-American restaurants with our parents, or at least I did, preceded by an entire serving of fried calamari, and breadsticks too. I’d eat every last little swipe of sauce, excited at how it made the back of my tongue water, at how smooth it felt, at how it draped itself over long strips of pasta. It’s a thrilling sauce. Even more thrilling is the fact that you can use it on any protein that goes well with lemon and wine. (Even tofu and chickpeas!)

Source: How to Piccata Anything

This would work with a number of standard chicken dishes, just apply the sauce to whatever other meat you’re eating, even hot dogs and hamburgers.

Garbanzo Beans (AKA chickpeas): How Much Vitamin K?

Sources are all over the place on this one:

I have other sources saying garbanzo/chickpeas are rated “low” per cup/~240 g, meaning there’s 4 mcg or less.  So depending on how you prepare them, and the amount you consume – be cautious if you aren’t consistently consuming roughly the same amount.

They contain a lot of fiber, making them great for the digestive tract.  There’s also a study that links garbanzo beans to satiety, and studies to support decreased risk of heart disease.  Garbanzo consumption can help lower our LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides.  And they contain valuable amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the body’s omega-3 fatty acid from which all other omega-3 fats are made.  The fiber and protein content are also good for blood sugar regulation.

Hummus

Hummus has the following ingredients:

The largest vitamin K source in there is the garbanzo beans, as most recipes call for at least 2 cups.  There is some in olive oil, little or none in tahini and garlic.  So it depends how much hummus you eat, and how often because if you’re consistent then your medication dose already takes that into consideration.

Blood Thinners and Iron Deficiency

Being on blood thinners does not directly impact iron levels in the blood.  Unless you’re bleeding – then you have bigger problems.

If you believe that you are iron deficient:

Call your doctor and make an appointment immediately.  It could be an indication of [internal] blood loss, which is a possibility if your INR level is above 3.  But the level is not a strong indication – I’ve had no issue when in the 4s, yet I bled into my lungs while open water swimming when my INR was in the low 2s.  Doctors can perform a physical exam in addition to blood tests (and more blood tests depending on initial results).

Be aware that if bleeding is confirmed to be the source of the iron deficiency, the benefit to being on warfarin/coumadin is the medication can be flushed from your system.  It’s not available to those on other blood thinner medications, and in my experience it’s not something doctors will use unless they have to.  As in, they were fine with me sitting in hospital for days until my INR was under 1.4 (allowable level for surgery).

Dietary Sources for Iron Deficiency Prevention

Anyone can develop iron-deficiency anemia, but us “bleeders” are more likely than most to develop it because some of the best sources of iron also have a lot of vitamin K.  The goto sources are beef (stop making faces) and spinach.

Here’s the top 5 sources of iron for those of us on blood thinners:

  1. Lentils are the first on the list which do no contain vitamin K, and at 37% of your Daily Value (DV)… if you eat 1 cup of them.
  2. Sesame seeds: 29% DV of iron for 0.25 cup
  3. Garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas): 26% DV of iron for 1 cup
  4. Lima beans: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
  5. Olives: 25% DV of iron for 1 cup
  6. Navy beans: 24% DV of iron for 1 cup

What?  There was a tie, and I’d eat navy beans before olives or lima beans. 😛

The alternative is iron supplements.

FYI: Vegans (or depending on your vegetarianism) should be aware that there’s also pernicious anemia, the result of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Hummus: Classic and Other Variations

Here’s direct link to the infographic.

Calling anything that isn’t a chickpea/garbanzo based spread-paste almost blasphemous. Hummus is literally “chickpea” in Hebrew and Arabic.  Whether or not to call the recipes in the infographic “hummus” is actually a matter of debate in the U.S., especially for hummus-making companies who worked to make the food more mainstream here. Bean-spread or vegetable-dip might be more accurate for some of these recipes, but they would probably loose some of their appeal under a different name.  Similar to the idea of cricket “flour”, nut “milk”…

  • Stay away from the pre-soaked/canned garbanzo/chic peas. Get the dried ones and soak them overnight. The next day, strain and boil with fresh/new water and use that. The texture and taste is just so much better.
  • Make your own tahini (recipe)